Creating Your Five-Year Growth Plan Featured
Any business with aspirations for continued growth should take the time to create a five-year plan that can serve as a blueprint for building a strong, scalable business. The potential benefits of such a plan are wide-ranging--not just for what it can provide, but also for what it can help prevent. As Tony Peressini, CEO of GreenDrop, LLC, warns, "If you're not constantly looking to grow and adjust your plans according to the current business climate, you will most likely become stagnant."
A five-year growth plan is part of a larger strategic initiative that all organizations should undertake, advises Christopher A. Szpryngel, acting dean of the Malcolm Baldridge School of Business at Post University. A strategic plan acts as a roadmap for the future direction of a company. It involves setting organizational and departmental goals, describing the company's mission and vision, and measuring success and progress over time. The role of the five-year growth plan within that overall strategic plan is to "illustrate the organization's planned growth for each year, identifying what areas are expected to grow and at what rate," he explains.
Creating an effective five-year growth plan is not a solo project. "Plans created in isolation stand less chance of being adopted easily," notes David Clayton, executive chairman of SDL, a provider of global content management and language solutions. While owners and CEOs generally have a strong sense of the direction in which they'd like to take their companies, involving direct reports in developing the plan provides owners and CEOs with the value of different perspectives, and it promotes a greater sense of ownership throughout the organization when it comes to executing the plan.
The areas of focus in a five-year plan may vary depending on the nature of the business, the industry in which it competes, and its goals, but the key is to concentrate on issues related to scalability. "If we define scalability as continuing to maintain or increase profits while increasing revenues, then it's important to watch expenses," Szpryngel says. Two important areas are cost-of-goods-sold (including labor, materials, billable hours, overhead, etc.) and supply chain management.
Szpryngel suggests starting with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis to determine where the company is today and its most important challenges and opportunities for growth. Next comes a market analysis to identify your target customers and determine how best to reach and convert them. That's followed by a competitive analysis: Who is your competition? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How much market share do they control, and how much can you take from them? Finally, you need resource assessment to determine whether you have the human capital resources and required skills to accommodate additional growth.
The outline of a typical five-year plan should look something like this:
- Executive summary
- Company profile
- Growth goals
- Market analysis
- Customer analysis
- Products/services marketing plan
- Operations plan
- Leadership team
- Financial projections
- Key performance indicators (KPIs)
Your five-year plan should be updated continuously because it is a dynamic document, Clayton stresses. "Change is constant, and plans need to be updated whenever things change. Although on the surface it might seem this could lead to mass confusion, the reverse is actually true. Frequently updating your plan based on current conditions and assumptions provides more order and predictability," he says.
by PATRICIA GUADALUPE
There are more than 800,000 Latina-owned businesses in the United States, and they represent the fastest-growing segment of small business owners. Yet many Latina business owners and would-be entrepreneurs are unaware of the many programs and services available to help them launch and successfully continue their business endeavors.
That is why the U.S. Small Business Administration and Latina media mogul and entrepreneur Nely Galán are joining forces and signing a first-ever agreement to help start, maintain, and expand Latina-owned businesses. The partnership will include providing information, training, and resources for aspiring Latina entrepreneurs.
Galán, the former President of Entertainment for the Telemundo network, is a founder of the non-profit group Adelante Movement, which trains and empowers Latinas to become entrepreneurs. She also has her own real estate development and investment company.
"The future is in women and small business and entrepreneurship. There is a lot of hidden money in America and we're going to help you find it through the SBA," said Galán during a ceremonial agreement signing in Washington, D.C.
"We all have an information gap. We don't know all the money that's out there for us. I myself didn't know about SBA loans," said Galán. "I didn't realize that so many non-profits provide training and the SBA partners with them. There is money out there but we don't know how to get it and it can be intimidating. Entrepreneurship is not grandiose; it's step by step and getting connected."
SBA Administrator María Contreras-Sweet says the agency can be a fountain of resources and information for Latina entrepreneurs. "The SBA has a great panoply of services that have proven successful to the community. We zeroed-out fees on loans under $150,000, we have recruited more credit unions, and we have changed the rules on underwriting to relax some of the underwriting. We have increased lending to the Hispanic community. We are at record-lending levels. The U.S. government had never been able to reach a simple goal of 5 percent contracting (to Latina-owned businesses), but we came in, hunkered down, put in more streamlining, and we've reached that goal and exceeded it. So now the five percent is the floor, not the ceiling. The numbers speak for themselves," said Contreras-Sweet, herself a Latina entrepreneur and business executive before joining the Obama administration two years ago.
"All of this work is building on each other and we think this initiative is going to be one more of those endeavors. This will be a significant partnership. We're going to create more jobs and have more impact and transform communities and brighten up lives."
WASHINGTON, D.C. (JULY 14, 2016)
BY BILLY HOUSE
(Bloomberg) House conservatives launched an effort Thursday to force a vote to impeach the IRS commissioner, but action on the motion could be delayed until September.
Representative John Fleming of Louisiana offered a privileged resolution to impeach John Koskinen, the Internal Revenue Service commissioner, after Republicans accused him of impeding an investigation into whether the tax agency improperly targeted conservative non-profits.
House leaders now have two legislative days to rule on whether the motion will indeed receive a vote, which could delay any action until September, when the House returns from its lengthy summer recess.
Fleming said on the House floor that his resolution has four separate articles of impeachment. Those include one accusing Koskinen of "engaging in a pattern of conduct showing he is unfit," including false statements to Congress. The Louisiana Republican said Koskinen’s false statements confused the investigation.
Republican leaders did not immediately comment on whether the resolution would receive a vote.
But moments before Fleming offered the resolution, Speaker Paul Ryan made a plea for the country to work toward healing.
"Our country is hurting, and needs to come together," he said on the House floor.
It is highly unusual for Congress to impeach an appointed administration official. The last time it happened was 140 years ago.
Senate leaders have also indicated they didn’t favor an effort to impeach Koskinen.
BY LISA NAGELE-PIAZZA
2016 is expected to be the most expensive year for businesses complying with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), said David Lindgren, senior manager of compliance and public affairs for Flexible Benefit Service Corporation, a benefit administrator headquartered in Rosemont, Ill.
It’s the first year for dealing with ACA reporting, which many employers will have to complete by the end of June, Lindgren said during a concurrent session at the Society for Human Resource Management 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition.
There are more than 30,000 pages of guidance about the law, but Lindgren said the ACA is fairly easy to comprehend. “Of course, many people would disagree with me,” he noted.
“It’s not necessarily easy to comply with the ACA, and it’s not financially inexpensive, but most of the rules aren’t overly complicated,” he said.
The federal agencies that regulate the ACA have said they intend to monitor all businesses for compliance. This may not be realistic, but employers should keep in mind that more auditing can be expected.
Lindgren identified 30 penalties associated with noncompliance and provided insight on how to avoid them.
Employers can choose to pay the penalties for noncompliance, but steep fines are often attached, he said. For example, market reform violations carry a penalty of $100 per participant per day, up to $500,000 for each violation.
Employees Must Receive Notices
Some noteworthy penalties to avoid are those associated with the failure to provide required notices to plan participants, including a written notice of patient protections.
Lindgren said sometimes employers aren’t clear about who has been designated to provide this notice. “A lot of times the insurance company thinks the employer provided it and the employer thinks the insurance company did,” he said. “So it’s important to double check who is in fact giving the notice.”
Participants must also be provided with a summary of benefits and coverage in a standardized format. Lindgren likened this format to a nutrition label on a can of soup.
A participant should be able to easily compare the benefits to other plans, such as a spouse’s plan, just as the nutrition facts for two cans of soup can be easily compared.
There is a standardized template for the summary of benefits and coverage on the Department of Labor website.
The requirement to provide a summary of benefits and coverage applies to medical plans, but not to dental or vision plans.
The summary should be distributed at the time of open enrollment and special enrollments related to qualifying events, as well as at the request of participants and when a material modification has been made to the plan.
Although there is no penalty attached for noncompliance, employers must also provide written notice about the health insurance marketplace to new hires within 14 days of their start date.
This applies even for organizations that don’t offer benefits and even to those employees who aren’t eligible for benefits, Lindgren said.
There are some exceptions. For example, if an employer isn’t subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, then it doesn’t have to provide the marketplace notice.
Exceptions for Grandfathered Plans
Grandfathered plans aren’t subject to some of the requirements under the ACA. This includes plans purchased on or before March 23, 2010, that haven’t made certain material changes.
Lindgren noted that employers with grandfathered plans must provide written notice to participants notifying them that it is a grandfathered plan and describing what that means for participants.
If participants aren’t provided this information, the plan will lose its grandfathered status, Lindgren said.
HR Takes the Lead
Benefits compliance isn’t just a human resources issue anymore, but HR often takes the lead in compliance efforts, according to Lindgren.
However, other departments, such as finance, legal and information technology, are increasingly getting more involved.
Lisa Nagele-Piazza, SHRM-SCP, J.D., is the senior legal editor for SHRM.