Strategic planning is quite easy if you have a model to follow. The problem most entrepreneurs have is determining which model is right for them. Depending on the type of strategy you are seeking to develop, the industry of your business, the necessity or urgency of the plan, and the resources available to complete a thorough plan – one can become overwhelmed with selecting a simple, yet comprehensive model.
The model above provides some practical building blocks that are also required for stringent audit in the development of a business plan.
Exactly what is the ‘why’ for the business or plan? What type of problem are you trying to solve? Who is going to be impacted by the plan? What benefit does this bring to the overall operations of your organization? Before you can even think about the plan, a well-thought-out purpose needs to be developed.
Most would think that this only applies to the corporate vision…nope, even with strategic plans, there should be a vision or goal. Without a vision, you cannot align your plan and developmental steps to achieve the desired success or outcome. Also, a good thing to remember is that your vision can (and most likely) will change once you develop the remaining steps of this plan. Guess what…it’s okay!
Yep, you won’t get away without some sort of data analysis. But, one thing that I always stress to entrepreneurs is that you need to understand your market. Without a clear understanding of the external factors that can affect your business and future plans you are developing, you are in essence setting yourself up for failure. Also, you could be missing out on a great opportunity to capitalize on an untapped segment of the market.
Everyone knows what a SWOT analysis is and you should complete one. You can’t however, complete this before you conduct a market analysis and better yet any other step prior. A strong SWOT analysis requires a clear understanding of both internal and external factors as well as market opportunities.
Now you’re thinking, the fun has begun…actually this will probably be the most arduous part of development. At this point, the action plans are the steps that you will lay out for each stakeholder, department, key personnel and employee to attain your overall goal. This will require coordinated meetings and design sessions to make sure that all touchpoints are included and current processes/procedures are incorporated for maximum results. If you are a startup, then you just caught a break because you can start from scratch.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
The one step that is almost always left off when strategies are developed. Setting milestones and targets is essential for continued monitoring and adjustment. Even though the plan on paper may look great, once it is put into action, there are so many factors that will alter the expected results. Without metrics to determine if realignment is required or a complete halt of the process, you can keep a plan in place that is detrimental to the organization.
So there you have it, an easy way to start developing your strategic plans…right? Well, I would think so and I have used this with my own company and clients. If you are struggling to make it through, seek some help. At any stage of your business operations, strategic plans should always be incorporated and remain fluid to change with the flow of your business and the markets!
Sheena Morgan is the owner of LENGO a business consultancy suite specializing in business asset development and competitive market plan design. http://www.lengo.us