DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGIC PLAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
All businesses and organisations need a strategic plan to define its direction and to make decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. With the rapidly changing environment now is the time to review your organisation, to see if it is fit for purpose and how it measures alongside its competitors.
A strategic plan is a realistic vision for the future and can maximise your potential for growth. Do not confuse strategic plan with a business plan. A business plan is about setting short term goals about a specific area of your business and we shall explore this in a blog shortly. By identifying in your strategic plan exactly where you want to take your business and how you will get there, should help you reduce and manage the risks that come with growth.
Strategic planning deals with three key questions:
1. What do we do?
2. Who do we do it for?
3. How do we excel?
The strategic plan should set out the process for the organisation for the next three to five years, but it is not something that is produced and you pat yourselves on the back and put in a drawer for three years, it needs to be used as a measurement tool for the business and certainly reviewed at least once a year, as it should be utilised as a tool for aiding the budget process and measuring the success and progress of the business.
The starting process is that you need to understand where you are now, so we start with a SWOT Analysis where we review the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of the organisation and stimulate discussion on key points that affect the organisation. This is not a process that can be carried out in isolation it requires input and commitment from all key members of the team. From our SWOT analysis we can determine where we want to go “The Vision”. This is where we see ourselves in three to five years time; the size, turnover, operating base, structure and will we stick with the core business or diversify. We then need to define how we will achieve this with the “Mission Statement”, this states the fundamental purpose, defining the customer, critical processes and desired level of performance. In conjunction with the mission statement we should identify the “Core Values”, what the business stands for. The next stage is the Business Objectives, where we outline the desired outcome of the strategic plan and deadlines for achieving it. From this we produce the Key Strategies, which is how we implement the strategic plan and this should be broken down into two areas, the critical strategies and the important strategies. The plan is completed with the Key Decisions, this is a summary of the resourcing requirements required to drive the process, such as the financing requirement, the structure and manning levels required and the premises and equipment required.
Having established what your organisation needs to do take a look at your competitors. Do you know who are your key competitors? Who are the emerging competitors? What are these competitors doing well, where do they have the edge, what are their weaknesses, can we learn from them.
The strategic plan now needs to be implemented, a process that requires careful planning.
The key to implementation of the objectives identified in the strategic plan is to assign goals and responsibilities with budgets and deadlines to responsible owners, your key team members. They also need to brief their team members on the key areas of the plan that effect them and set goals on how they will achieve this.
Monitoring the progress of the implementation plan and reviewing it against the strategic plan will be an ongoing process. The fit between implementation and strategy may not be perfect from the outset and you may find it necessary to review your plans as you progress.
Monitoring implementation is the key. Using key performance indicators (KPIs), which we discussed in an earlier blog, and setting targets and deadlines is a good way of controlling the process of introducing strategic change.