Running a business is no easy feat. There’s always a sale to be made, a fire to put out, an employee to train, a payroll to be made. With so much going on, it can be hard to justify taking time out to step back and evaluate where things are and what may need to change. But this critical step will make life so much smoother in the long run.
Strategic planning, no matter the size of your business, will give you a plan of action to guide all of the decisions that pop up in your daily work. Should you hire a new employee? Does it make sense to go into a new market? What message should our marketing focus on? While these types of questions may seem overwhelming now, having a strategic plan in place will take a lot of the worry out of the process.
Below, I’ve outlined three big questions that strategic planning will help you answer and how those questions will help you find success.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLAN
- Who are we and what do we do? This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s the most important question you have to answer for your business, and it’s one that may be more in-depth than you think. This is more than saying you’re a healthcare company or a tech firm. This is deciding what your company stands for – its mission, vision and values must be in place and current to achieve those elements.
Defining these three things will be the guiding light for everything that you do in the future, big or small. It will help you with everything from knowing who to hire (do they live the core values?) to knowing what companies you want to partner with (will this partnership bring us closer to achieving our vision?).
- How should we allocate our time and resources? Once you’ve defined your mission, vision and values, you can start to align your everyday work with them. This will ensure you’re taking active steps to be the company you say you are and meet the goals you’ve set out for yourself.
This will manifest itself in everything you do – going after a new client, launching a new product, buying new software. Stopping to think about your projects and expenses in terms of your mission, vision and values will give you the answers you need to move forward in a productive way.
- How do we know we’re making progress? Everyone’s real business goal is the same: SUCCESS. But how that is measured will be different for each company. Strategic planning will help you know you’re making progress toward that goal and all of the smaller goals it takes to get there. With a clear direction in mind for your business, you will be able to easily say whether the things you’ve accomplished in the last month, six months or a year have gotten you closer to achieving success for your company.
Taking the time to stop and think about who you are and where you want your company to be may seem like a burden right now, but it will translate to an easier path to success. Do it now, and do it again in six months and then in a year. Keeping a pulse on the big things you’re working toward will make the everyday challenges a much easier feat.
FORGE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS
Frank Vitale started Forge Business Solutions to provide exceptional management and leadership planning services for businesses and to help those businesses find success, growth and partnership.
Many companies have a strategy, but because it isn’t written out, it is not articulated. If it is not articulated by management and employees alike, then it doesn’t exist.
Forge Business Solutions help clients identify their true north. Identifying the one, main goal for our clients and their employees is important. We do so by assessing the current strategy’s strengths and areas for improvement by conducting in-take meetings and surveys. Through working with executives and senior managers, we look to develop a deployable strategic business plan with deliverables and measurable objectives.
Forge ahead with your business today: 304.777.2248.