Strategic Planning in 3 Simple Steps

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It’s amazing how many businesses are busy, busy, busy but haven’t spent the time to really work out where they are headed or how they are going to get there.

We see it all of the time and it really isn’t that difficult for a business to take some time out to really understand their business and their marketplace and then put in place a plan to achieve so much more.

The first thing we do with all of our clients is to set aside a few hours to review their business and to get clear on their priorities and the best strategies for them to achieve their goals. Here are the fundamental steps that we take to put together a strategic plan for our clients:

1. SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths and Weaknesses are internally focused, while Opportunities and Threats are externally focused.

  • Strengths – what does your business do well and possibly better than your competitors and the rest of the market? How can you leverage these strengths in your business to create new opportunities or take advantage of the opportunities that are out there?
  • Weaknesses – what doesn’t your business do so well and what are the areas for improvement? Some common areas include: systems, communication, marketing, time management, lack of a plan, etc.
  • Opportunities – once you have overcome some of your weaknesses, what are the opportunities out there in the market that you could take advantage of?
  • Threats – what external factors could impact your business. This could include competitors, technology, social changes, legal changes, etc.

2. Competitor Analysis

We operate in a competitive environment so it pays to know your competition. What are they good at, what are they weak at and what position in the market are they aiming to “own” (if any)? How can you take this information to position yourself differently and stand out from your competition?

3. Document your Goals and Plan

Once you have done the above analysis it’s time to pull it all together into a plan. This can be quite simple by capturing the following main areas:

  1. What do you want to achieve and where do you want to be in 3 Years? This is a fairly high-level list.
  2. What do you want to achieve and where do you want to be in 12 Months? This is closer to home and could cover areas such as: team, customers, products and services, location, internal systems and processes, etc.
  3. What are the 3 main projects for the next 90 Days?
  4. Lastly, what is your weekly or monthly plan to achieve the 90 day goals? What activities do you need to work on each week/month to achieve these goals?

 

By Anil Puri

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