Where are you going? – Plan strategically
Do a Google search on strategic planning and you’ll be hit with around 148 million results. Click on a few and you’ll soon realise why most people think strategic planning is too hard, too time consuming, and will only be achieved after spending a small fortune on external market research!
Not true! Believe it or not, strategic planning can be fun and insightful if you keep it simple and high level. The clue is in the title… ‘strategic’.
Every business should consider some form of strategic planning exercise every year. How else do you know what you are aiming for; how you plan to get there; how to tell when you get there; or what new goals to set?
If you don’t have a clear strategic plan you’ll soon become a victim of incremental change and risk the ‘one step forward, two steps back’ approach as you and your staff pull in different and conflicting directions.
So at its most basic level, good strategic planning is simply going through a robust and logical process to debate and discuss:
- Where your business is now (current situation)
- Where your business could be in three years (destination)
- What steps are required to get there (initiatives and actions)
Remember it’s often better to take the ‘less is more’ approach. Aim initially for a short plan that is high on action and low on data and over analysis. A short list of strategic initiatives, each with an agreed owner, timelines and accountabilities can achieve much more than a 100 page document with no real call to action.