Updated: Jan 3, 2021
There is a famous quote “A goal without a plan is just a wish” that many people live by when they are motivating themselves to achieve a goal. After all, it is true. A goal can only ever really be achieved when hard work, time, sometimes money, and structure are put into place. However, more importantly, there is one element that can really help a company achieve its goal of growth, and that is through strategic planning. So, what is strategic planning, and how can it help you?
Understanding the basics of strategic planning
Before we dive into a more in-depth look at how strategic planning can help you, it is vital to first understand to basics. Strategic planning is a systematic process of envisioning a future desire or goal and defining a strategy that works for an individual company or organisation to help them achieve it. In this case, it will be to experience growth within your business. This will involve making decisions on important aspects like expenses allocation. It is in the strategic planning process that their future vision is divided into manageable chunks or desirable goals, often a step by step sequence of how they will get from A to B over a period of time.
How is strategic planning different from just long-term planning?
So isn’t strategic planning just the same as long-term planning? The short answer to that: No. Long-term planning is all about setting up the process for how the strategic plan will be achieved and so is usually given a time-frame, on average of around five years. But this will depend on the company’s vision and what they want to achieve. It could be longer; it could be shorter. While both are important to get right, it is also crucial that you don’t confuse the two.
How can strategic planning help your business?
When you are interested in growing your business, there are several important steps that you need to take. One of these is defining your goals, and that cannot happen without strategic planning. It is at this stage that you can establish exactly:
What it is that you are missing within your company, such as a lack of team productivity
What is it you want, like building up lead generations and increased revenue
What it is that you need to achieve, such as better customer engagement
All this and more could be harming your current growth plans, and without defining these in the strategic planning stage, you could be working hard simply to see no results. Only by putting strategic planning in place can you secure your chances of experiencing the growth you have always dreamed of. It is as simple as that. However, it also benefits you in other ways, including:
Providing clear communication within the entire company
Defining your overall business mission, which will help establish yourself as a trusted business
Aligning goals across the business
Now that you understand what strategic planning is and why you need it, it is time to look at how you can make the most of it.
Forming your strategic plan: What to include?
As strategic planning helps in you achieving your goal, it makes sense that when it comes to forming and creating your own strategic plan that you do precisely that: strategically plan. You will want to break this down into a step by step process.
Step one: You need to understand the current situation of your business fully. This means looking at everything from how productive your staff are to how customer engagement is, even down to how your expenses have played out year on year. You need to be realistic. Think about your overall business mission statement, are you still abiding by that, or is it not working anymore? There is no point in pretending that something is working when it isn’t. Carrying out an extensive business audit, looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is the essential starting point.
Step two: Where do you want to take your business? From your audit, you will know exactly which areas of your business need the most improvement. Now form these into goals! Link any and all factors that link to each other at this stage (this is important for creating not just a strategic plan but an effective one).
Step three: What do you need in order to achieve this? Form strategies on how you will achieve each goal. This can often be hard to do by yourself, so don’t be afraid to turn to help. The internet is a fantastic resource to discover how to implement strategies. However, you could even turn to professionals for help. Business coaches exist to help you when you need it the most.
Step four: Assess your plan. Go back through and make changes, add, develop, and remove sections that you don’t think are relevant on a second look.
Step five: Implement the plan. Once you have formed the plan and gone back through it, even asked the opinion of professionals, now is the time to start putting it into place. Then once you are up and running, you will need to ensure that you are monitoring the process!
Never struggle again
The important thing when forming your unique strategy is that it needs to work for you. However, don’t struggle by yourself. In order to form your own strategic planning template, consider the different strategic planning examples that already exist. The above is just one example of how to form your plan, but there are plenty of others out there.
Does strategic planning goals only work for growth?
Your goal might be to have business locations in 3 other countries in 5 years, but strategic planning works for a number of different goals, not just growth. Therefore, once you have applied the strategic planning process to one example, you will be able to implement it for others. As an example, your next vision for your company might be to achieve sustainability. By already understanding the process of the above, you will find that it is easier to achieve many other business goals.
If you have any more questions about how to put your strategic plan in place, or would like to see how we can help, feel free to get in touch with us today.