Home Industry Strategy Telstra analysis: Business planning a recipe for success

A big part of the key to their success for many Australian small to medium sized businesses is the establishment of a comprehensive business plan, according to analysis of entrant companies in Telstra’s Australian Business Awards.

Telstra’s survey of entrants in its 2012 award found that of nearly 700 of Australia’s top small and medium sized businesses most had a comprehensive business plan and 90 per cent had a five to 10 year strategy.

According to Telstra, assessment of the 2012 entrants revealed that a key to success included establishing comprehensive business plans with a clear vision and mission statement, financial and budgeting plans, planned products, marketing strategies and a detailed SWOT and competitor analysis.

Irving said, the awards were established 21 years ago to celebrate the achievements of leading small and medium businesses and to encourage strategic planning for business growth, and by offering the Business Health Check, Telstra hoped to give each entrant “more opportunity to grow their business by identifying areas for improvement.”

According to Irving, awards winners say the Business Health Check is a major benefit for the start-up, micro, small, medium and regional businesses that enter the five awards categories.

The NSW Business Chamber analysed the performance of the 2012 Telstra awards entrants across sales and marketing, customers, employees, planning and performance and financials, and found that:

•    Most entrants indicated sound judgment in covering contingencies in online activities with regard to secure passwords, antivirus software, unidentified emails and offsite back-up of data

•    Every entrant maintained and used some form of customer database, up from 90 per cent in 2011

•    Eighty-nine percent (89%) previewed supplier performance in the past year and gained major benefits ranging from better customer service, reduced costs, increased reliability and better quality products

•    Entrants nominated referral marketing as their best-performing marketing activity in 2012 followed by face-to-face, website and social media, with telemarketing among the lowest performing activities

•    Fifty-seven percent (57%) have a clearly documented business plan for the next 12 months, and

•    Seventy-six percent (76%) have all or most of their business processes documented and 21 per cent have some documented.


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Peter Dinham


Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).