Is There A Difference Between Operational Plans And Strategic Plans?

A surprising number of business leaders are unaware of the differences between operational planning and strategic planning. While they have a close connection, it’s vital to have an understanding of their differences and how a company can put both kinds of plans to good use as they work towards their business goals.

The consultants here at GR-US.com regularly find that business leaders mistakenly think that they’ve created a strategic plan when in fact their planning has been operational in nature. Drawing up a list of long-term, medium-term and short-term projects and tasks is vital for the success of any organization, however, doing so does not constitute a strategic plan.

So, what is a strategic plan?

Strategic planning is a macro, high-level activity that will hone in on the priority strategic goals and areas of your organization in the medium to the long-term range. When you have a robust strategic plan, it acts as a map that you can follow from the place where your organization is today, to the place that you want to end up. Operational plans, on the other hand, focus on the weekly, daily or micro-actions that allow your team to achieve the company’s goals.

To put it briefly – operation is working in the business, a strategy is working on the business.

How To Maximize Your Strategic Plan

One of the most effective ways of thinking about your strategic plan is to look at your organization’s big picture. Your strategic plan acts as an outer layer encasing short-term, smaller actions that are your operational plan.

Your strategic plan should ask questions about your business like:

  • What does your business do?
  • Why does it do it?
  • Who do you do it for?
  • What are its weaknesses, strengths, threats, and opportunities?
  • Which roadblocks or obstacles may be encountered?
  • Where does the organization stand right now?
  • Where do you want to take it in the future?
  • Which main areas do you wish to concentrate on?

Select a few key goals and priorities to follow through and put in place a feedback loop so that progress is continually assessed and ongoing changes can be made at regular review meetings.

Although strategic plans are generally led by your company’s leadership team, employees should also be consulted to ensure that they take ownership of the final plan.

How To Maximize Your Operational Plan

Your operational plan will ideally support your strategic plan. While your strategic priorities will focus on just a few key areas that require reviewing on a regular basis, your operational plans may involve more items, including long-term, mid-term, short-term and single to-do projects. Although strategic plans tend to start at the organizational level, your operational plans will hone in on individual teams and departments and can focus on the daily necessities of running your business.

A strong strategic plan is vital for effective operational planning. If your team doesn’t have a clear understanding of where your company is heading, it’s virtually impossible to determine which operational projects and tasks can move the organization forward.

An operational plan will ask questions like:

  • Which projects must we complete to achieve the business’s goals?
  • Which daily tasks must be implemented, continued or stopped to function effectively?
  • Who takes responsibility for which tasks?
  • Will this action or task support the values, vision, and mission of our organization?

If every member of your team understandings the strategic direction of your organization and are all in alignment with where the business is heading, they’ll have a stronger understanding of the ways in which their daily tasks are able to propel the company forward. They’ll also be better equipped to model behaviors and make decisions that will support the values, vision, and mission of the organization.

 

Could Regular Meetings Improve Your Strategic Planning Implementation?

If you’re running a business, developing a strategic plan for your organization is absolutely essential. However, implementing that plan is just as important, if not more so, than coming up with one in the first place. If you’ve already worked with your team to develop an effective strategic plan that aligns with your organization’s mission and vision and that’s clear on action items, goals, and strategic priorities, what is the next step?

Is Your Strategic Plan Pointless?

All-too-often, companies find that, no matter how impressive their strategic plan, once the team has returned to the hustle and bustle of everyday operations, the strategic initiatives end up getting put on a back burner. A year later, when it’s time to review the plan’s effectiveness, those who were supposed to have responsibility for implementing the outlined initiatives and tracking their progress start to panic, realizing they haven’t met their goals. This isn’t just stressful for the individuals involved, it’s also bad news for the business. What’s the point of devising a strategic plan for development and growth if nobody’s going to follow through on the action items and priorities?

To avoid the problem from occurring in your business, there’s something you can put in place – set up regular strategy meetings so the organization as a whole can stay on track with its implementation of the strategic plan.

How Often Should Strategic Plan Review Meetings Take Place?

You probably already hold regular meetings in your organization for team members to report on their progress and raise any issues. Whether these are weekly check-ups or quarterly sessions, they are essential to keeping the business on track. It’s equally important to fit time into the schedule for strategic work too. How frequent those meetings should be will depend on the needs of your company. You may prefer a weekly meeting, or a monthly or even quarterly one will suffice.

What Should Happen In The Meeting?

In a strategic plan review meeting, you should have a clearly written agenda that showcases the mission and vision as well as the goals and strategic priorities that have been set out. During the meeting, you should check back against those goals to see how well things are going and what has been accomplished since the last meeting towards achieving those targets. It’s also important to look forward to what will be done before the next meeting takes place.

Improving The Chance Of Having A Successful Strategic Plan

Increasing the chance of having a successful strategic plan is very important for any business, so creating regular meetings during which the focus will be solely on strategic work couldn’t be more essential. Once you get into the habit of planning these meetings on a regular basis, you’ll find that progress is smoother overall. The team will be able to spot at an early stage where any shortfalls lie and where goals are either being met or exceeded.

Getting Professional Advice

If you need some help and advice in developing or implementing a strategic plan for your organization, visit GR-US.com. Our team of professional consultants and business analysts are at your disposal to help you put in place the most effective strategy to grow your business.

Top Tax Filing Tips For Your Business

It won’t be long before you have to file your taxes again, but rather than it being a dreaded task, you could actually use this as an opportunity to save more money. Filing taxes is never going to be an enjoyable job, however, there are many ways in which you can obtain deductions and help you to make a saving.

With this in mind, here are some top tips that will help to make filing tax for your business easier.

Review Your Documents For Last Year First

Before you do anything else, take a look back through all the documents from the last tax year to ensure everything has been correctly reported. If you spot any issues, you can address them now rather than waiting.

Consider Investments Requirements

When you’re reporting earnings from investments, you need to be well-organized. You’re required by the IRS to report dividend and interest categories separately. You’ll find this information more easily if you keep your earnings statements in a convenient location from each investment account. Annual statements may have all the key information on them, but it’s still a good idea to keep your quarterly or monthly statements within easy reach, just in case.

Remember Charitable Donations

Making charitable donations can be an effective way of reducing your taxable income in any given tax year and, as an added bonus, you’ll be helping others. Charitable contributions have to be made to a qualified organization to receive a tax deduction, and the deductions must also be itemized. You’ll also require a written communication or bank record from the charity including its name, the date and amount of the contribution. If you’ve donated property too, this may also count.

Include Your Medical Expenses

If you have documentation to back up medical expenses claims, you can obtain a tax deduction here. Unreimbursed medical deductions must total over 10% of your adjusted yearly income, however with the right records available you could possibly claim your travel costs from and to your treatments and appointments, insurance payments from any income that has been taxed already, any medically necessary items which have been prescribed by a doctor, costs linked to rehabilitation treatments for controlled substances and medical treatments that are not covered by insurance. It’s essential therefore, to keep a track of those records through the year so everything you require to file your taxes will be in a single location.

File Early

It has been known for fraudsters to file a fake return in an individual’s name before they have had the chance to file their own taxes. This allows the fraudsters to collect the refund. You can protect yourself from fraud by filing your tax return quickly.

Get Professional Help

If you need help with your business strategic tax planning, Global Resources LLC is on hand to offer expert advice and assistance. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you to get as much as possible from your tax return.

Three Steps To Implement And Track A Strategic Plan For Your Business

If you’ve held a strategy meeting and developed a strategic plan for your organization, what should you do next? The process of strategic planning shouldn’t come to an end just because the document has been created. If your strategy is to be executed successfully across your organization you need to pay careful attention to the essential next steps: tracking, monitoring, implementation, and communication.

The Importance Of Communication

If you work in a mid-sized or larger organization, there’s a chance that not every employee could be present when the planning meeting was held. Instead, it’s likely that department leaders were participating, each representing their own section of the company.

Before the meeting, leaders should survey their team and obtain their perspective on the various organizational weaknesses, strengths, directions, and goals which will be addressed during the strategy session. Once the planning session is over and the document has been created, it’s vital for leaders to ensure their whole team has a clear understanding of the organization’s strategy in terms of goals, tactics, and priorities as well as the reasons that lie behind them.

When staff feel heard and are engaged with the pre-planning process, it’s more likely they’ll buy into the organization’s strategy and that they’ll take more ownership over their department’s and their own individual action items.

With the right communication, your team is sure to be better aligned, more accountable and more effectively equipped to make strategic decisions that serve the organization well.

Starting The Cycle Of Implementation

Before the plan can be implemented and before the company can move forward, it’s vital that your priority goals and areas are supporting your business’ vision. It’s also essential that every individual and each department understands clearly which tactics and goals they’ll be responsible for delivery. It’s also very important that they are all aware of the expectations of the project and have a clear vision of what success will look like.

Tracking And Monitoring The Plan

In order to understand where the plan is succeeding and where it’s falling behind, it’s essential to continually monitor it, and track the goals regularly. This will enable you to see rapidly where goals are being met or even exceeded, and where they are falling short. Holding regular strategy reviews every quarter is another excellent way to make strategy adjustments so that the facets which are working well can be maximized while areas of weakness can be effectively addressed rapidly.

Seeking Professional Help

If you need help with putting a strategic plan for your business in place, seeking advice from a team of professional consultants is the best course of action. Take a look at our Global Resources reviews on LinkedIn to see how highly we’re rated by our clients. You can depend on Global Resources LLC for all your professional consulting needs, so contact us today to find out more about how we can help you to implement the most effective strategic planning for your business.

Five Proven Tips For Improving Employee Engagement And Productivity

Productivity in the workplace is the lifeblood of your organization. It keeps your business alive and functioning. However, if your employees aren’t as productive as they should be, your operation can slow down or even come to a complete stop. Making employees as productive as possible is the best way to help your business to grow and thrive, so how can you give this aspect of your organization a boost?

Focusing On Employee Engagement

If your employees are disengaged, they’ll drag your company down. Conversely, engaged workers turn up regularly and on time, with lower absenteeism rates and less staff turnover – two things which can seriously impact on your profits. With only around 34% of workers feeling engaged, it’s no surprise that lost productivity is costing companies in the USA up to $6-5 billion every year. With this in mind, here are some top tips to help make sure that your workforce is fully engaged and ready to dedicate themselves to helping your business to exceed its targets.

1.Invest In The Best Tools

The skills that your team displays are vital to your business’ performance, however, the tools that they use every day to carry out their work are equally important. Selecting the best software makes their work simpler and helps to produce a more streamlined workflow. Tools such as collaboration and communication apps can make a huge difference to employees in terms of saving time and effort and helping them to get more done.

2.Improve Recruiting Practices

The secret to an engaged workforce could lie in choosing the right staff in the first place. Screening future employees for their fit with the core values of your business is a good place to start. If you focus on finding a strong cultural fit before hiring, it’ll save you money and time in the long run. Not only does getting the recruitment process right ensure that new members of your team are dedicated and committed to helping your company achieve success, but those new, positive team members energize your other workers for increased productivity and motivation.

  1. Offer More Training

Once you’ve got your team on board, you need to train them to keep them productive. Training not only benefits employees, but it also offers advantages for employers too since effective training leads to higher productivity and greater efficiency.

  1. Don’t Micromanage

It can be difficult to avoid micromanaging when you’re highly invested in the success of your business, however, one of the best ways to encourage greater productivity is simply to encourage each individual to take greater ownership over the way in which they manage their resources and time. It may sound counterintuitive to manage less yet obtain better results, yet science has backed up the premise. In general, people are more motivated by having greater autonomy than by receiving a financial reward.

5.Seek Professional Advice

If you need more advice about how to improve productivity and employee engagement in your workplace, seeking professional help is the best course of action. Check our Global Resources LLC Reviews to see how we’ve successfully supported businesses like yours to boost their profitability and become more successful.

A Guide to Communicating Changes in Your Organization

The business landscape is constantly fluctuating. Whether there is new legislation to be taken on board, new technology to get to grips with, or an acquisition or merger to deal with, any organization will go through times when change is inevitable.

Nobody likes to change. However, since change is unavoidable, it’s important to learn not only how to cope with it, but how to actually embrace it as an opportunity rather than fear it and see it as a problem.

Change management all too often is overlooked, and often to such an extent that the team’s daily output and, therefore, your company itself suffers. If employers fail to take on board changes and adapt fully to them, the chances are that the workforce will lack the necessary skillset to absorb those changes while also carrying out all of their regular daily duties.

Engagement and Communication with Staff

One of the most important aspects of change management involves engaging and communicating with staff so that everybody understands the process and gets on board with the adjustments. Many individuals in the team may find that their duties and roles are different once the changes have been adopted, and therefore communicating those differences and getting the employees who will be affected to embrace their new potential is essential. So, how can you communicate most effectively with your workforce

Clarity Is Key

When you’re communicating with your team about changes, it’s vital to keep clarity in mind. Your team needs to actually understand what will be happening – they need answers, not more questions. You need to be extremely clear about what needs to be said then work out how you can say it is the most effective and comprehensible way.

There isn’t a single way to deliver communications about changes, however, employees must be given a chance to respond and express their opinions and concerns. Employees also need to stay updated about progress regarding these changes and need to feel involved with the processes. This is why it’s so important to be transparent and upfront with your team. If plans change, or employees are expected to take on significantly different duties, it’s vital to keep them in the loop at as early a stage as possible to avoid ongoing problems.

Surveying Your Team

Even if you think that you’ve done everything possible to keep your team educated and informed about upcoming changes, there’s no more effective way to ascertain the success of your communications than by asking your staff directly. A key way to achieve this is to carry out an employee engagement survey before and after you communicate your changes. The first survey should focus on how your team would prefer to be communicated with and the subsequent survey will assess just how well the change was delivered, and whether your communication style worked well.

When it comes to communicating change within your organization, you may find it helpful to get some advice from a skilled and professional business consultancy firm. Visit GR-US.com to find out more about how we can help you to smooth the way to change within your company.

Attracting Millennials to Your Workforce

Although the Millennial generation is often under-estimated, they are key to growing your business. By 2020, this demographic will be making up most of the workforce, and that, in turn, means that companies must focus on attracting, retaining and engaging them if they want to stay productive, profitable and successful. So, what do Millennials want? How can you persuade them to join your team and, more importantly, stay there? Here is an expert guide to help you to keep your business thriving in the near future.

Work/Life Balance Is Key

If you take a closer look at the differences between the way business operates today when compared with a decade again, you can see that millennials are driving change. Their top priority is establishing the right work/life balance, and when this demographic looks for a job, having sufficient time off remains a top priority. Flexible working patterns are also very important, and in surveys, Millennials have reported that their top reasons for quitting a job are inflexible hours and excessive overtime. While this sounds like bad news for employers, in fact, 77% of this generation report that having flexible working patterns allows them to be more productive and efficient in their roles.

It’s Not Just About Money

Millennials don’t just focus on the salary when they take up a new post. Almost 90% believe that career growth and training opportunities are vital to them, with most choosing to stay with a current employer who offers new opportunities and a clearer path of progression. Most importantly, millennials need to have recognition for their professional accomplishments and for reaching their milestones in the workplace. Positive feedback is key for them, and therefore putting an infrastructure in place which invests in development and training and which rewards achievement is essential.

Increased Transparency

Millennials value honesty and transparency in their leaders. Employers must build-up a company culture in which employees can see the processes of decision making, and can contribute to those decisions in a meaningful way. Traditional systems of management in which strict boundaries are imposed cause this demographic to lose trust in their leadership since younger generations perform more effectively in a trust-based, candid environment. You must share information openly with your team in order for your younger employees to feel trusted as well as reassured that their opinions will be taken on board.

Inclusion And Diversity

50% of all Millennials look actively for inclusion and diversity in a potential workplace before committing to a position. Beyond physical ability, race, gender, religion, and age, they’re also concerned about how differing viewpoints are valued and accepted. With 83% of employees reporting that they remain actively engaged in their organization fosters a more inclusive working environment, it’s something that’s well worth implementing into your business ethos.

Seeking Professional Advice

It can be challenging to attract Millennials to your workforce, but with the right advice and support, it becomes possible. Global Resources LLC can help you with this, offering business consultancy services that will take your organization to the next level.

Choosing the Right Project Management Methodology for You

There is no shortage of project management methodologies for you to choose from, but all have a single thing in common: they are all designed to help you to manage the work processes of your team through communication, structure, and rules so your projects can be successfully completed.

Yet, despite having the same goal, and despite the similar-sounding jargon which is used in each methodology, all have very different approaches that set them apart from each other. While there are many successful options for you to consider to help your business to grow and thrive, there are four which stand out from the crowd. Here, we take an expert look at these methodologies so you can make an informed decision about which one suits you and your business best.

The Waterfall Method

The Waterfall methodology is an older project management approach, with its origins in manufacturing and construction industries where every part of each project depends on another part having been already completed. This methodology can only be applied in a linear fashion, allowing a project to move from one phase onto the next, with no going back to the previous phase. This way of completing projects is extremely structured, with each stage agreed beforehand. This makes it an excellent choice if you prefer rigidity and tight structure within your organization. However, if you require greater flexibility or simultaneous working, this approach won’t be helpful for your business.

The Agile Method

This methodology is the polar opposite of the Waterfall method. It allows simultaneous, flexible workflows with projects being broken down into smaller subsections. This is an ideal approach for any team that prefers to adapt their processes if and when the requirements of a project change. It’s also a good choice for any projects which require testing or regular revisions, such as those found in the software development sector. Members of the team can easily stop or change direction with no disruption to the project.

The Kanban Method

The Kanban approach is a specific form of the Agile methodology as it adheres to a flexible principle instead of a rigid one. The primary feature of the Kanban method is that it improves team processes. The Kanban board is used to demonstrate incremental work as it progresses to completion, allowing teams to visualize any bottlenecks or flow issues and to identify where problems lie within their processes. It also allows teams to adjust or correct the workflow processes more easily so projects can efficiently stay on track.

The Scrum Method

Scrum is also a type of Agile methodology, but with a strong focus on speed. Each project is broken down into “sprints” – short periods of time during which specific project elements are completed, all facilitated by the “Scrum Master”. Daily meetings are held to check on progress and to ensure everybody is in line with expectations.

Choosing the Right Methodology for You

Adopting the best methodology for your business and your team will depend on the nature of your projects and the optimal working style of your team. Every methodology comes with its own advantages and restrictions, depending on whether process, workflow or speed is key to your operations. The most important thing is to select the right method for you and then stick to it. If you try to use elements of multiple strategies, the effect will almost certainly be to slow down your team and your projects.

You may benefit from some expert consultancy advice to help you select the most appropriate methodology for your business. Global Resources LLC is here to assist, helping your small or mid-sized business to grow and thrive. You can check Global Resources Reviews here to find out more about how we can help you and your company to stay profitable.

Your Expert Guide to Retaining the Best People in Your Organization

Loyalty is, arguably, the glue that holds businesses together. It is the key to keeping talent within your organization and it’s also what keeps customers and clients returning time and again rather than going to your competition.

Companies usually put considerable effort into rewarding the loyalty of customers, but does your business actually reward employee loyalty too? All-too-often, businesses demand loyalty from their workforce, but they aren’t so good at recognizing it in return.

Your employees are dedicating significant amounts of their lives to your business. So, shouldn’t they feel supported and secure in their jobs? Recruitment and retention are major issues that face every business, especially in today’s highly competitive workplace, so it couldn’t be more important to consider how your staff is treated. Could attrition in your organization all be down to your lack of loyalty and respect?

Could showing greater loyalty to your team really have an impact on the success of your company? Here, we take a closer look at why it could be so important to retain the best talent in your organization.

Boosting Your Reputation

Your employees are delivering your services or products to your clients and customers. Therefore, your business’ reputation is also carried on their shoulders. If your workforce is disengaged, their performance will suffer, their customer service will drop and, ultimately, your business will develop a poor reputation. Remember that your workforce is your competitive advantage over your rivals. Meeting their needs means that your brand image can remain a positive one.

Greater Productivity

It stands to reason that if your employees are satisfied, they will be more efficient and productive. Happy employees who feel appreciated and supported will work harder and contribute more. They’ll also take less time off work for sick days. In organizations where employees feel valued, productivity can increase by as much as 25%. Engaged employees have a 27% greater chance of reporting excellent performance. Yet almost 60% of workers who feel stressed in the workplace feel less engaged and non-productive. Evidence shows that companies that have engaged employees can outperform those which don’t by a massive 202%. Meanwhile, disengaged workers have a 37% greater chance of taking time off work for sickness, are almost twice as likely to be involved in an accident and are 60% more likely to make a mistake. It stands to reason that supporting your workers can make an enormous difference to productivity and, thus, the profitability of your business.

Better Staff Retention

Perhaps the biggest benefit of showing loyalty to your employees is staff retention. If your team feels appreciated, they’ll be increasingly loyal themselves, staying with your company for longer and, most importantly, speaking positively to others about their work, which attracts more new talent.

It’s clear to see why showing increased loyalty and support for your workforce could save your business a lot of money and could also help to improve your overall brand’s reputation. If you need more advice about how to recruit and retain the top talent to your organization, take the time to read out Global Resources LLC reviews. As expert business consultants, we can offer you all the help you need to grow your business and help it thrive.

Is Getting Help with Business Solutions a Waste of Time?

Your business is running well so why would you want to spend money on getting help with Business Solutions; surely it’s a waste of time.

You may think that this is the case but in fact, using professional services such as Global Resources LLC can be a very good idea. There are several business areas in which professional help can be useful. Let’s take a closer look at four of these areas.

Expert business analysis

You may think that your business is running as well as it can. However, it’s not possible to be certain about this unless you have comprehensive analytics in place. This is because you need to have an in-depth understanding of the past and present situation with the business in order to plan for the future.

This type of business analysis takes time and expertise. This is why working with a professional partner often makes sense.

Management consulting services

Once you have data from the analysis of your business, you need to make sure that you optimize its use. This involves planning and managing projects within the business, in order to improve and change in a positive manner.

Professional management consultants can help you with this work. They have considerable knowledge and experience working with businesses that are similar to yours. This means that you can trust them to provide a high-quality service.

Strategic tax planning

Any small business owner wants to make sure that they optimize their tax situation. However, it can be difficult to find the time, and develop the expertise, to make sure that this is the case.

Working with tax planning specialists takes the pressure off your shoulders. This means that you can ensure that you pay the right amount of tax, and receive any allowances that you are entitled to, without raising your stress levels.

Business Valuations

It’s helpful to understand the value of your business, especially if you are intending to sell. There are several factors that come together to determine this value. These factors include:

  • The quality of your business.
  • The amount of projected revenue that your business has.
  • The cash flow of your business.
  • The size of your operations.
  • Fluctuations of value within the industry.
  • The number of similar businesses that are available on the market.

It’s difficult to get an accurate valuation of your business on your own. This is why it makes sense to get help from experts in the area.You may think you have everything under control with your business, but there may still be room for improvement. Partnering with independent experts means that you get the benefit of their experience and expertise. It also means that you can get ongoing help with analyzing your business, managing improvements, planning your taxes and establishing the value of your business. This is the type of assistance that any business can benefit from.