Many companies fail to reach their full potential simply because of a lack of direction. Entrepreneurs get distracted by catchy short-term projects that yield very little long-term benefit to the business. Whether you recently started a business or carved out a place for yourself in the market a long time ago, certain management tools should not be overlooked in order to optimize your performance. The strategic plan is one of the essential resources that will allow you to guide your business in the right direction.
This type of plan will help you find concrete goals and establish a list of beneficial priorities, allowing you to prepare for change and build a strong and united team.
What is a strategic plan?
A strategic plan is a detailed and clear roadmap of the desired direction for your business in the medium to long term that results from the strategic planning process. This management tool is used to identify the gaps between the company’s current situation and the desired future situation, as well as the concrete means to be taken to achieve your vision.
A successful strategic plan is realistic, simple and allows you to understand at a glance the direction you want your business to take as well as how to go about it. This tool gives you the opportunity to list your priorities, your ideas, your business objectives, as well as to empower and unite the team. The strategic plan does not need to be dusted off once a year: it is an ongoing instrument, in motion, which should be consulted regularly. Strategic planning is an effective way to help align your team and hone your decision-making so you can better respond to the unexpected and improve as a constantly growing company.
In the past, the strategic plan focused on the next 3 to 5 years. On the other hand, with the speed at which the markets evolve nowadays, we recommend that you focus on a strategic plan that covers 2 to 3 years maximum. We also recommend a strategic reflection between each year, to ensure that the company is in good shape.
Your strategic plan in 5 easy steps
1. Bring the team together to discuss the business
To implement sustainable development within your company, you must find solutions as a group and start from the base. When developing a strategic plan, it is essential that you consult with your colleagues, as they are the target audience for this reference document.
Surround yourself with key employees and engage in brainstorming. It is essential to the strategic planning process to define the mission, vision and values of your company. Unity and mobilization are found in the community: mobilize your team around your strategic plan and you will come out a winner.
2. Analyze your current situation
After gathering the impressions and suggestions of your team and some key colleagues, it is now time to take stock of the current situation.
At this stage, it is wise to state:
previous accomplishments of your business;
Products or services offered;
Your specific skills;
Sales trends of recent years;
Of the current key performance indicator.
It’s all about offering insight into your business and asking yourself the question: where are we?
3. Analyze your internal and external environment
It is necessary to analyze the components that led you to where you are today.
It is about strategically studying:
Your business structure;
The obstacles to the implementation of your future strategic plan
Several tools exist to help you navigate these big questions like:
The PESTEL analysis diagram;
Porter’s five forces;
The latter allows you to better think about your strategic plan according to different data, namely your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Thus, both internal and external factors of your business; positives and negatives are evaluated. The SWOT analysis is a favorable tool to study your competition, the appearance of potential markets, the laws that govern your sector and possible trends.
4. Determine your desired future situation
After taking stock of your business and the external influencing factors, it’s time to think about the future. What achievable goals according to the current market and your resources do you want to achieve?
Clearly state your vision, plans and aspirations. This step involves taking a step back from your day-to-day processes and returning; once again, to the direction you want your business and its priorities to be. It’s time to think about the “Big Picture “, and then break it down into achievable ways in the next step.
5. Determine your action plan
The last section concerns, finally, the strategic plan, or the process to make your vision a reality.
The latter describes in detail how your company will move from its current situation to the one imagined earlier. How, specifically, will you achieve the set objectives?
Think about initiatives that will allow you to succeed in a sustainable and profitable way. This part can include a timeline and give you the opportunity to assign each task to an employee: the strategic plan must be as concise and clear as possible. The steps for each of your strategies should be easy and simple.
You now have the keys to a predictable evolution. Contact our best business planner team to start creating your strategic plan!