Blackford Capital’s Annual Operating Plan Review: A Collaborative Approach to Business Success

At Blackford Capital (BFC), the conclusion of our annual review of the operating plans of our portfolio companies marks not just a procedural milestone but a reaffirmation of our core belief: we are better together. This year, as in every year, our two-week process was a vibrant confluence of reports, relationship building, problem-solving, and idea generation. It’s a testament to our commitment to ensuring that the plans for our businesses are not only challenging and realistic but also strategically sound, action-oriented, and collectively supported.

Annual Operating Plan

The annual operating plan (AOP) review is a cornerstone of BFC’s strategic oversight. It’s a rigorous process, but its strength lies not in micromanagement or nitpicking. Instead, we focus on harnessing the collective wisdom of some the best minds in business: our operating partners and managing directors. This collaborative approach is designed to build upon each company’s ideas, creating wins not just for our investors but for all stakeholders involved.

Each AOP is scrutinized to ensure that it strikes the right balance between ambition and feasibility. We believe in setting the bar high to push our portfolio companies towards excellence. However, it’s equally important that these goals are attainable. Unrealistic targets can be demotivating and counterproductive. Our role is to help set a vision that is both aspirational and grounded in reality.

A well-crafted plan is only as good as its execution. During our review process, we delve deep into the strategies proposed by each company. We challenge assumptions, explore alternatives, and refine approaches. This rigorous examination ensures that every plan is backed by a compelling strategy and a clear action plan. Accountability is key, and we work closely with each company to establish clear metrics and milestones.

Supportive & Collaborative

What truly sets our AOP review process apart is the unwavering support from the entire BFC team. This is not a process of passing judgment from on high; it’s a collaborative effort where every voice is valued. We bring together diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise, creating a rich tapestry of insights. This collective approach not only strengthens the plans but also fosters a sense of unity and shared purpose across our portfolio.

Relationship building is at the heart of our review process. We understand that behind every plan are people – the driving force of any business. By investing time in understanding the teams, their challenges, and their aspirations, we build trust and open communication channels. This environment is conducive to effective problem-solving. We tackle issues head-on, working together to find innovative solutions.

Innovation is the lifeblood of business success. Our review process is designed to be a breeding ground for new ideas. By bringing together different viewpoints and encouraging open dialogue, we create an environment where creativity thrives. These brainstorming sessions often lead to breakthroughs that can significantly impact the businesses’ growth trajectories.

Building Momentum

At BFC, our vision extends beyond financial metrics. While investor returns are crucial, we are equally committed to the broader impact of our decisions. Our review process takes into account the wider implications for all stakeholders, including employees, customers, and the communities in which our businesses operate. We strive for a holistic approach to success, one that creates value in multiple dimensions.

As we wrap up this year’s AOP review, we are already looking ahead. The insights gained from this process will not only guide our portfolio companies in the coming year but also inform our own strategies at BFC. Continuous improvement is a core principle, and we are committed to evolving and adapting our processes to meet the ever-changing business landscape.

The annual AOP review process at Blackford Capital is more than just a corporate exercise; it’s a reflection of our ethos. It’s a process that underscores our belief in the power of collaboration, the importance of realistic yet challenging goals, and the value of strategic thinking. As we celebrate the successful conclusion of this year’s review, we are reminded that in the world of business, success is best achieved not in isolation, but through the collective efforts of many.

Paul Doyle Headshot

Paul Doyle is an Operating Partner at Blackford Capital. Paul brings with him more than 30 years of diverse business experience, including 20 years as a CEO leading manufacturing and leadership development companies. He has been active in North America with companies ranging from $20 million to $300 million in revenue

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