Here at BPS Ltd, we believe the difference between Business Planning and Business Coaching is the level of detail laid out for business owners and their teams to action. Business Coaching is often about mentoring business owners to develop high level strategies working towards their end goal. 

Business Planning is about working with the whole team to break down these strategies, and map these out into detailed actions to be done by individuals or groups, to achieve the end goal within a given timeframe. 

However, the two areas of Business Planning and Business Coaching often overlap. It is down to the business to decide what level of detail they want to go to, how much input they have, and how it is managed, reported and communicated back into the teams. 

We’ll be diving in to what Business Planning and Business Coaching consist of, to help define which may be the best route for your business.

What is Business Coaching?

Business Coaching can come from various sources: Business Advisors, Business Coaches, mentors, or online resources. Depending on the source of your coaching, it can consist of either generalised or more specific information and points of action for business owners. As such, it can require a lot of work from owners and their teams to break down and deliver specific goals. 

Business Coaching can be difficult to define – however, we can split it into a series of actions.

What Business Coaching is…

  • Business Coaching is a bespoke, one to one programme aimed specifically at accelerating the success of the individuals (and business) engaging in the process.
  • Your Business Coach supports you and encourages you to deliver higher performance. They achieve this by getting you to focus on what is fundamental – and most importantly, take consistent action towards your goals.
  • Business Coaching drives you to achieve more in less time, and supports you to grow your business and simultaneously improve your overall life.
  • Tools, knowledge and skills are developed by the business owner so that he/she can implement them in the business (and in his/her life) for immediate and long term success.

What Business Coaching is not…

  1. TRAINING
    Training provides off the shelf information on what you need to do or how you need to do something and often stops there.
  2. CONSULTANCY
    Consultancy brings in expertise, normally for a specific project or to identify a specific problem and then ideally goes on to fix it. At the end of this process the consultant leaves. Any accumulated knowledge or insights may go with them.
  3. COUNSELLING
    Counselling looks back in time to address specific personal problems, by providing an opportunity to lend a voice to and explore concerns and issues.
  4. LIFE COACHING
    Life Coaching focuses on the clients personal goals and aspirations and does not cover Business processes or Business growth.

How is Business Coaching different to other popular interventions?

This simple matrix is another way to understand the relationship between Business Coaching and other popular interventions, in relation to both personal content and business focus.

BPS coaching interventions graphic

Interventions Chart to show Business Coaching in relation to other popular interventions Laura Ashley-Timms and Martin Goodyer © 2007 plus where BPS ltd fall across these.

What is Business Planning?

By definition, according to the Business Dictionary, Business Planning is “The process of determining a commercial enterprise’s objectives, strategies and projected actions in order to promote its survival and development within a given time frame.”

Developing a business plan is a vital tool for any business. However new research from Barclays has revealed that one in four small businesses (23%) don’t have any strategy in place to support their business growth. 

Less than half (47%) of the UK’s small businesses have a formal business plan in place that is written down or recorded – while the remaining 25% have an informal, verbal plan.

The Business Planning Approach…

Think of a business as being like a project: except that it doesn’t necessarily have an end date or finish.

It is made up of a number of elements. Some that must be done by law (tax, VAT, insurance), some that need to be done for the business to operate (staff, training, finance, maintenance) and some that may need doing in the future (growth, recruitment, assets). 

There may even be some that may or may not happen depending upon the success of the business (such as expansion, new products, or new premises).

All of the above start with the ideas phase – with ideas that come from either the business owners, the team or even customers. These can be a number of post-its of ideas, suggestions and feedback, which can then be discussed and  brainstormed to establish what to do & why do it. 

A good idea at this stage is to formalise this, so that it can then be shaped into and outlined in a scope document. This can be a written Business Plan – which is sometimes used if starting out a new business or a revision of an existing Business Plan, or it can be a separate document like a project scope.

From this, a preliminary Plan can be developed to set out what is to be done, in what order, who is doing it and when it is to be done – this is something that can also be outsourced to a planning specialist. 

When you are a sole trader business, this is easier as you have to do most things yourself – unless you employ or bring in outside help. However, it starts to become a lot more complex when there is a larger team involved, and the scale of the overall task is large. 

Four steps to building a successful Business Plan

Step #1 – Ideas – Decide what you’re going to do.

Identify what goals or objectives are to be achieved. It is said that if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. 

The same is true for your business plans: in order to create an effective, quantifiable, and measurable plan, you must clearly define your goals. A plan without a goal is like charting a course for nowhere. You will just continue working in perpetuity to reach a goal that doesn’t exist.

Step #2 – Plan it – Determine how you will do it.

Formulate strategies to achieve your goals or objectives. And once you’ve defined your goals, create a set of action steps to reach them. It’s a good idea to include your team in this process, as they will likely be the boots on the ground that are working through your strategy. 

Likewise, they may be able to help you find the best way to achieve your goals because they will have first-hand knowledge of what works within your business.

Step #3 – Populate it – pick who will deliver it.

Line up the people and resources required to work on the actions to achieve the goals, and be clear in communicating who is responsible for what. Additionally, you need to set a realistic timeframe that is both  challenging and achievable. 

Allow the team sufficient time: if you ask for work to be done in an unrealistic amount of time, the group may not put any effort toward accomplishing it because they know that it can’t be done. Likewise, giving too much time could breed procrastination and slow down the whole process.

Step #4 – Do it – Take action and report.

Implement, direct, and monitor the steps of the action plan. Once your team is set and they understand what is expected of them and when it is expected to be done, you then need to be consistent in following this up. 

Regular check-ins keep the tasks fresh on their minds, and enable you to offer additional resources if things are falling behind. Similarly, these follow-up meetings will help you to identify and address any problem areas that may need to be adjusted.

Where BPS Ltd can help

BPS Ltd offer a bespoke service that primarily combines Business Consulting with a bit of Business Coaching – and can include some personal lifestyle planning. 

We all have lives that rotate around many aspects, including but not limited to – work, colleagues, immediate family, extended family & friends, health & wellbeing, eating, sleeping and socialising. 

Here at BPS Ltd, we can take all these into consideration in order to develop a business plan. We also determine with you what type of plan you require.

  1. Strategic – Long Term (3-5 Years)
  2. Tactical – 1 to 3 years, which feeds into Strategic
  3. Operation – Day to Day actions for a year or two, that can influence Tactical
  4. Contingency – What If?

 

We can develop a plan based on one, a combination of, some, or all of the above.

This can then lead onto Plan Analysis to see if individuals in the team are available, whether they are overloaded or under-utilised, that the right resources are available at the right time, and identify any upcoming problems or issues in plenty of time. This is something that maybe isn’t as forthcoming with Business Coaching, due to the more generic nature of the techniques used.

If you would like a free and zero-obligation chat about our Business Planning methods, and how they could help your business, please get in touch with us. 

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