We often see business owners struggling to keep up with the day-to-day demands of running a small business. With so many things demanding your time and attention — like managing your cash flow, delivering value to your customers, and keeping up with changes in your market — it can often feel like you are sinking. To survive, you need a sound business strategy in place.
A strategic plan is a roadmap for your business. Where are you going and how are you going to get there? It guides business owners through tough decisions and unifies the team. It also helps the business to declare its purpose and goals as well as the methods to achieve them.
Whether you are preparing to set out on a new business venture or you are already operating a well-established small business, there is no better time than now to sit down and evaluate your strategic plan. Creating one is important, yes, but remember that it’s just as important to keep your strategy up-to-date as your business and the world around you continue to evolve.
There are many ways businesses can determine their goals and get started. One way is a SWOT analysis. This tool can help your business to assess its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Creating a strategic business plan: 7 tips for success
- Create a Business Plan
A well-thought-out business plan defines the short-term and long-term goals of the company. It acts as a game plan which directs the executives in decision making. For employees, a business plan helps them understand the goals of the business. It can also help your team to focus.
- Define Your Company Vision
A company vision is a vivid image of what the business owner wants the business to be in the future. Not only does it give you a clear focus, but it also prevents you from heading in the wrong direction.
To write a great company vision, you need to know your goals, determine the company values, and establish time frames. Don’t be ambiguous and be forward-thinking.
Information and data play a critical role in strategic business planning. As a business owner, the only way you can stay ahead of the curve is by gathering data. You can access industry reports as well as free data from sources such as the Bureaus of Labor Statistics.
By capturing this data, your business can learn more about the market and consumers. Don’t forget to segment your data into different categories, such as customer, product, market, and more.
- Eliminate Interruptions
It is very easy to lose focus with all of the responsibilities you and your employees have. When this happens, strategic planning can often get left on the back burner. To ensure that your business planning receives the attention it needs, we encourage you to cut out all interruptions.
One way you can do this is by choosing a location away from your office. This will allow you to better concentrate on your strategic planning.
- Have an Action Plan
Part of a company's strategy concerns is not managing available resources to deliver the best results. To achieve success, you need an action plan. This is a document that guides you on:
- What will be done
- When it will be done
- Who is accountable
It also indicates the resources needed and how to track or measure progress.
- Encourage Result-Oriented Communication
To keep your team focused, you should foster result-oriented communication. Focus on meaningful communication rather than excessive meetings. Simply put, every communication should have a significant result.
When communicating, include the why, how, and when to deliver updates and instructions.
- Be Flexible and Adaptable
When running your small business, challenges and hurdles are sure to arise. If you are not flexible and adaptable, everything will stay the same. To achieve success, you need to look for opportunities. Be creative and exploit any weaknesses in the markets. Don't forget about your competitor’s strategies too.
Remember, nothing stays the same except change.
MGA is here to help you plan
Creating a strategic business plan can be challenging, but if executed well, it will make the difference between success and failure. If you need a hand in getting started, let us know.
Or perhaps you need someone to help you reevaluate your existing strategy. Many business owners can see the changes taking place all around them but are unclear how to redirect their strategy to take advantage of the changes. As technology continues to evolve, it is imperative for your business strategy to continue to develop with it. We can help.
We love to take your complex situations and find simple solutions. Let's talk!