Fewer Australian companies are setting goals for their businesses this year compared to earlier ones, according to a recent study from RSM Bird Cameron.
The study tracked the changes in operations of Australian SMEs, with particular focus on the strategy execution tactics these companies are employing.
Across the board, the survey found that the number of plans in place from businesses is dropping. In 2014, only 64 per cent of respondents set business goals, compared to a high of 91 per cent in 2011.
Similar findings came from other aspects of the survey, with only 49 per cent having a management plan and 53 per cent having a marketing strategy in place. Both of these numbers are considerably down on previous years which have recorded much higher levels of reporting from companies.
In this year's survey, a considerable 33 per cent reported that they do not have a business plan at all, with this number mostly made up of very small start-ups and companies with only a few employees.
The good news to come out of the survey is that many businesses are undertaking regular business planning. Almost half (49 per cent) are completing one every year, with this number rising with the number of employees. In fact, 95 per cent of companies with 50-99 employees have a strategic document in place to track these changes with 77 per cent completing this process annually.
RSM Bird Cameron also suggested that there was a clear performance gap between companies that take the time to create this plan, compared to those that don't. Companies with a strong plan in place were found to be more successful than their competition who have not put plans in place.
The survey also reported that many companies are turning away from large planning documents and instead preferring to use simplified, often one-page, descriptions for how their business is tracking. This allows information to be presented much more succinctly and sets the right tone for the company when moving forward.