A strategic plan is a valuable tool for all businesses, large and small, that truly want to be considered competition in their marketplace. One of the main benefits of a strategic plan is that it can be implemented for a brand new business, a business experiencing growth that is looking to expand, or a business that has remained steady in performance for a while that wants to make sure it doesn’t start to face possible declines in business or possible stagnation.
If your business has no strategy in place, there is no direction. It’s like trying to assemble a child’s toy with over 200 parts and no instructions. You can probably get the toy put together somewhat to your satisfaction, but it will never look like the one on the box. Without a strategic plan in place, the odds of you hitting your goals will be considerably lower.
This is not to imply that strategic planning is the only thing you should do when running your business, just make sure that it remain an integral part of your business structure. Every major action and decision that is made should be a good fit with the strategic plan that you have in place. Every employee and member of your organization should be aware of the strategies of the company and they should be educated on how to perform their duties in the best possible way to be in alignment with your strategies and goals. Depending on the evolution of your industry, strategic plans need to be re-evaluated from time to time and changed to adapt to current and predicted future market situations.
The basic steps in a strategic business plan include:
- Mission Statement - A mission statement is a brief written statement of the purpose of the company or organization. Ideally, the mission statement will be what guides the actions of all of the employees of the organization. A good example of a mission statement would be Walmart’s mission statement, “To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich people.”
- Define Organizational Goals - Goals help define your organization, give direction and avoid chaos. Goals help motivate employees by communicating what the organization is striving for as well as providing a basis of recognizing accomplishments and successes. Organizations that set goals are more effective and are more adequately prepared when market situations change or competition has increased. – Part of this step is an analysis of your company against other similar companies and your industry as a whole. We will then identify the strengths of your current organizational setup and strategies, analyze any weaknesses, whether internal or in relation to your competition, identify any opportunities that are available to your organization that might be worth considering and help evaluate any threats your company faces from outside competitors, economic circumstances and any other relevant factors that might possibly affect your operations in the future. With experience dealing in most industries, we can help you to identify specific goals that successful business owners in your industry use to gauge their company’s performance.
- Create Strategies to Reach Each Goal – This is where you plan the approach necessary to reach the goals your organization has decided to adopt. This is the part of the plan that may change the most, since you may decide on one course of action to achieve a particular goal, and decide halfway through that you know a quicker, or more efficient route. – We will help you develop checkpoints along the way that will help you gauge your performance and progress toward the particular goals, which will aid you in your decision as to what is working and what needs to be adjusted.
- Develop an Action Plan to Implement Strategy – An action plan details the specific activities that will be undertaken in order to implement the strategies of the organization. For example, for a restaurant, a goal might be to only have a 2% seafood spoilage rate. To achieve this, specific actions will need to be taken by members of different parts of the crew to ensure that this goal is hit. These actions might include the kitchen promoting the seafood through nightly specials and making sure that every server specifically mentions the seafood specials to every table so there is a greater likelihood of seafood being ordered, which will cause more seafood to be used and less to end up being thrown away. If every department is not on the same page, it will be very difficult to reach a common goal. – We will assist you in developing an action plan or plans that will enable you and your employees to work towards a common goal every step of the way.
- Monitoring of the Strategic Plan Implementation – This is the stage where most strategic plans fail. If the results of all of the above steps are not being monitored to make sure that they align with the overall goals of the company as well as the mission statement of the company, then all of the time spent to this point has been a total waste. You must set a time to regularly review the fruits of everyone’s efforts to make sure that they are doing what the company needs done and all heading toward a common goal. – We will review monthly/quarterly, whatever makes the most sense for your business to make sure that your efforts have not been wasted. We are very interested in the success of your business, since we know that if we can help you grow, you will be more likely to recommend us to colleagues and other business owners if we actually help you accomplish the goals that are important to you. Benchmarks will be included when reviewing your financial statements to make sure that the organization is constantly moving in the desired direction.