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Organize Your Company Around Your Business Plan

A business plan is like a blueprint. It tells exactly what you’re working to achieve, but the end result happens only if you hammer it into reality. Idealism must meet realism.

A blueprint for a new house guides every construction step down to a fraction of an inch. A business plan is more of a framework for success. It helps you organize your company around your mission and vision, your goals and objectives, and the strategy you’ve outlined to achieve success. It provides milestones along the way to measure your progress.

Plus, it keeps everyone on the same page and working toward the same positive outcomes. These sections outline how to organize your company, assign duties and responsibilities to employees, and set up systems and procedures based on your business plan. By aligning your company and your business plan, you’ll stand the best chance of achieving your goals and objectives.

The first step in putting your plan to work is to configure your company to reflect your plan in every part of your organization, from the structure of your management team to the procedures you put in place to make your company work. As you shape your organization, pay particular attention to these three parts of your plan:

  • Company description: Look at your company’s capabilities and resources and then develop your organization to fortify strengths and overcome weaknesses.

  • Company strategy: Build programs and systems that support your plan for reaching, serving, and satisfying your customers.

  • Action plan: Detail all the steps necessary to implement your business plan, including the priorities and timelines you’ll follow as you make it all happen.

As you organize your company, know that most businesses are built around one of four common organizational models:

  • The pack: In this model, one person runs the show, and everyone else is an equal member of, well, the pack.

  • Function: This model divides people into groups based on the functions they perform in the company.

  • Division: This model divides distinct parts of the company’s business into separate divisions, each with its own management structure.

  • The matrix: In this model, employees can wear more than one hat and report to more than one supervisor, encouraging team members to share talent, expertise, and experience.

The most effective organizational format for your company depends on the kind of company you’re running — big, small, formal, informal, online, manufacturing, retail, service, or a dozen other considerations. But most of all, it depends on your business plan.

Consider these questions and pointers as you shape the organizational structure that’s best for your company:

  • Is one individual responsible for your company’s vision and strategic direction? If so, you may want to use the pack model, with one leader and a pack of team members. This model works best for small businesses built on one person’s vision. But Apple also thrived with one very strong and visionary leader.

  • Is employee creativity crucial to the success of your company? If so, you may want to consider a loose organizational structure with relatively few management levels, giving your staff the freedom to be creative. Companies like Google have built their success on unleashing the creativity of their employees.

  • Are speed and flexibility crucial to your company’s ability to remain competitive? If so, think about a flat organizational structure with as few management levels as possible.

  • Does your company consist of several distinct functions, each with its own culture and kinds of employees? If so, consider a functional organization. One group handles product development, for example. A separate group leads marketing efforts.

  • Is much of your company’s work conducted on a project basis, moving people and resources from one job to another? If so, a matrix organization may work best for you.

You can alter your company’s structure at some point down the road, especially if your business is growing rapidly, for example, or your business environment has changed significantly. In fact, maintaining the flexibility to reshape your business has become one of the keys to success in today’s fast-changing business world.

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