Strategic planning is a critical part of your business and calls for action. It provides direction for your business as you grow and enables you and your teams to stay on track.
There are important steps involved in this process. The first step is to have a Strategic Vision. To define this, you will need to ensure that all the stakeholders are involved and inputs from your employees and team members are considered.
For small businesses, following a business plan becomes challenging as we tend to ask ourselves, “Do I need a strategic business plan if I am just starting small?” The answer to this is “Yes”, if you want to prosper and grow there needs to be a plan and you need to be flexible to adapt for ongoing changes. 2020 has been exceptionally challenging for the entire world and it has taught us why planning is a crucial part of any business.
As a small-business owner, a strategic plan is very different from that of big organisations. It’s important to understand this to ensure that you are heading in the right direction. The following tips can help in planning and implementing it in a way that will deliver results:
Perfect plan: Do not try to be perfect. Remember, as George S. Patton said, “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”.
Overplanning: Do not spend too much time in defining the mission, vision, goals. Keep it simple and in line with your business and values. Focus on where you are at and where you want to be. A strategic plan will help you get there.
Marketing: Do not overspend on marketing. There are ways and means of marketing your products and services through networking, word of mouth and by asking for reviews. Finding and using the right marketing collaterals will be light on your wallet.
Technology: Keeping yourself updated on how to make the most of technology will help you achieve your business goals without having to spend too much.
SMART Goals: An effective way to plan a strategy is to have Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound goals. To achieve this a SWOT analysis can provide a clear picture of the current state of your business and will help you plan for the future state.
Once you have developed a workable plan by considering critical elements that guide your business, helps you in achieving your goals and keeps you and your team on track then comes the most important bit- Implementation. A plan is not worth anything if it’s not implemented well. It’s like the great ideas that stay in our heads and never see the light of the day.
During the planning phase, if you did not assign ownership of goals to your team members/employees based on their skills then you can do it now. As the owner of a business, you are the Leader and you need to trust, encourage and empower your teams. Once tasks and goals are assigned then back it up with unconditional support to your team and let them own it. You can check-in with them if they are facing any challenges.
Here is a quote that articulates the science and art of strategy, by Pete Johnson:
“Strategy is a style of thinking, a conscious and deliberate process, an intensive implementation system, the science of insuring future success.”
Ash Sharma, Executive Officer, ASPL Group