Strategic Plan Summary
By Dr. Andy Schell, CPA
All Rights Reserved, © Copyright 2021
Successful Companies have a Strategic Plan
According to the Small Business Administration, there is a 95% chance a new business will fail if it does not have a well-defined strategic plan. Stated simply, failing to plan is a plan to fail, as quoted by Benyamin Franklyn. The good news is that, when a firm chooses to create a strategic plan, it significantly increases its chances for success.
Strategic Plan Components
The components of a strategic plan are not complicated and include a company's defined Vision, Mission, Values, Culture, Objectives, and path to Organizational Acceptance. A strategic plan is not a guarantee of success, but it is an essential tool to guide a company to success.
The big picture purpose of a company's strategy is to identify a company's tactics to attract customers, to outperform its competitors, and to achieve superior profitability. The primary focus of a company's strategy is to implement actions that increase and strengthen the company's long-term competitive position and financial performance. This is accomplished by competing differently from rivals and gaining a sustainable competitive advantage over them.
Strategic Plan Process
An overview of the strategic planning process includes the following stages, all of which possess interlaced dependency and include:
1. Identify Culture based on Leadership traits
2. Define Vision, Mission, Values
3. Create a Strategy
4. Identify the Objectives
5. Implement the Strategy
6. Evaluate the Performance and Adjust as needed.
Customer Value Proposition
The strategic planning process includes identifying two essential issues that are unique to each company and includes answering the following questions:
What is the customer value proposition?
What is the profit formula?
The explanation of these two questions include:
The customer value proposition identifies the company's approach to satisfying buyer wants and needs at a price that customers accept as a good value.
The profit formula explores a company's operational and cost structure that generates an acceptable level of profit bases on the customer's value proposition.
The result of the strategic planning process will identify the company's unique value-price-cost structure.
It is important to resist the temptation to minimize the assessment of these three topics because the culmination of this analysis drives success.
The Triad of Success – Internal, External, & Sustainable
The triad of success includes the company's internal capability, the external environment, and the path to sustainability. The company's internal competency must be able to achieve the business objective, the external business environment must enable the objective's implementation, and the strategy must provide sustainability to support success. If any of these three elements are not validated, then the strategic plan must be reconsidered.
Many tools exist to assess the Triad of Success components and include the VRIN assessment of internal capability, Porter's Five Forces analysis of the external environment, and a SWOT assessment of the combined internal and external forces. The collective assessment from these assessment tools will identify a firm's probability of successfully implementing a strategic plan.
VIRN, Five Forces, & SWOT
The VIRN elements are used to evaluate a firm's internal capability and assess the extent to which a firm's internal skills are Valuable, Rare, Inimitable, and Nonsubstitutable. Dr. Porter's Five Forces model assesses a firm's external environment to identify the best market entrance strategy. The SWOT analysis evaluates the internal Strengths and Weaknesses of the firm and its external Opportunities and Threats presented by the external environment.
The internal Strengths include an honestly implemented assessment of the management's and staff's capabilities. Over-estimating the staff's capability is a frequent error implemented by management because of their "halo effect" that distorts the manager's ability to objectively examine the firm's capability. This is where an objective third-party may be a helpful addition to support the strategic planning process.
All of the elements of strategy rely on a firm's leadership to communicate the plan effectively, achieve sustainable acceptance by the staff, and remain flexible to adjust the plan based on internal and external realities. The ability to know when to adjust and how to adjust is an essential component of leadership.
Simple Action Plan
An immediate action plan to support a firm's strategic plan is to understand everything about its products and its customers. This includes examining the who, what, when, where, why, and how for each specific product or activity.
Just like writing a research paper, every strategic plan must identify the following questions:
· who is the target customer?
· what are the key elements of the product?
· when is the best time to deliver the product?
· where can the customer be located?
· why would they buy this from you?
· how will it be delivered and priced?
The strategic plan must also consider:
· pricing and its impact on the financial dynamics
· all costs associated with the product
· the profit margin needed to achieve the desired profitability
Every strategic plan must include a 12-month financial forecast that predicts profitability based on volume, costs, and profit margin, and a 3-month cash flow forecast.
In conclusion, it is important to understand that success is not random. Success flows from the effective implementation of a strategic plan. The effective implementation of a plan includes leadership choosing to do what has to be done to achieve success irrespective of the amount of time it takes to generate sales and produce a product in a profitable fashion. We also choose to do what has to be done even if it means telling a staff member their work performance needs to improve in a specific area.
The key to any business is to have a plan and stick to the plan.
© Copyright by Dr. Andy Schell, 2021
About: Dr. Andy Schell, DBA (Ph.D.), MSML, MBA, CPA/CFF, CMB
Dr. Schell is CEO, Managing Partner, and Co-Founder of Mortgage Banking Solutions and MBS Financial Services ("MBS"), based in Austin, Texas. He is known for his ability to turn "vision into reality" and "chaos into order" as he finds creative solutions to address his clients' challenges. He has 4 decades of experience as a leader / manager / coach crafting strategy, defining culture, and directing the activity of both small and large groups of employees including mortgage lending activity at Bank of America.
Today, he primarily supports regulated depositories in mortgage finance and sophisticated independent mortgage lenders to address revenue stability, technology enhancement, and workflow efficiency. Andy is a finance guy, a CPA, (there is a difference), and a musician. It is the combination of his creativity, experience, and education that enables him to create business strategies that will lead to his client's success.
Dr. Schell's finance experience began trading marketable securities in 1980 at a Dallas, Texas-based Wall Street firm and then continued throughout his career spanning four decades. His activities in finance include trading Mortgage-Backed Securities and Options on T-Bond Futures as a risk management tactic, directing the $35 billion securities settlement activities for Bank of America, and supporting the bank's quantitative assessment of implied volatility for the Monte Carlo simulation model. His finance education began with a bachelor's degree in banking and finance and continued at the SMU graduate school of banking and the University of Chicago's options trading program.
Dr. Schell's accounting expertise is equally expansive, including a master's graduate study in accounting, a CPA certificate licensed in Texas with public accounting experience in Dallas, and a doctorate in business strategy with a doctoral dissertation on the value of financial derivatives. He is also a Certified Mortgage Banker awarded from the Mortgage Bankers Association in addition to holding the designation as a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Texas.
Dr. Schell's 40 years of experience, professional designations, CPA/CFF, CMB, and academic credentials, including a terminal degree that established the title Doctor Schell, collectively provide the foundation for him to authoritatively address the topics presented in this white paper. Other white papers and articles by Dr. Schell are available directly at www.DoctorSchell.com
To learn how to define a firm's vision, mission, and values along with a comprehensive strategic plan and implementation guide, contact Dr. Schell at DoctorSchell@MBS-team.com
Dr. Schell is the CEO of Schell Advisory Services, LLC & Mortgage Banking Solutions