HBA Business Spotlight: Thoroughbred Strategic Services

By JOHNNY CARCIOPPOLO / Community Columnist

Thoroughbred Strategic Services is a Helena-based company with the mission of helping small local companies to develop, execute and measure the effectiveness of their business strategies.

Services include the design of mission, vision and core values statements; development of business plans; identification of strategic objectives and the tasks and initiatives that will move the company toward them; and providing a means of measuring progress via a tool known as the balanced scorecard (BSC).

BSC is a strategic planning and management system that organizations use to:

  • Communicate what they are trying to accomplish
  • Align the day-to-day work that everyone is doing with strategy
  • Prioritize projects, products, and services
  • Measure and monitor progress towards strategic targets

The system connects the dots between a company’s big picture strategy elements such as mission (its purpose), vision (what it aspires to), core values (what it believes in), strategic focus areas (customers, financial results, etc.) and the more operational elements such as objectives (long-term goals), measures (which track strategic performance), targets (its desired level of performance), and initiatives (projects that help it reach its targets).

Thoroughbred Strategic Services owner and principal consultant Bob Van Loan has taken the BSC approach and adapted it to the locally owned storefront and home-based business environment by making it simpler to use while avoiding the expensive software and training costs involved with using a platform such as Oracle Scorecard. The principles are the same, but the implementation and execution are far easier and require less hands-on by management.

Van Loan has been a BSC practitioner since 2004. He was a key member of the BSC implementation teams for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Symantec, Raytheon Canada, PNC Bank and the USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service. He has consulted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock, DHL, Transport Canada and Toyota Financial Services. Locally, the last two companies that he assisted won the Helena Business Association’s competition for the coveted help of the Samford University Brock School of Business Graduate Management Program in developing their strategic marketing plans. Van Loan can be reached at bob75137@aol.com or by phone at 972-897-4919.