Strategic planning is a critical process for any business that intends to grow and increase profits. But it can be a big process that is overwhelming for you, when you’re already extremely busy. So we’ve put together a few steps that are easy enough to do, and can help you get the ball rolling. And if you need our assistance, or have any questions about strategic planning, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
One of the foundations of strategic planning is brainstorming what your options are for the future of the business. You and your team will have so many ideas about what you can do to grow your business, and it will be important to objectively identify which ideas are (or which one idea is) the best to use.
Using a chart like this will help.
There are four stages in this process.
1. Identify your evaluation criteria.
Your evaluation criteria are the items against which you will evaluate your ideas, after you have come up with them. The reason this is critical is because if you come up with your ideas first, and then try to choose one, you may be emotionally involved to the point that it’s difficult to decide. The criteria help you be objective before you’ve started buying in to one idea over another.
This is the part in which you simply come up with loads of ideas. You’re not measuring them yet – you’re simply throwing as many ideas as you can into the pot.
Now you bring the two together – your brilliant ideas (and not-so-brilliant ones, too) and measure them against the criteria that you identified in step 1. Use the “red, yellow, green” color code to measure the ideas. Then, once you’re done, simply identify which idea has the highest score (the most green), and that is probably the first idea to begin with for your strategic plan. Note, it is possible that you decide to go ahead with a ‘red’ or a ‘yellow’ idea – which is fine. But at least now you’re aware of the risks.
4. Start writing your plan.
You’ll need to be sure to include your vision, your strategies, and your objectives.
Your vision will include some specific goals, such as “Reach £100,000 in turnover by November 2016”.
Your objectives break out those goals further. First, you’ll look at how they fit in certain categories, such as sales, product, people, systems. Second, you’ll set out timing, responsibilities, and milestones, so that you know you’re achieving what you said you would.
There’s far more to strategic planning than just this, but we’ll have to review that at another time.
To watch the process of brainstorming your options and evaluating them with a stoplight chart, watch our short Business Builder Training video.