COVID-19 set many businesses dramatically off course this year. Thanks to the pandemic, extra safety precautions, and a variety of other factors, many companies and business owners will have a hard timehitting their anticipated revenue goals they set at the beginning of the year.
The key to getting your business back on track, finishing 2020 strong, and starting the new year off right, is developing a strategic plan that identified the things that could go wrong, what can go right, and where your business is heading.Yet the strategic planning process can be tricky, so in a recent KnowHow webinar we teamed up with experts Chuck Violand and Tim Hull of Violand Management Associates to unpack the steps you need to ensure you wind up this year in a position of strength.
Together, these titans of industry provided us with incredibly practical and feasible information on how you can begin developing your strategic plan today. In this blog post, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process, and the questions you should be asking yourself as a business owner, to get started on your strategic plan.
Define Your Mission and Your Vision
Before you can even begin thinking about a strategic plan, the first step is to always define your mission and vision for your company. It’s important to ask yourself, especially when building a strategic plan, what your ideal business looks like in 5-7 years. Planning ahead, and then working backwards from that goal will help you define how your strategic plan takes shape.
Next, you need to look at the people within your organization currently. Part of your strategic plan should involve determining who can help you reach those long term goals. Determine who in your company best represents your mission and vision, and who will best help move the ball toward those goals.
Perform a SWOT Analysis on Your Business
This step is a much more hands-on technique that requires a critical eye to evaluate different areas of your business. A SWOT analysis is a great way to determine the internal and external factors that are working for, or against, achieving your company's goal. It is a critical step in the strategic planning process.
For those of you reading who may have never heard of a SWOT analysis, it is an acronym that stands for identifying, within your business, the:
S: Strengths - What characteristics of my business will provide me with an advantage in the long run?
W: Weaknesses - What characteristics of my business will put me at a disadvantage in the long run?
O: Opportunities - What areas of my business can I use to my advantage to improve the company at this moment, what’s working?
T: Threats - What areas of my business aren’t currently working that can cause pain points for myself and my employees in the long run?The SWOT analysis can be an incredibly powerful tool when building a strategic plan and forces you to view your business operations, internal and external, with a more critical, unbiased eye.
Identifying Strategies and Objectives
The final tip to working through a strategic plan is determining short term objectives and strategies. We’ve determined our long term goals, and which internal and external actors can contribute or hinder reaching those goals, but now we have to determine our short term objectives.
Reaching any long term goal takes time, patience, and careful planning. Breaking down long term goals into short term objectives can help you quantify those big, daunting goals. It also provides you and your team with a constant sense of accomplishment when you get to “check the box”, so-to-speak, on those short term objectives.
Sit down with the key members of your team and figure out what each department can do in the next 12-24 months to move the ball forward. Outline any measurables, accountabilities, and timelines needed to complete those objectives as efficiently as possible. It’s vital that you conduct this step with all your key team members so that everyone is on the same page.
It’s also vital that your short term objectives remain congruent with your vision, mission, and values. This will ensure your company maintains direction moving forward.
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