The situation of your company today is the result of decisions made in the past. What you decide to do (or not do) today determines where your business will be tomorrow.
Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. It may also extend to control mechanisms for guiding the implementation of the strategy. Strategic planning is an important aspect of strategic management. It is executed by strategic planners or strategists, who work with clients to ascertain the best way forward to maximise the ROI and leave the competition behind.
Effective Strategic Planning leads to better, smarter business decisions. You need a clear, well thought-out plan to drive long term growth. Our practical Strategic Planning process is specifically tailored for small business.
Strategic Planning for Small Business The situation of your company today is the result of decisions made in the past. What you decide to do (or not do) today determines where your business will be tomorrow.
The purpose of Strategic Planning is to define the vision, set targets, and decide in which markets the company will be active, and which markets will not be pursued.
Effective, open-minded Strategic Planning that honestly explores all strategic options can give your company a real edge over the competition.
Strategic Planning is about ‘brains’ over ‘brawn’, making better informed, smarter business decisions based on sound market data. It involves carefully examining the current state of your business, what’s working and what isn’t, understanding markets, customers, competitors and trends that may impact your business.
Given the importance and the impact of Strategic Planning on long term growth, the company’s executives should consider strategy development as one of their main priorities.
Strategic Planning is not just for large companies with deep pockets. In particular, smaller companies can benefit from Strategic Planning. Small companies don’t have any resources to waste and need to be smart about which opportunities to pursue and which ones to ignore.
However, small company managers are typically not that well versed in conducting a formal Strategic Planning process. This means that small companies need to rely on external expertise, strategic planning consultants to guide them through the Strategic Planning process.
Our Strategic Planning process is practical, effective and results-oriented. It is very well suited for smaller companies with limited time and resources that want results fast.
Our practical approach to Strategic Planning is aimed at rapidly developing an understanding of the state of your business, identifying and evaluating your options, making rational decisions, and then taking the appropriate action.
The Strategic Planning process develops answers to the key questions that are fundamental to the future of your business:
- What are the best growth opportunities?
- Which markets should we be in?
- Which markets should we not be in?
- How can we beat or avoid the competition?
- What will the future look like?
- Which trends will impact our business?
- Which threats do we need to think about?
- How can we accomplish our goals?
We avoid getting stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’ and vague discussions about Mission, Vision, and Values. In our practical Strategic Planning process we cover topics such as:
- Core competencies
- Industry and market dynamics
- Market opportunities
- Customer wants and needs
- Target markets
- Scenario planning
- Risk mitigation
- Action plan
- Resources required
- Budget and timeline
- Accountability and authority
In the end, the process leads to rational, fact based, strategic decision making based on a sound understanding of the marketplace and the best growth opportunities for your company.
To develop good strategy you need sound market intelligence, robust analysis, objectivity and the courage to make decisions based on incomplete information. What you don’t need are endless academic analyses that go far deeper than necessary and endless ‘what-if’ studies. We keep it simple and results oriented.
That said, keep in mind that Strategic Planning is a process, not an event. It’s important to take the time to do it right. Rushing through the planning steps and not carefully evaluating the strategic options puts everything in jeopardy.
The tangible deliverable of the Strategic Planning process is a highly actionable plan with clearly stated goals and their rationale, action items, time lines, budgets, as well as roles and responsibilities. The action plan is not a fancy document that ends up collecting dust on the bookshelf, but it’s your company’s play book, ready to be executed.
Results you can expect from the planning process:
- Well defined long term goals
- You’ll know what’s important and what isn’t
- Target markets and your best customers
- How to improve your competitive position
- Better use of company resources
- Clarity about priorities
- A clear action plan for implementation
- More innovation
- No more ‘idea of the month’
- Less crisis management
- You’ll be prepared for the future
- Peace of mind, knowing where you’re headed
Are you looking for new ways to grow your small business? Our practical approach to Strategic Planning can help.
Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your goals and objectives and to find out more about how we work.
JFK: Most Famous Strategic Plan: “We will put a man on the moon before this decade is out”
The long-term aim was very clearly set “put a man on the moon”. The timeline was also very clearly set “by the end of this decade”. The problem was at the time of the strategy statement, the rockets were not manned and were exploding on take off at a rate of 3 in 5.
So the scientists, engineers and planners, had to work back from the end goal and create a strategic plan of what needed to be developed and tested. The placement of a man on the moon required 3 people; 2 on the moon lander “the Eagle”, whilst one remained in the orbiter going around the moon.
They needed a multi-stage rocket with sufficient power to carry the astronauts, the lander and the module that was required to return to earth. Therefore they had to develop the Saturn5 Rockets.
Prior to the Saturn 5 rockets, they needed to have a 2 man rocket so they could lift off with 2 people and allow them to test other extravehicular activities, hence the Gemini project.
Prior to Gemini, the rockets had to become a lot more stable and stop exploding on take off.
This approach to setting the end goal, creating the steps from the end point backward to the starting point is what almost guarantees the delivery of the end point. It also sets the strategic plan apart from the business plan. A business plan is a wish list of where you would like to be; a strategic plan is where you will be if you implement the steps in order.