Currently, nearly 63% of entrepreneurs only use a plan in the first year. Indeed, strategic planning remains very underestimated by companies. Yet it plays an essential role in their growth.
Although it seems intimidating, strategic planning is a great way to ensure a business thrives. It is a plan based on research and documentation, not assumptions. The goal is to define the long-term development of your business. Thus, your strategic planning must be able to evolve over time. Even though the process can take time, the perceived benefits are well worth it.
What is strategic planning?
Strategic planning is a process by which companies set their direction. It should contain the objectives in order to determine the path that your company will follow. It is a powerful strategic development tool that allows you to anticipate possible obstacles and identify the opportunities that will present themselves to you. In order to ensure the success of your plan, it is necessary to integrate each member of your company and ensure that they are part of your vision. In addition, successful strategic planning depends on teamwork between you, your employees and other external partners.
Indeed, fixed planning can lead to its failure. Therefore, it must be flexible. Since your company evolves over the years, your strategy is bound to keep up. Moreover, the needs of the market are also often renewed After a while, it is possible that your product loses effectiveness for your customers. Therefore, to avoid being overtaken by the competition, you need to make regular improvements to your sales strategy. In addition, strategic planning can serve as a benchmark for your business to help you achieve your goals.
Why do strategic planning?
At first glance, strategic planning may seem complex, but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. Not only does it offer a better view of your goals, but it also allows your company to identify the path to follow to achieve them. Through this process, you will have the opportunity to determine how to grow over the next few years and face new opportunities as well as market challenges. Also, when you communicate your plan properly to your team, they will feel more involved in your projects. As a result, this process can increase productivity, contributing to the success of your company.
Strategic planning prevents your business from collapsing after a few years by minimizing risk. Indeed, as part of the process, you will have to examine your project in depth. This analysis will then allow you to determine the capabilities of your company and optimize them. You will also have the opportunity to dissect your strengths in order to exploit them as well as your weaknesses in order to improve them. As it is generally a work of anticipation, you can now prevent any obstacles to your development for the first 5 years. However, when a goal takes longer to accomplish, it is sometimes necessary to review the plan and adjust it.
Steps in the strategic planning process
1. Strategic position
This part involves identifying internal and external sources by gathering various data about your industry. To do this, you need to collect the opinions of your customers in order to get a clear image of your brand as well as your position within the market. In addition, it is also necessary to review your company’s core values to determine how you should go about achieving your goals. With input from executives, customers, and external market data, you can categorize your results into a SWOT diagram (SWOT – Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat). This tool documents the ways in which your organization can grow to meet needs that the market is not currently satisfying.
First of all, you should know that it is imperative that your objectives are aligned with the mission and vision of your company. They must be distinct and measurable to help you achieve your long-term strategic targets and initiatives. To do this, you can use the SMART mnemonic. This technique is useful for determining and identifying the resources needed to achieve objectives. It also helps identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that can make your success measurable. Once objectives and initiatives are identified, you should prioritize them. This will include determining who will have the greatest impact on achieving your vision and improving your market position.
3. Make a plan
This step involves creating a strategic plan to achieve your goals. Thus, you need to determine the tactics needed to achieve your goals, set a timeline, and clearly communicate responsibilities. To achieve this, strategic mapping remains the best way. Indeed, it makes it easy to visualize business processes and identify gaps to be filled. In addition, truly strategic choices usually involve a trade-off in terms of opportunity cost. So be prepared to use your values, mission statement and established priorities. So say « no » to initiatives that don’t strengthen your long-term strategic position.
4. Execute and manage the plan
Now that you have the plan, it’s time to implement it. First, you need to communicate the plan to the organization by sharing relevant documentation. And only then can the actual work begin. In order to achieve optimal results, it is necessary to organize regular examinations. This helps determine the checkpoints that tell you if you’re on the right track. In addition, use KPI dashboards to clearly communicate the responsibilities of each team member.
5. Review and revise the plan
This final step gives you the opportunity to reassess your priorities and make adjustments based on past successes or failures. On a quarterly basis, you are required to determine which KPIs your team has successfully achieved and how you can continue to achieve them, adjusting your plan if necessary. On an annual basis, it’s important to reassess your priorities and strategic position to ensure you stay on track for long-term success. For example, you can track your progress with balanced dashboards that provide a holistic view of your company’s performance.
Even today, many companies decide not to implement strategic planning. It is therefore not surprising that many of them collapse before their third years, which are the most decisive. Therefore, it is fundamental for the prosperity of your business to develop strategic planning.