One of the greatest mistakes that funeral home and cemetery owners and management make when putting together a strategic plan is confusing it with other types of planning. A strategic plan is a tool that provides a framework to accomplish a mission with efficiency and impact. If it is to be effective and useful, it must clearly define the goals, the action steps, and the resources to accomplish them. Typically, the Strategic Plan covers a timeframe of three to five years but must be constantly monitored and adjusted into clear annual operating plans. No matter what you call it, the key is that you have a plan.
What is an operations plan? In short, it lays out who, what, when and how of your daily operations for the next year. It is meant to define how human, financial, and physical resources will be used to accomplish the short-term objective so that you may accomplish your longer-term strategy. Some of the simple questions to ask when defining your operating plan are –
- Who is responsible for what?
- How do we allocate our financial resources within the business?
- What risks do we face?
- How do we mitigate these risks?
The operating plan is a simple manual to operate your business. Many of us fall into the trap of thinking everybody within our organization knows what they need to do. This is a clear sign of an organization in chaos. How many times have you used the excuse that you are simply too busy to… – The truth is most of us waste upwards of 25% of our time through inefficiency. – The objective of an annual operating plan is to work smarter, not harder. Who amongst us would not welcome the opportunity to have more time for ourselves, our family and to enjoy the things we love?
An organizational plan, budget or whatever you call it is a simple, yet critical step in your success. Here are some simple steps to follow in creating your 2021 plan –
- Include the key stakeholders in the process
- Check your ego at the door – Be objective!
- Perform a simple S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) of your business
- Define your Goals – Establish KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)
- Financial (Revenue, Expenses, Receivables, Cash, Debt, etc.)
- Operational (Volume, Pre-need, Physical Assets, etc.)
- Organizational (Employees, CEUs, Community Involvement)
- Personal (Time off, Succession, Employee Development)
- Create a budget – Broken down by month
- Communication throughout the organization
- If you need help, ASK!
It isn’t important what you call the process, but it is critical that you do it. There are countless statistics surrounding the greater the probability of success to a written plan with accountability. However, the statistic that matters most is your success. Set aside a little time now, so that you have more time for yourself down the road.