Do you have a strategic plan for growing your business? You may have an idea of the direction you want to take your business, but have not thought about formalizing it on paper. Thus, a strategic growth plan is essential, regardless of your business size or its products or services.
What is a Strategic Plan?
In the same way that following a great recipe makes a great meal, having a great strategic plan provides you with a clear path to accomplishing key business goals.
A strategic plan’s function is to declare the purpose of your business, the goals you hope to achieve over a five-year period, and how you plan to get there. The key to doing this is working out the details. Try a “what and how” exercise: What does the business want to accomplish in five years and how will it achieve those goals?
There are also several other ways to analyze the business in order to determine attainable goals. Completing a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) is one example. Beyond identifying the SWOT, use your company’s strengths to capture opportunities, mitigate threats and overcome weaknesses by helping to change the path of your business.
In addition to goal setting, a strategic plan also provides an opportunity for your business to assess its current operations and explore future possibilities. By knowing “where it is”, the company has a benchmark to move forward from. The process of strategic planning can then assist you in looking outside of daily operations to find new areas that are ripe for growth.
Reasons for Having a Strategic Plan
A precise and well researched strategic plan is the blueprint for your company’s growth. When a business functions well and avoids or neutralizes competition, it is able to expand without limits.
Having a clearly stated mission will allow your company to move forward efficiently, with a concerted effort in reaching your goals. Understanding your business opportunities and threats will allow your employees to focus on searching for new, relevant outlets for products or services. And by allowing your employees time and resources to contribute their part to the overall success of the company, you will motivate and inspire your workforce as well as receive the rewards of their efforts.
The Best Timing for a Strategic Plan
Although strategic planning is typically done during the growth stage of your business, there can be other influences on your business where planning is critical. For example, if your company is anticipating succession or any other significant change, strategic planning can mean the difference between a smooth transition and a complete loss of direction. This disruption can cause the loss of employees and productivity, and may incur financial losses for your business, if it has not been planned for fully.
A clearly written and easy-to-follow strategic plan will keep your business on track throughout any expected or unexpected changes that may affect you. The plan creates an organized flow of work while minimizing losses due to confusion.
Most importantly, once your strategic plan is in place, you do not have to struggle in finding future success–the pathway to success is already mapped out
Small Business BC – 09/07/2011 – Sandy Huang