As business climates become even more competitive, small and large businesses alike need to adapt by creating powerful strategic plans that will help them attract business and grow. If you want your business to thrive and remain relevant instead of merely surviving, you’ll need to take some time to create and follow one of these vital road maps.
What is a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan is a document that outlines your business’s long-term goals and your strategy for achieving them. Your business plan is probably your company’s first strategic plan, but it must be continually updated to stay relevant.
Many strategic plans work off of five-year increments, but some can reach out as far as 20 years. When you create a vision for your company’s future, you have the opportunity to break it down into shorter-term goals that will get you to the finish line.
Basic Steps for Business Strategic Planning
Many business owners have a plan in their head and believe that it is sufficient to drive the direction of their business. It generally isn’t. Your strategic plan creates clarity for yourself, your staff, business partners, and even clients. When you’re ready to get the strategic planning process underway, here some basic steps you can follow:
1. Involve the Right People
Business owners are often reluctant to share some information, but this shouldn’t be the case with your strategic plan. Be sure to involve the right group of people who will bring you the most valuable information and help you achieve your business goals.
2. Gather Your Data
Before you put anything on paper, take stock of your business by gathering as much data as possible. Complete a SWOT analysis to identify your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as well as those in your industry and the economy at large.
3. Set Long-Range Goals
Now that you have some information at your fingertips, it’s time to think about where you’d like your business to be in 5, 10, or 20 years. Do you want to open new locations? Add new products or services? Shift your business focus? Hire new people? These goals will be the focus of your strategic planning in the next step.
4. Develop a Plan to Get There
Once you’ve established where you’d like to end up, the next step is creating a strategic plan to get you there. You can do this by working backwards from your planned outcome and identifying the best pathway to achieve success. If you want to launch a new product line in five years, where will you need to be at the end of year four, three, and so on?
5. Identify Some Measurable Results
As you develop your strategic plan, make sure you create goals that are measurable and specific. Select the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll use to measure and track each goal.
Making Your Strategic Plan Work
Getting your plan on paper is an excellent first step, but you’ll want to closely monitor your progress and make adjustments when necessary. Market and industry trends can impact even the best-laid plans.
It’s always beneficial to have someone with experience in your corner that can lend a fresh eye and perspective on the planning process. At Orcutt & Company, we focus on helping small to medium-sized businesses identify and achieve their goals with our range of business solutions. Contact us to learn more about how we can help with yours.