Strategic planning is more than just a guideline for your business’ future. It is essentially a blueprint that identifies goals, sets priorities, and establishes the direction that your company should go in for long-term success. Without a strategic plan in place, you are more likely to experience disruptions in performance as you jump from one objective to the next without any real plan in mind.
Strategic planning should not be confused with a business plan, which is a more comprehensive document that includes information pertaining to finances, marketing, and operations. A strategic plan is more actionable with specific objectives, due dates, and clearly defined responsibilities and key players.
Why Is Strategic Planning Important?
Strategic planning is important for businesses in all industries and for good reason. A solid strategic plan can provide a company with direction by outlining measurable goals that can be realistically achieved in specific time limits. Creating a strategic plan also allows everyone within an organization the chance to partake in the future of the business. This can encourage open communication, creativity, and the use of effective solutions to resolve challenges and disputes.
When developing your strategic plan, you will want to address some very important questions. These include:
1. What Is Our Purpose?
When considering the purpose of your company, think about your mission. Your mission should explain what your business is, why it exists, and the reason it was created. It may also define who your target audience is and what types of products or services you create.
When developing this part of your strategic plan, you will want to focus on all aspects of your business, such as the quality of your services, pricing, technology, marketplace position, and your relationship with employees, customers, suppliers, and your competitors. When you really know your purpose and your place in the industry, you can better plan for your future.
2. What Do We Want to Achieve?
Next, think about the vision of your company. What do you want your business to achieve? Your vision should include where your company aspires to be after achieving your mission. Your vision should be written with a long-term perspective in mind. Unlike a mission which defines what a business is currently doing, a vision reflects the ultimate goal that a company would like to reach.
As you consider what you want to achieve, try to be concise with specific objectives that you can realistically meet in the future. When writing your vision, ask yourself what type of impact you want your brand to have on the community or even the world, and how you want your brand to interact with clients or customers.
3. How Are We Going to Get There?
The next step is to figure out how to execute your plan. Even the best planned strategic plans will fail if you do not execute them properly. To successfully implement your strategic plan, you need to get people focused on what they need to accomplish without causing burnout.
Instead or providing your employees with a long list of to-dos, focus on just a few important goals and assign tasks to each key player. When responsibilities and desired results are clear from the start, employees are better equipped to tackle these jobs. This type of planning also puts you in a better position to measure results.
Benefits of Continual Plan Evaluation
It is not only important to develop a strategic plan, but you also need to continually evaluate its progress to ensure that you remain on the right track. Modern organization leaders must be vigilant in reviewing performance and adapting to change. New trends, changes in technology, and other factors can impact a strategic plan. When these changes occur, it is important to modify your plan to avoid disruptions in your business and to ensure that your goals can still be met by the specified due dates.
While it may be necessary to shift some objectives or goals, it is important not to lose sight of your overall strategy. By making too many changes to your original strategic plan, it is easy to lose sight of your mission and vision. Accessing your strategic plan should include an evaluation of performance, a critique of operations, and a look at how your competitors are evolving over time. Also determine if any new opportunities have presented that you may want to pursue.
Learn More About Strategic Planning
Think of strategic planning as a road map to your business’ ultimate success. It can help you determine who you are, where you want to be, and how to get there. A strategic plan can also bring the key players of an organization together to form a more cohesive team environment. For more information about strategic planning and organizational development, contact the Strategy Consultant Brian Cute at The Eastham Group.