How to Develop an Amazing Strategic Planning Process
We live in a business environment where the needs of the marketplace are constantly evolving, so I’m sure you’ll agree that planning is crucial to keep in touch with customers’ needs. And it’s not simply about keeping pace with the market, you need to be able to look into the future and evaluate future objectives.
Whilst it may seem impossible to predict the future, the truth is that you can mine into a rich source of insights by developing a strategic planning process. The end result is that your business is able to break free from the shackles of complacency and make noticeable strides in growth. Let’s take a look at how you can get started with your strategic planning process.
Bring Together a Diverse Team
Your business is going to be packed full of a diverse range of individuals all with their own unique set of opinions and talents, so you need to take advantage of this when starting your strategic planning process.
The key is to assemble a crack team of around 5 – 10 staff members who are in senior positions e.g. managers, leaders and supervisors. The breadth of knowledge on offer from these individuals will help ensure that your strategy takes all areas of your business into account.
Define Your SWOT
The next step in your strategic planning process should be to analyze your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT).
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is vital as it allows you to evaluate exactly where your business is getting it right, but also which areas need enhancing. This provides you with the opportunity to get your business match-fit for any potential opportunities or threats in the near future.
Understand Your Competitors
There wouldn’t be a market without competitors and your business would soon to begin to stagnate. However, it’s essential that you monitor your competitors. They’re likely to be challenging you directly for a slice of the market, so you need to carry out regular checks on their activity.
We’re not suggesting corporate espionage, but more of an approach to understand their activities and, of course, to identify any new competitors. The simplest way to do this, in the modern age, is to view social media accounts – what are your competitors current drives, which tradeshows are they appearing at and what content are they sharing etc.
This knowledge will allow you to tweak your strategic planning process and this is imperative as your competitors are targeting the exact same customers as you.
The most important part of your strategic planning process is now ready to take shape and involves identifying your objectives. This particular process allows you to develop a benchmark from which your business efforts can be judged.
Start by establishing what your end goals are and how you intend to reach this endpoint. For example, a short term goal may be to increase customer satisfaction and your plan may be to introduce customer satisfaction surveys.
Just remember that your objectives need to be realistic. There’s nothing wrong with eyeing a turnover of $1 billion, but you’re unlikely to come close to that figure anytime soon. Realistic objectives allow you to taste achievable success and encourage you to work towards that $1 billion turnover gradually.
Evaluate your Strategic Planning Process Regularly
Once you’ve developed an amazing strategic planning process you may feel as though that’s job done. However, there’s no time to rest on your laurels.
You see, it’s impossible to implement a new system of planning without carrying out regular tweaks. Business opportunities and threats may suddenly present themselves, so it’s important that you’re ready to adapt your business. And the best way to prepare for this is through the use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Measuring the success of your KPIs will allow you to measure how your business is performing and help to identify any areas crying out for change. To ensure your business doesn’t slip behind, it’s recommended that these reports are carried out monthly and given a thorough analysis.