How to create a simple (and actionable) Business Strategy Plan

This five step Business Strategy plan is called the FFS (The Fraser Five Step) and is a simple way to create a clear and actionable business plan for your startup.

The five steps of this business strategy plan are as follows:

  1. Mission/Objective
  2. Strategy
  3. Tactics
  4. Actions
  5. Controls & Measures

Let’s look at those in a little more depth, but not too deep. Let’s not over-think this.

1) Mission/Objective

Where do you want to be in a year’s time? In one sentence. This might be based upon turnover, or profits, or product development, or number of clients, or number of sales. Anything. But in one simple sentence, and no more.

2) Strategy

What top line strategy are you going to put in place to ensure delivery of that Mission/Objective? If it’s a sales-based mission/objective the strategy might be an increased sales team, new products, increased pricing structure, a larger profit margin…… You have to think ‘What do I need to do to deliver on my mission?’ As above, keep this simple.

3) Tactics

Strategy is the big picture, whereas tactics is getting towards what you are actually going to do. What three or four key things do you need to do to make those key strategic things happen? So if we said we were going to ensure a better profit margin, our tactics might be ‘to reduce costs by 10%’ and ‘to increase prices by 15%’.

4) Actions

The actions level is where start to look at what specifically needs doing to deliver the tactics above. In simple terms we’re getting granular and creating a ‘to do’ list to deliver our tactics. Following our example above, we might need to decide that we are going to talk to suppliers about reducing costs, talk to alternative suppliers, look at the supply chain itself etc etc. On the increasing prices side of things we might chose to review competitive pricing, perhaps research our clients to see how they might react, review our product line to see which products could stand a price rise etc.

5) Controls & Measures

Finally we need to determine not only who is going to ensure that each of these actions happen, but we need to put controls and measures in place. Those might be time based, budget based, quality based, volumes, priority order and much more. In essence tightly nailing down that those ‘Actions’ happen.

Once you have identified your five steps above, simply flip it all upside down, and commence with the ‘Actions’ along with the ‘Controls and Measures’. If your plan is accurate, the ‘Actions’ will ensure that the ‘Tactics’ happen. With your ‘Tactics’ happening, you’ll deliver your ‘Strategy’, and thus your ‘Objective’ will be reached.

This FFS structure can work on a whole business plan, or just a particular project, or in larger Start-ups, different departments. You can do this activity as a Business Owner alone or involve your team in the planning. I have found in the past that if you include the team in this discussion you end up with greater buy in and commitment, than simply ‘announcing’ a plan to the team.