Why Does My Small Business Need a Strategic Plan?

It has been said that a goal without a plan is only a dream. A plan provides substance and momentum to drive the motion of your organization towards your goals. Do all organizations need a strategic plan? Yes–companies large and small. While the depth and complexity of the plans will differ based on business size, a strategic business plan can have as much value to a small business as one does to General Motors or Bank of America, for example.

 

The 8 Steps

Here are 8 tips for successful strategic planning. The key is to make this process a priority.

 

1) “Know thyself”

A good understanding of what your business is and what you really want to accomplish is paramount in the planning process. Know what you offer. Know what your competitive advantages are. Define carefully who your customers are.

2 ) Clearly identify your important goals

You should have a general longer-term view, such as 3-5 years, along with a much more concrete 1-year view. Make your goal statements specific, not something like “better than last year,” for example.

3) Know where you stand

Make sure you know where you stand today in terms of operating performance. Review competition.

4) Involve your team members in the planning

Their involvement will increase buy-in, commitment and performance.

5) Look at your resources

Can you accomplish your goals based on your staffing and on your budgets? If not, adjust.

6) Obstacles

What obstacles do you face? Are there key “hurdles” that you have to overcome to achieve your goals?

7) Execution

Plan your execution to align with your goals. This is another key reason to involve team members.

8) How far have you come?

Measure your progress. Report your progress.