Successful small businesses follow a few important steps to align their company and ultimately set themselves up for achieving goals. Effective long-term planning can be one of the most difficult things for a business to accomplish. If a company is able to find a “sweet spot” in their market and develop a business growth plan accordingly, the future tends to be a little more certain and will help you stay ahead of your competition.
5 Steps to Creating the Plan your Business Needs to Achieve Its Goals.
1 Create both a short & long term Strategy for your business
Successful businesses build a strategy, implement it & reviewed the efficacy each year. Long-term strategic plans should define your vision & mission for your company and how you plan to achieve it. Strategies should focused on: making internal processes more efficient; developing new products and services; adapting their business model (e.g., developing new billing structures) and finding new marketing channels; improving customer service or; company culture. Analyze your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats over the next two to five years. Look at external factors and your company’s internal environment.
2 Have a Detailed Roadmap
Now that you have your plan, you have to build a detailed roadmap to get you there. Having a concrete short to medium term plan and multiple business performance metrics are essential to building a successful business. Short-term planning relates simply to what you need to get done every week and every month. Medium-term planning is done once every quarter or so, and it’s when you should take a look at what’s happening in the market – do you need to adapt your plan?
3 Define Performance Metrics
Choose targets that indicate if your business is on track. What measurable outcomes will validate that your business is achieving the desired objectives? Identify 3-6 measures that help define & track your strategic goals. Think carefully about what you want to measure and determine an appropriate benchmark. Consider things like quality, delivery deadlines, safety, environmental impact, and client and employee satisfaction
4 Implement Plan
One of the most challenging aspects of strategic planning is implementing the plan – getting what’s on paper to come to life and achieving the goals and strategies included in the plan. The success lies in a few factors: Communicate your plan to your team & employees, stakeholders or anyone involved. Engage the core individuals that will have accountabilities in the plan, get buy in around initiatives, tasks, measurement & KPI’s (key performance metrics). Lastly align your communications; customize messages to ensure employees understand how they fit, how they can help achieve company goals & objectives. Align: KPI’s to departmental measures; tactics to your strategies; and your strategies to your company vision.
5 Measure Progress
If you don’t measure it, how will you know whether it is improving? Set milestones within the plan: Like project management, develop action plans for individual initiatives within the plan. Determine who is responsible for what, when it will be started and completed, and what intermediate accomplishments are needed to achieve final results.
Remember that strategic planning is not about producing a plan; it’s about leadership engaging others to achieve the organization’s vision. Planning falls short when the strategies are set, the direction aligned and nothing more happens. Strategic planning is a process and must include reaching your goals. You need a plan for both defining and implementing goals.
Learn from the past: Plans are not written in stone. As you implement your plan or initiatives, monitor trends and the environment. Track the implementation approaches that work well and which need refinement, and then adapt future implementation approaches.
Please contact Legacy Ridge Ventures, we would love to help you through this process!