Should I or shouldn’t I have a strategic plan?
Of course you should - how else are you going to make your vision a reality? Developing a plan that turns a good business into an awesome business is not rocket science, but it requires realism and aspiration in equal measure. A strategic plan is the beginning, not the end, of a never-ending growth cycle.
It’s a blueprint for action that should influence every action of every person in your organisation every day. Don’t be bamboozled by the jargon – this is your common sense guide on how to succeed at being awesome. It’s about growing your business faster in your target market.
What’s happening outside
To start with, take a critical look at what’s happening outside your business.
1. What’s happening in the market?
2. What are my competitors up to?
3. Where’s the technology going and what effect is it having?
4. What legislation or regulatory issues are coming up; could they make or break us?
Sounds simple? It is and it isn’t. Here are some tips for making the process easier:
The goal is to work out how to make the most of what you do best and to compensate for what you’re not so good at. Work through the risk and rewards of each scenario and prioritise what is important and what isn’t.
What’s happening inside
Face up to the mirror
You need to know what’s happening in your market - what competitors are up to, how technology is changing and which way the regulatory wind is blowing. So it’s time to do some serious – and honest – navel-gazing and look at your business from the inside out.
This is not the time for rose-coloured glasses or pandering to large egos. You’re not there to bond; you’re there to ruthlessly work out what you do well, where the business plan lacks substance, and what you need to do to bridge the gap.
Be ruthless and be prepared: this is not always a popular process. You might need a good facilitator to help work through the resource, infrastructure, product and customer issues.
If the facilitator is good, you’ll know at the end of the process what you do better than anyone else and how you can use these strengths to best effect. Now you and the team can develop key insights with a shared understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as areas where you can exploit your competitive advantage and stretch industry boundaries.
Next month we’re unpacking – where to play and how to find the best market, determining your value proposition and what happens when it’s crunch time.