The Five Steps Needed to Master Strategic Planning

A watertight strategic plan is essential if your business wants to taste success; a solid set of strategic processes allows your business to make the right decisions and move your company towards its goals. So, to help get your company where it needs to be, let’s run through the 5 most important steps in strategic planning.

1. Determine Your Company Vision

For your company to realize all of its goals it needs to understand what it wants to achieve. And the best way to reach this goal is by determining what your company vision is.

Start by forming a team which is made up of staff members from all areas of your business. This should help provide a foundation which determines exactly what your business is working towards. How you achieve this company vision can vary, but a popular approach is to use brainstorming to map out all the factors which represent your business.

Once these have been collated you can then work towards a 2 – 3 sentence statement which states your businesses aims and promises.

2. What Are Your Objectives?

Strategic planning thrives on working towards your business objectives, so you need to ask yourself exactly what they are. Once you have this information you can then evaluate whether your business is achieving these and moving in the right direction.

It’s usually a good idea to work backwards here, so try to envision what your end goal is. This gives you the luxury of then working out how you reach this goal. Don’t forget, though, that you need to work towards realistic objectives or you will waste far too much time on planning impossible strategies.

strategic planning

3. Analyze Your Competitors

Your competitors will be going after exactly the same slice of the market as you, so why not try and understand their strategic planning?

Take a look at their marketing campaigns to get a good idea of how they’re moving forwards in the market e.g. view their literature, check up on their social media accounts and understand how they’re engaging with their audience. Naturally, you won’t want to create a carbon copy of this, but it should serve as a good basis to see what works and what doesn’t work in your market.

4. Communicate Your Strategic Planning

Once you and your team have established your strategic planning processes, it’s time to communicate these to the rest of your business. Different departments will need to adopt different approaches to reach their goals, so make sure each department head is briefed on the direction they need to take. Once you have everyone working on the same page you’ll find that your strategic planning really kicks into gear.

5. Carry out Regular Evaluation

The biggest threat to strategic planning is complacency, so it’s vital that you don’t assume your strategic planning processes are destined to work forever.

The business landscape can change very quickly, so it’s likely that you’re going to have to update your strategic planning process regularly. Keeping on top of this can be handled by adopting a series of Key Performance Indications (KPIs).

Your KPIs should act as a benchmark to evaluate how your business is performing in relation to its goals. If you find that you’re falling behind on your KPI targets then you know it’s time to take another look at your strategic planning process.