Bruce D. Wyman Company

Since 1988

Providing Strategic Business Planning Services to small businesses and associations, both for- and non-profit, to help them leverage their use of their scarce resources: time, funds, and effort.

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there." *

Why do I need Criteria?

Before launching into the Strategic Business Planning steps of Goals Identification and Strategies Identification, it is important to consider and develop the Criteria by which we will ultimately evaluate each Goal and Strategy. This is an essential step at this point because it will ensure both that we have clearly identified the standards by which we will select Goals and Strategies, and that the standards are applied uniformly during our evaluation of all potential Goals and Strategies.

In many cases, where clearly defined evaluation Criteria are not established beforehand, the application of evaluation Criteria will tend to “wander” or “drift” as the evaluator wends his or her way through a long list of potential Goals and Strategies. At the conclusion of that process, the relative importance applied to each of the evaluation Criteria could be much different than when the evaluations started. This does a particular disservice to the evaluator. Establishing evaluation Criteria at this juncture avoids the problem completely and makes your resultant Strategic Business Plan more coherent and therefore more robust.

You can have as many evaluation Criteria as you desire, but you need to balance the breadth of factors with a simplicity of approach, because we will have to score each of the potential Goals and Strategies on each of those Criteria.

As a starting point, I suggest the following three Criteria:
a) Can you do it?
b) Do you want to do it?
c) What does it cost to do it?

To add definition to these Criteria, you might use the following interpretations:

Can you do it: What is the probability of successfully accomplishing the activity, considering the technical plausibility, management difficulties, complexity, funding and resource requirements, existing knowledge base, etc.? (1 = low; 5 = high)

Do you want to do it: Is the activity suitable, appropriate, and something that your business or association should be doing? (1 = low; 5 = high)

What does it cost to do it: What is the activity’s estimated net advantage of benefit over cost? (1 = low; 5 = high)

An additional aspect of this step is to provide a weighting scheme across the Criteria. This means that you place a value, from 1 to 100, against each of the Criteria to indicate the relative weight you place on each Criterion. Equal weights (be it 30, or 70, or 95) assigned to each Criterion indicates that each Criterion is of equal importance to you. On the other hand, if you assigned one a value of 20, another a value of 40, and another a value of 80, the first Criterion would be half as important as the second, and the third would be four times as important as the first. These weighted Criteria will be used in both the Goals Selection and the Strategies Selection steps of the Strategic Business Planning process.

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