A strategic plan is a written road map that guides the way forward for your business.
It lays out your company’s goals and explains why they’re important. Strategic planning also helps you, find ways to improve your business’s performance.
For instance, it can provide insights about how to restructure your company or organization so that it can reach its full potential.
When you are expanding operations, reaching into new target agencies, building new relationships– as you increase opportunities, a well-designed strategic plan will dictate how you respond to opportunities and challenges.
About four years after retirement from the Federal Government; I decided to attend a local Government Procurement Conference. The first thing I noticed was that most contractors didn’t seem to have a plan.
After speaking with a few of the contractors; I found out that most didn’t even have a Strategic Plan for their companies.
I also saw contractors that I meet ten years or more before I retired; they were still doing the same things, just chasing cars!
Most small companies don’t think they need or have time to prepare a Strategic Plan. Wrong!
NOTE: If you don’t have a large or midsize organization; you still need a strategy.
So why do you need a plan? Why take time for planning? There are many reasons. But here are five for you to focus on:
1. Guidance: (direction and priorities)
First, you need a strategy because it sets the direction and establishes priorities for your organization.
Your plan should build your organization’s view of success and it should set priority activities you must complete to make your vision a reality. The strategy will help you know what you should be working on, and what you should be working on first; to move your company forward.
Without a clearly defined strategy, you may find that your priority initiatives the ones that will drive the highest success – are not getting priority treatment.
2. Everyone on the same page:
Do you have departments working to achieve different aims, or going in different directions, if so; you need a strategy. If, you feel lost and not sure what your next step is if so you need a strategy plan.
Defining your strategic direction, gets operations, sales, marketing, administration and all other departments moving together to achieve the goals of the organization.
NOTE: If you or just a couple of people wear the hats for all the above mention units; you still need a plan, Now!
3. Improve decision making:
When you develop a strategic plan, you will have the framework to make more efficient decisions; as mentioned earlier, your strategy will clearly outline the priority activities you must complete achieving success.
Clarity on your priorities makes it is much easier to say no to those potential initiatives that will pull you off focus.
4. Alignment: (Personal and Company Visions)
Some organizations have hard-working people putting their best efforts into areas that have little to no impact on strategic success.
Your strategy serves as a management tool for answering the question,
- “How can we better align all of our resources to maximize our strategic success?”
- Are we doing the right things?
Does this fit in with my personal visions?
These are two complementary concepts; each must be in sync with the other.
5. To communicate the message:
Many leaders walk around with a practical strategy fixed in their heads – they know (or think they do) where their organization needs to be and the key activities that will get it there.
They may think I am a one or two-man show; I don’t need a Strategic Plan.
Unfortunately, if the strategy is not down on paper and hasn’t been communicated thoroughly: as a result, few people are acting on it; and if it’s just you most things still want to get done.
Note: Everyone needs a strategic plan no matter how small your company may be.
A good plan charts a company’s direction shapes its future and secures growth. No business should be without one.
A lot of business owners, use excuses like “I don’t have time” to “I’m doing good, why change?” Unfortunate because all business, even successful, can benefit from having a strategic plan. You can have the best laid out plans in your head, but unless you have it on paper, you may never know what things are missing that could improve or post threats to your business.
No business should be without one.