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Strategic Planning for Your Small Business

The new year is right around the corner and now is the perfect time for strategic planning in your small business. Set aside the time to reflect on what your business accomplished over this last year. Discover what needs to be accomplished in the next year to achieve your overall company goals and objectives. Strategic planning is a process business owners engage in to define their vision for the future and identify their organization’s goals and objectives. It is so much more than just setting your 12 month SMART goals. Rather a strategic plan has a forward thinking approach and is designed to help business owners achieve long-term objectives.

Ultimately your strategic plan will empower you as a business owner to set the stage for growth and success in the coming year. Here are a few things that we cover with our clients in strategy sessions.

Episode 34

Strategic Planning for Your Small Business! Listen to the episode here.

Review Your Business Executive Summary

Begin your strategic planning sessions by setting the stage. Now is a great time to review and refine your business executive summary. Your business executive summary includes a description of your business, company mission, vision, and CORE values. This summary serves as a filter for your business. Every decision you make for your business through the planning process is filtered through this summary. Be sure to discuss the current standings of your small business and the future financial projections with your leadership team. As you set the stage for your strategy session, having a clear picture of your financial status and projections will help you think forward towards new goals and objectives.

Setting Goals for Your Small Business

Setting goals is the foundation of strategic planning. Clearly defining what your business needs to accomplish over the long term provides a roadmap for your overall success. Whether your aim is to increase revenue, expand your customer base, or enhance your product/service offerings, setting measurable, realistic and achievable goals creates a sense of purpose and direction. Consider setting a goal for the following areas of your business.

  • Revenue: How much money do you need to make next year to reach the desired level of success and transform your customers lives?
  • Leadership: How can you and your team grow as leaders in the next year?
  • Marketing: Take action and position your business as the expert in your industry.
  • Sales: What must be true to reach the desired revenue goal?
  • Systems and Processes: Identify ways to become more productive and efficient.

Be sure to align your goals with your mission, vision and CORE values to ensure that every objective and tactic executed on will collectively achieve the overall initiatives.

Identifying Objectives

The objectives serve as the building blocks of your strategic plan. They are the concrete deliverables that will make the long term goals come to life. This could involve marketing campaigns, developing new products or services, operational improvements, or improving communications. Identify the objectives or priorities necessary to achieve the goal. Objectives will ultimately break down again into smaller tactics that are more specific.

Creating Actionable Steps To Achieve Your Goals

With goals and objectives in place you will develop the tactics that will bring your strategic plan to life. Smaller tactics are the actionable steps and initiatives that will help you achieve your objectives that are pursuing a larger goal through execution. Prioritize the objectives and tactics based on their impact as it will relate to achieving your long term goals.

The Team Approach

Strategic planning is a collaborative effort that involves your entire team. Engage your team and company leaders in the strategic planning process. They are the boots on the ground that will execute on the tactics and drive the company forward. Here are a few things you can work on as a team:

  • Discover the strengths of all key players. We love Clifton Strengths, formally known as Strength Finders.
  • Identify limitations on your team so you know what positions to hire out for future growth.
  • Complete a SWOT Analysis. This will include external factors and threats to be aware of.
  • What resources will you need to accomplish the goals and objectives identified in the strategic plan?
  • Create a budget that includes recurring expenses, expected payroll and the costs for resources that you will need to achieve the goals.

It’s important to remember your team must buy into the mission and the vision. Leverage the insights and expertise of your team members to ensure a very well-rounded strategic plan. Giving your team members a voice in the strategic plan allows them to own their part, fosters accountability, opens communication lines and empowers team members to contribute to making the next year a success. Cultivating team unity is a powerful force in collaboratively and collectively achieving business success.

Start and End Your Year With Purpose

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” – Author Unknown

Strategic planning is the key to results. It is a process that sets your small business up for long term growth, sustainability and success. For additional help with developing your mission statement, creating a marketing funnel, sales strategy and budgeting in your small business, try Business Made Simple University for the next 7-days FREE.

As you prepare for the new year, invest the time and effort to refine your mission, vision and CORE values. You will want to evaluate your strategic plan monthly or even quarterly to ensure that you are staying focused and on track. With meaningful goals, clear objectives, and actionable steps, you and your team will have a solid purpose that seeks to transform the lives of your customers.

At the end of the year everyone wins!

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