The strategic planning process
I recently watched King Richard, and I must say, it is one of the most amazing movies I have ever watched. Not only does it include one of my favourite actors, Will Smith, who is brilliant at what he does but the movie is an impactful and inspiring true story based on the lives of legendary tennis players Venus and Serena Williams who make it to the top thanks to their father, Richard. A key lesson that the movie taught me was the importance of a plan (Richard mentions this several times)
I think we all know that it can be hard to accomplish anything without a plan. Whether it is studying for a test, coaching a team, putting together an event or running a business. With all, you need a strategic plan for sure. What a strategic plan does is that it looks at all the things your business (small or large), could do and is good at doing. It also helps the owners of the business or the leaders to determine where they will put in more time, spend human capital and money.
A question businesses would perhaps have is on how to approach strategic planning. It might at first seem like an overwhelming process, however, with a great team and a great plan on how to break it down, it becomes very easy to handle. Here is a five-step approach that can help:
Have a deeper look into where you are. As some people may see themselves according to how they want to see themselves, they might have a harder time viewing how they appear to others. As many small businesses may get snared into this trap, you can start with conducting external and internal audits to get an understanding of the marketplace, your real competencies and the competitive environment.
Where do you want to take your business or organisation over time? Identify what you see as being important. Having a clear focus on where you want your business to head will set a long-term direction and help define some things such as the mission and the vision. With the mission, you can put in place the markets, customers and products while the vision will entail what your business’s future could be. This helps set in place your priority issues which the strategic plan will focus on.
Once you have your priority issues in place, define what you must achieve. Having a SWOT list comes in handy before doing this, this is because once you determine what they are, you are able to see what to start with and what you must achieve in order to address these issues. I should mention, the opportunities will make it easier for you to know where to start, and once you have them outlined, look at how your strengths can help you achieve them and see which weaknesses you can address too for your goals to come alive.
As mentioned, after the SWOT analysis you can determine the opportunities and then see who to keep accountable. Doing this is a step towards seeing where you want to go and how you are going there. The strategies, action plans, and budgets are all steps in the process that effectively communicates how you will allocate time, human capital, and money to address the priority issues and achieve the defined objectives.
Review. Review. Review. It’s not over. It’s never over. To ensure the plan performs as designed, you must hold regularly scheduled formal reviews of the process and refine as necessary. We suggest at least once a quarter.
Having a strategic plan is a wonderful thing, it can take your business to places you thought unimaginable. If you have not yet laid one out, take the time to do so as the plan will help you stay focused and your business will stay on the right track as you strive towards bigger and greater things.