Top Planning Secrets of Million Dollar Entrepreneurs – Part 2

June 20, 2009 at 11:44 am 6 comments


Verne Harnish of Gazelles

This one page strategic plan is the second part in a series on planning secrets of million dollar entrepreneurs. The exercises shared in this series represent an exclusive look inside the elite entrepreneurial group EO (formerly known as YEO – Young Entrepreneurs Organization).  EO members must have businesses with a minimum of $1,000,000 in revenues.  Below is what EO members recently learned during an Executive Management Program in Boston, MA.

Caveat: The following is a cursory overview ONLY.  To experience the depth and detail of  these business gurus’ publications and workshops, you must contact:


Planning Secrets of Million Dollar Entrepreneurs 1: Cameron Herold

Planning Secrets of Million Dollar Entrepreneurs 2: Verne Harnish

Planning Secrets of Million Dollar Entrepreneurs 3: Kaihan Krippendorf

Step 2: After completing the Painted Picture phase of planning, a strategic plan is next. There are two options:

Beginner. This beginner planning exercise is offered as an alternative to the one page strategic plan (advanced) for students or those just starting out with planning or entrepreneurship. The participants in the EO Executive Management Program use the “Advanced” option.  (Login and download the free EITC free curriculum and reference Module 3, Slides 4 to 43.  Exercise 3-3: Business plan exercise discussion.  Exercise 3-4: Build your own basic business plan.

Advanced. Complete the one page planning template from Verne Harnish’s company Gazelles (login, then download the “classic” version).

Completing the one page strategic plan. The idea is to have a brief, overview document which – literally – gets everyone involved with your company ON THE SAME PAGE. Below are a few highlights with which you can get started:

BHAG – This means “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal”

Author interpretation: This is a term coined by Jim Collins, author of Built to Last and Good to Great. I find the term slightly nauseating, but, success is not always pretty. The idea here is: DREAM. What is the vision of your company in the future? This is a similar line of thinking as the Painted Picture phase of planning described in the first post of this series.

Core values and beliefs –  “Should /  shouldn’t”

Author Interpretation: Is the customer always right? Figure out what your company stands for.  Learning experts say have no more than seven (of anything) if you expect people to remember.

Purpose –  “Why”

Author Interpretation: Just as people search for their sense of purpose, so too does a company. Remember, the word “company” is derived from Latin words meaning “with” and “bread.” These are the people with whom you “break bread,” whether it’s your customers, your team, or other stakeholders. Part of the reason social networking is so successful is because many feel our society has lost the sense of “breaking bread” with one another.

Actions – To Live Values, Purpose, BHAG

Author interpretation: What steps will your company take to actualize the BHAG, Values, and Purpose mentioned above? Assign each of these actions to an individual.

Goals and Targets – (see template for more detail). Examples include revenue, profit

Author interpretation: As my business school finance professor Paul Marshall said, “A business needs to make stuff, and sell stuff.”  This section keeps all directed on this fact. No revenues, no profit, and the party is going to end pretty soon. Project for 1 year, and 3 to 5 years.

KPIs – Smart numbers (up to 3)

Author interpretation: KPI means “Key Performance Indicators.”  Aside from revenue and profit, what metrics or numbers indicate success (or failure?). Consider this a barometer of sorts.  I remember hearing Verne speak at an EO University in Dubai years ago.   He discussed the KPIs of Dell, and how they worked meticulously to not only determine what numbers signalled success or failure for the company, but also the best way to collect those numbers from places like the manufacturing plant. The entire company was a part of the KPI metrics.

Please see the Gazelle’s site for the remainder of this free one page planning template.

Business Water Cooler Wrap Up:

Here are some other resources listed on the Gazelle’s website (some are for purchase, below I list unrestricted links)

Building Your Company’s VisionHarvard Business Press: Jim Collins.

Author comment: Check this out in developing your BHAG.

Top Grading Whitepaper – Case Study: Brittenford Systems on hiring “A player” team members

Author comment: Top Grading is HOT, very HOT. It’s all about people. Top Grading is about getting Top People. If you’ve ever read Jim Collins’ Good To Great, it’s the how to of “getting the right people on the bus.”  Here are some positive comments about how the next generation inherently understands this concept. Here is a summary of Good to Great.

How Fast Can Your Company Afford to Grow – Harvard Business Publishing: Neil Churchill

Author comment: I still give this to my class at the George Washington University School of Business. It is technical, but a good one to begin thinking about growth.

Five Forces Analysis – Michael Porter

Author comment: I loved seeing this classic by Michael Porter on Verne’s site. While some don’t agree with the five forces analysis and think it’s outdated, I actually think it is a GREAT way of 1) Understanding markets and 2) Thinking about what your company should do as a result.

Stay tuned for the “Warrior Growth Exercise” featured in the next part of this series.

More information

Know a Young Entrepreneur? Nominate them here.

The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization promoting the importance of small business and free enterprise to the nation’s youth. More information is available at  The Foundation is associated with the National Federation of Independent Business; NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals.

Entrepreneur In The Classroom. The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom (EITC) supplemental curriculum exposes students to entrepreneurship and the necessary steps to take an idea and turn it into a business. The free curriculum can be integrated into classes teaching a variety of subjects including music, art, fashion, business and many more. You must be registered to view the full Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom curriculum.

Related links:

Follow NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation on Twitter

Follow NFIB on Twitter

Follow blog author Kathy Korman Frey on Twitter


Entry filed under: Business exercises, Business Planning. Tags: , , , .

Top Planning Secrets of Million Dollar Entrepreneurs – Part 1 NFIB and Visa Inc. Announce 2009 ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ Winner Jay Shechtman

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