Every business needs a strategy to see itself into the future, no matter whether it is a small start up or a thriving corporation. Strategic planning helps businesses to determine their goals for the next year or longer. (Most businesses opt for a 3 to 5 year plan.) It also helps to lay out the specific steps the company plans to take to reach its goals.
Have a Vision
Before you begin your strategic planning sessions, you and your business must have a cohesive vision for your company in the present and in the future. Create a concise mission or vision statement that describes your business’s overall purpose. Once you have determined your company’s raison d’etre, outline where you see yourself within a year, three years, five years, and possibly further than that. (Some companies will do 10 or 20 year plans.) Once you’ve got your goals in place, you can begin strategizing.
Strategies to Use
The way you go about strategically planning your business’s future will depend on a number of factors, including how you operate as a leader, your company’s culture, the size of your company, the skills of your company’s other leadership, et cetera. Most strategic planning models fall into a mix of goal-based, issue-based, scenario-based and organic strategies. As we have mentioned, usually business leadership will come up with goals that focus on the company’s mission or vision and set up a timeline. From there, the company must figure out how those goals will be reached, what issues it will face as it pursues those goals, the solutions to those issues, and other details.
Outline Your Plan
In order to get everyone in the company on the same wavelength, you should have a clear outline of all of the business’s goals, the required individual steps, and an overview of potential issues the company may face along with their solutions. Share this document with each of your employees and ask for whatever input you deem appropriate. If you have a smaller business, all of the employees may be able to contribute something valuable to your plan, but in a larger corporation, mass input is simply not feasible.
Put It in Action
Once you have smoothed out any wrinkles in your strategic plan, put it to action straight away. Have meetings on a regular basis to determine how progress is going, whether your goals will be met on time, if any unexpected issues have arisen, and to incorporate any new goals your company may have acquired on its path to success. Be certain to revisit your plan a minimum of annually to ensure that it remains current and in line with your business’s aspirations.