Creating a strategic business plan is a vital annual step for your organization. As you go through the process, you’ll have goals you want to achieve and important decisions to ponder. In this quarter’s column, I’ll walk you through the key components of creating your 2020 strategic business plan.
WHY HAVE A STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLAN?
Zig Ziglar, one of my all-time favorite writers and speakers, said, “You can start where you are with what you’ve got and go to wherever it is you want to go.”
You’ve already got an organization. Your strategic business plan is a road map for everyone on your team to follow. It ensures you’re all focused on the same destination point.
A strategic plan allows you to be proactive in controlling your business, instead of reactive. It articulates your goals, how you’re going to achieve them, and directs your company’s actions. It will help you establish and measure the success of your business.
EVALUATE YOUR BUSINESS
When spearheading your company's strategic planning process, it’s important to start with a thoughtful evaluation of where and who you are, where and what you want to be, and what you need to do. You don’t need to conquer this alone; consider networking with contractors outside your service area for ideas and best practices.
Are you ready to take your business to the next level? If not, that’s okay – perhaps you first need to patch up holes in your current processes. That’s perfectly normal. You don’t have to grow in revenue to create your strategic business plan. Know yourself. Know your weaknesses. Know what you need to improve.
You shouldn’t try to outgrow your current revenue projections if your business isn’t profitable. Bottom line: You need profits to grow. If you’re finding yourself in a low-to-no profit situation, you still need to plan for how you will get out of that hole.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
Think about your goals for your business. If you want to be successful, write them down. Writing your goals out helps you see if they are:
The very act of writing your goals down also helps you make a commitment to them. Set your goals however you like – you can establish short-term goals for a week, month, quarter or even a year. You can also set long-term goals for three to five years into the future.
Always start with the end in mind. Where do you want to be in x years? Then think about how you’ll get there. What action steps do you need to take to achieve your goals?
Involving your key employees in the strategic planning process will pay off tenfold. Why?
Because adults don’t like to be told what to do. If you make a strategic business plan and show it to your employees, it’s your plan – they don’t have any reason to care about it. If you include your employees in the planning process – when they contribute their part to building the strategic plan – they become willing participants in carrying out the plan. Your plan becomes the company plan, not just the boss’s plan.
REMEMBER: PLANNING IS A DYNAMIC PROCESS
Your company’s strategic business plan is your road map to achieving your vision, but your company's long-range plan must be understood as dynamic. It reflects beliefs that exist currently, but as these beliefs change, the strategy must change as well.
During the formation of your strategic plan, it’s important to create different options that can be activated based on external conditions, such as the economy, that are out of your control. Monitor external factors and adjust your plan accordingly.
The time to plan is now. You’ll need time to implement all the changes you’re planning before the year starts.
What are you waiting for?