Strategic planning helps you focus on where you and your business are going. After the last few months of uncertainty and disruption, it’s essential that you start looking to the future and what you want to achieve. Many of you will have been adversely affected by the coronavirus but what is your plan moving forward?
Some of my clients have taken advantage of the Bounce Back Loans to employ a new member of staff, improve their online presence etc. Maybe you have too? Perhaps you have found a new niche for income? If so, I’d love to hear how you have been innovative during this trying time.
Hi, I’m Anna Goodwin – Author of five books, Director, Mentor and Trainer for Anna Goodwin Accountancy. Basically I take the stress out of finances – both business and personal. From running my own business and helping others to run theirs, I know it’s important to have a strategic plan and use it!
So, What Is A Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan gives mid to long term goals and lays out tactics to achieve them. It is an important part of running a business and is especially important if you want to grow a company. This will help you achieve the results you want, which is much less likely to happen if you pursue a random approach without any thought to the future – even in times of constant change.
Where To Start?
Give yourself time away from the office (whether at home or work) to think about where your company is headed, where you want to take your company and how you’ll get there. I know this may not be as easy to do, given the current circumstances, but try your best to sit somewhere different to where you are working currently. Perhaps you could sit in the garden, or maybe go for a walk? Even sitting in a different part of the house may unlock some ideas! The important thing is to set time aside and stick to it.
If you have a management team, investors or work closely with other members of staff, you may want to include them in this discussion. However, you may decide to map a framework out yourself first before sharing your thoughts with others.
Things to consider:
- Where is your business now? Consider how it operates, its profitability and competition.
- Where do you want to take it? Create a company vision and set out your objectives for the next 5 to 10 years.
- What do you need to do to get there? Take account of any changes needed and how you will do that. Does your structure need to change, will you need more staff, and will you need help with financing?
Make sure you involve the right people with the right experience. You will need people who are analytical but also creative. Remember to ask opinions of key employees, accountants, board members etc. Their opinions will make a big difference to the successful implementation of the plan.
2. Plan Carefully
People involved in the process should know what is expected of them. Give people the opportunity to arrange meetings so that they can brainstorm ideas. However, be clear from the outset about how much you will be able to take on their thoughts and suggestions.
What Should Be Included In The Plan?
- SWOT analysis – looking at internal and external drivers for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Vision statement – where do you want your business to be in 5-10 years’ time?
- Major goals – what will you achieve by when?
- Key actions – be as specific as you can.
- Resources required – what will you require to achieve your goals? e.g. staff, finances, time.
Why it’s important for you to use strategic planning:
- Gives you more focus on where your company is heading.
- Reduces the risks.
- Using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will help you to stay on track with your progress.
- Identifies financing needed.
A robust strategic plan will help you to visualise where you want your business to be and will help you to recognise the steps you need to take to get there. This benefits you as it takes away some of the stress which arises from uncertainty (we’ve had plenty of that, haven’t we!) Also, you are much more likely to achieve your goals. You will feel more in control of your own destiny – and that has to be a good thing!
Next week, I will concentrate on competition planning and why it is crucial for the success of your business.