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Tactical Planning

Many small business owners and operators do not spend much time planning for their
business success. The biggest reason, in my opinion, is that they are not aware how easy it can
be. Most owners, when they hear the words Operational Planning or Tactical Planning, get a
glazed-eyed look on their faces. Actually, these can be rather simple tasks to manage if you
understand a few things about them. Instead most business operators are in a state of
confusion about what each of these terms mean.The reason for this confusion stems from the
fact that both words are closely connected and, unfortunately, used interchangeably. Yet, in
business terminology, the words strategy and tactics refer to separate business functions and
practices.
Tactics is the play.Tactics are the specific actions you take in implementing your strategy.
These actions comprise what is to be done, in what order, using which tools and personnel. You
may employ a number of tactics and involve many different departments and people in this
effort to reach a common goal. You may even recruit suppliers to accomplish your objectives.
Tactics typically requires the involvement of the organization as a whole. In tactical planning,
you need to understand and decipher the strategic goals; then identify the courses of action you
will need to achieve those strategic objectives. Tactical planning is developed by those who deal
with getting the work done, day by day. They draw up a tactical plan so they know what to do,
when they need to do it, and this will help them deal with the how part of the plan. The main
question for them is: How can the strategic goals be accomplished within the designated
limits of resources and authority? The only way that can happen is to insure that the tactics
create results which lead to the strategic benefits you desire..As a small business owner, you
need to make plans that include specific activities that are arranged on specified time frames
and have specific outcomes. Ensure the performance of all tactical planning activities and
calculate their effects; then help connect the tactical moves to the strategic plan.
Tactical Planning is short range planning that emphasizes the current operations of
various parts of the organization.Short Range is defined as a period of time extending about
one year or less in the future.Managers use tactical planning to outline what the various parts of
the organization must do for the organization to be successful at some point 1year or less into
the future.Tactical plans are usually developed in the areas of production, marketing, personnel,
finance and plant facilities.

There are 5 steps to creating the perfect tactical plan. It applies to virtually everything
youll do in your business. Since were passionate about marketing, well focus on creating a
tactical plan for the marketing activities you undertake. Youll find the ability to break out the
process into bite-sized pieces is very valuable.First and foremost, one must define the goal. A
goal is an emotional and non-specific statement. It may be, I want to have a successful Twitter
account or I want to have a profitable Google Adwords account. Whatever it is, its not likely to
be easily attainable and the definition of what you believe is goal success may change over
time.Secondly, define 1 or more objectives. Objectives follow the S.M.A.R.T rule. SMART
stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Defined. Many Goals will have
multiple objectives. As you pursue a goal, you may add objectives over time.For goals and
objectives, define whos accountable or responsible. It should be one person. Leaders and
managers are responsible for goals and objectives. Afterwards, for each objective, list the
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tactics. Each tactic should be a specific task or to-do. Think of to-dos/tactics as tasks that can
be completed within days. While there are exceptions, this is a good general rule. Each tactic is
something that you should be able to accomplish and builds on other tactics. Each tactic builds
towards accomplishing the overall objective. Define the person or people who will complete
each tactic.For objectives and tactics, set a deadline. Deadlines will keep you moving ahead.
Giving each objective and tactic a deadline allows you to create an actionable plan that
becomes your tactical plan. A plan must also undergo a test, track, and measure. As you
execute your tactical plan, especially for marketing activities, youll need to test. You may use a
tracking program or system to record how many suspects turn into prospects and customers.
Subsequently, determine what you can learn from executing your plan. Is the goal worth
pursuing or should you move on to something else? Record your findings so others in your
organization can benefit from what youve learned.

Operational Planning
An operational plan forms part of the businesss strategic plan and is important for
effective business leadership. It describes how the work will be done, the workflow from input to
end results, including the resources that will be used along the way, all of which are required for
success.Streamlined business systems also defines how you will deal with risks, and how you
will ensure sustainability of the projects achievements.An operational plan also explains how, or
what portion of, a strategic plan will be put into operation during a given operational period.While
strategic planning provides the vision, direction and goals for the business, operational planning
translates that into the everyday workflow of the business that will hopefully produce the
outcomes defined by the strategy. Simply put, operational planning is the conversion of strategic
goals into managed execution. It deals specifically with the internal operations and resources
necessary to produce your companys product or service.

In an operational scheme, there are 4 steps undertaken towards the path of success. An
operational plan addresses four questions that includes Where are we now?, Where do we
want to be?, How do we get there?, How do we measure our progress?. The key
components of a complete operational plan include human capital. This refers to the staff and
skills required to implement your project, as well as current and potential sources of these
resources. Another significant component is financial requirements. It comprises the funding
required to implement your project, your current and potential sources of these funds. Risk
assessment is also conducted in the said plan. These highlights the risks existing and how they
can be addressed. Operational plan also requires to estimate of project lifespan, sustainability
and exit strategy. In order to produce an effective and concise operational plans, it should
contain clear objectives, activities to be delivered, quality standards, desired outcomes, staffing
and resource requirements, implementation timetables and a process for monitoring progress.

An operational plan is important because it helps your team to be clear about where you
will get the necessary resources, use those resources efficiently, clearly define the most critical
resource requirements, reduce risks where possible, and prepare contingency plans where
necessary. In addition to this, operational plans should be prepared by the people who will be
involved in the implementation. There is often a need for cross-departmental dialogue as plans
created by one part of the organization inevitably have implications for other parts.A project
administrator or finance manager should be involved in defining financial requirements. Human
resources should be involved in assessing HR and capacity needs. HR, IT or operations staff
should be engaged in discussions of processes, procedures and systems. Efficient operational
planning and implementation calls for ongoing open communication between the project team
and these other staff.