Many small businesses fight to stay on and keep up with their day-to-day tasks, letting their future plans go unattended or undeveloped. A key element for expanding family businesses and scaling growth is taking the time to envision, strategize, and plan. Therefore, making the commitment to strategic planning is a fundamental way to work toward year-over-year growth and sustained success. Strategic planning can be simple to initiate with a strategic planning framework.
So, what does strategic planning entail and why is it important to the health of your business? Keep reading to learn more about the top four best practices for developing strategic plans and what simple steps to take and begin your strategic planning.
What is Strategic Planning?
Before we get into tips for building simple strategic plans, let’s first become familiar with the strategic planning process definition. At its core, strategic planning is the process of an organization or business formally defining a strategy or direction for the future. In doing so, the initial strategic planning strategies will include making decisions and allocating resources to achieve the targeted goals.
When considering whether or not to tackle your own strategic planning approach, it’s important to know:
- Your strategic planning framework should be designed to keep your business relevant and responsive to your target market or community.
- If you have an advisory board or board of directors in place, strategic planning will allow that board to better understand future goals and implement policies that will guide the organization in carrying out the new strategic initiatives.
To put it into perspective, a few simple strategic planning examples would be … one, increasing client or customer satisfaction through the development of a rewards or a loyalty program; or two, seeking to expand client or service coverage by expansion such as opening a second location.
4 Tips for Developing a Successful and Simple Strategic Plan
Now that you know what strategic planning is and how it can help the future health of your business; let’s talk tips. Here are the top four best practices to keep in mind when developing a successful and simple strategic plan.
1. Conceptualize Your Vision
When learning how to develop a strategy plan, first you must conceptualize or craft your vision. Maybe your goal is a personal vision you’ve had for quite some time. Or, maybe it will take some in-depth research or performing a market analysis on your industry’s future. When you have a long-term vision, you then can map out short-term goals that will help you work towards that end achievement. As a C-suite level executive, to help think of a vision you can turn into a simple strategic plan it helps to think like an outsider to gain insights that are more impartial.
2. Build a Team
To complete an effective strategic planning framework, you will be well-served to use an “all hands on deck” approach with your leadership team. For some companies or organizations, it may take re-thinking the structure of their business altogether. For example, if you are looking to expand, does it make sense to move towards building regional manager positions versus one centralized management structure? When you involve your key people at the start, you will increase your chances for success when working toward each goal along the way.
If you’re a new C-suite executive or CEO, assess whether your business needs or is ready for a restructuring change. It’s important to create confidence across the organization and to build a strong culture with your leadership team. Setting the right tone through strategic planning will enhance your company’s values, create more confidence with your employees, and give your business more opportunities for success.
3. Develop a Step-by-Step Plan
With vision, goals, and a team strategic planning approach in place, it’s time to focus on the details. The details include developing step-by-step plans to achieve target goals that work toward achieving your long-term vision. For some businesses, a strategy map will provide a visual of cause-and-effect connections and that show how objectives help chart the way. A map is also a helpful tool for those who learn visually and for when you communicate your strategic planning framework to your employees, your governance boards, or your external audiences.
4. Analyze Progress
As you finalize your company’s strategic plan, you should consider how you will assess progress and manage the plan’s progress over time. Focus on what key performance indicators (KPIs) are in place for reporting or tracking work towards each goal. When you take the time to both identify and collect these important metrics, you will have an effective way to be accountable to your strategic plan. The ultimate objective of strategic planning is to achieve success in execution and success with your business’s future.
The Bottom Line: How to Develop a Strategy Plan
If your business needs help figuring out how to develop a strategy plan that works for your unique goals, consider partnering with Double Iron Consulting. Like so many other aspects of running a business, sometimes it takes an assist from an outside partner to put a plan in place and to keep a plan on track toward overall growth.
At Double Iron, our experts know how to conduct a strategic planning session to get you started on the right foot. We will stand by your side to ensure each step in the strategic planning process goes smoothly and successfully. Get in touch to begin building your own unique strategic planning framework.