Most companies start out small as one-man operations, or with just a few employees. In this stage of a business you (the owner) are doing most of the work. As your company grows, however, you add more employees, more customers and an ever-growing list of priorities. The demands from your team and the hours you work covering the marketing, bookkeeping, payroll, customer service, and everything else can seem never ending.
You end up working long days, with no end in sight. The more successful your business, the larger the pile of priorities becomes until it becomes a mountain that seems impossible to conquer.
When starting out, it is easy to make decisions only as problems arise, tackling each obstacle one at a time and then moving on to the next. Growing businesses, however, soon find they have far too many priorities to develop individual solutions to recurring problems. Successful Entrepreneurs recognize that they need a plan to address all these changes, identifying growth challenges and obstacles even before they occur and developing solutions to problems beforehand.
This plan becomes the blueprint for your business, helping you plan for and anticipate growth, establish budgets for future expansion, and guide you as to when you need to add new equipment, additional personnel, and identify the skills those people will need to help your company grow and expand into the future. This is the basis for Strategic Planning?
What is Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals and establish agreement around intended outcomes. The process assesses and adjusts the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment. It is a disciplined effort that produces fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, who it serves, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future. Effective strategic planning articulates where an organization is going and the actions needed to make progress, and how it will know if it is successful.
What is a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan is a document used to communicate with all employees and stakeholders the organizations goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals and all the other critical elements developed during the planning exercise.
What Are the Steps in Strategic Planning & Management?
There are many different frameworks and methodologies for strategic planning and management. While there are no absolute rules regarding the right framework for your company, most follow a similar pattern and have common attributes. We begin with some very basic phases:
- Analysis or assessment, where an understanding of the current internal and external environments is developed.
- Strategy formulation, where high level strategy is developed and a basic organization level strategic plan is documented.
- Strategy execution, where the high-level plan is translated into more operational planning and action items.
- Evaluation review and revise, where ongoing refinement and evaluation of performance, culture, communications, data reporting, and other strategic management issues occurs.
What is the value of a Strategic Plan?
In growing organizations, it is easy for employees to be working from a blueprint that they have created based on where they think the company is, or should be, moving as an organization. An easy analogy would be trying to build a home where you merely gave each person a picture of a house and told each of them to do what needed to be done to get it built. A strategic plan is the detailed blueprint that helps everyone stay focused and working toward a common goal. The plan defines where you are, what the next moves will be, and how the finished product should look.
Fail to Plan – Plan to Fail
Failing to give your employees the direction that they need is a recipe for Chaos. Great companies know the direction they are headed and the goals they want to achieve. Looking to revolutionize your company, and turbo-charge your sales and profits in 2017, start with a great plan!
Scott Murray helps small businesses succeed by building plans and systems that revolutionize productivity, sales, profits, and increase customer service. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.