6 key things to remember when strategic planning
#1 Detail isn’t necessary for a good plan
Companies with large turnovers do not create their strategic plans in detail, this is because people will get too bogged down in the details and lose sight of the overall aims. It is important to set the goals and what you would like to achieve, then the relevant teams can figure the finer detail out themselves. The basics your plan should have are:
- A summary of your strategic plan
- Your elevator pitch
- Your mission statement – what is your business trying to achieve?
- Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT)
- 5 year or long-term goals
- KPIs to measure your success e.g. number of sales, number of visitors etc.
- Who are your target buyers?
- Competitive analysis – what is your advantage compared to the competition
- People plan
- Operations plan
- A financial plan so you can asses the results for each opportunity you are looking at.
#2 Questions which you should always ask yourself
The key questions which you should ask yourself are; “Where are we going?” “How are we getting there?” “What does our ideal future business look like?” “How much would we like to be earning?” “How much do we think our competitors are earning?” “Who is involved?” “How many people will be employed when we get to our final goal?” “When do certain steps need to be achieved by?” “What are the limiting factors for growth?” “What are possible obstacles, and how will we tackle these?” “What additional knowledge and skills do we need?” “What areas can we excel in?” “Which areas are we weak in?”
#3 Making staff members accountable
Brilliant plans will make certain members of staff accountable to ensure that activities get done, this makes the plan more specific and targeted so that every team and individual knows exactly what is expected of them. You need to ensure staff understand by letting them know:
- How their work, responsibilities and goals align with the new strategic plan.
- How you are going to measure their performance against the plan.
- What they can do to help the plan as it rolls out.
- Who they can speak to if they are struggling with their responsibilities within the plan or if they have any suggestions or improvements.
#Efficiency and speed
Your plan should always address how your organisation is going to speed up and improve internal operations within your business. If you don’t, you risk falling behind your competition and sticking with old processes that aren’t actually very effective anymore. You should look at new solutions and initiatives that will keep your speed up and your operations running smoothly. To do this you must:
- Asses the current way your operations are carried out.
- Ask staff what their thoughts are on the current processes and if they have any suggestions for improvement.
- Research the market to ensure you are using the best possible technology, you could be using a platform that is 15 years old and doesn’t work anywhere near as good as new products on the market.
- Assess which area of your business are most crucial to your success or performance, this should be where you look to invest more of your budget.
If you are considering upgrading your current way of working, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the current equipment giving you good results e.g. paper is frequently getting lost or handwriting is too hard to read?
- Is it easy to use or do you frequently find yourself having to check that it’s working properly?
- Is it visibly slowing staff down because it’s getting more difficult to use e.g. the solution isn’t mobile so they keep having to run to a desktop PC to update it.
#You should be able to track and measure your plan
There is no point carrying out a brilliant plan if you can’t measure whether it is working or not. As mentioned previously your plan should list the metrics which you are going to track every step of the way.
- Divide your metrics by milestones, so the date at which you expect certain results to be achieved by e.g. hiring 10 new staff members, reducing the time it takes to serve a customer by 50%.
- Choose no more than 4 KPIs per department, this stops the plan from getting too confusing.
- Have a set date within your company when everyone needs to report their KPI measures, this ensures that you are on top of everyone’s performance and can change actions accordingly.
#Not everything will go to plan
Finally, it’s important to remember that not everything will go to plan. Perhaps someone in the learning department realises that you haven’t given them the right resources to train staff in such a small amount of time. The key is to take these suggestions on board and change the plan accordingly, the plan should always be the first thing you go to when things don’t go smoothly otherwise it will fall apart.
Other posts that may be of interest to you:
The real reasons your staff aren’t taking responsibility
5 common compliance issues and how you can solve them
How to tell if ‘saving’ on staffing costs is actually affecting your sales