You might be tempted to answer “no” to the question, but the truth is every company needs a strategic business plan. Why? It’s your roadmap to the future. Without one, a company might meander aimlessly down any number of different paths, searching for profit in vain.
Companies with strategic plans, on the other hand, know exactly where they want to go—and how to get there. If you’ve been operating without a plan, it’s definitely time to get one.
Consider these tips.
1. Future Considerations
A strategic business plan is, for all intents and purposes, a roadmap for your company. It pinpoints your destination, outlines your goals, and then shows you the path from point A to point B.
The first thing you need to do, then, is figure out where you want to go! What’s the vision for the business? Do you want to be number one in your field? Do you want to hit a particular profit threshold? Or are you hoping to build a particular brand reputation? Ask yourself these questions as you work on your plan.
2. Revise, Revise, Revise
You’re saying, “But I already had a plan in place!” That’s fine; plenty of businesses have strategic plans they’re already using. But how recently have you revisited your plan? Is it still working?
Most strategic business plans cover a period of about five years, which means strategy is an ongoing effort. Even if you consider your plan more long term, you should revisit it regularly. Scheduled check-ins reveal your progress toward the goals and the vision, and they provide you with the opportunity to revise.
A plan should be revised often—possibly more often than every five years. Why? Business environments change: Regulations, legislation, and even the market can change seemingly overnight. With such a rapidly evolving environment, tweaking your strategic business plan every now and then helps you stay strategic.
3. Consult with the Pros
What if you’ve never designed a strategic business plan before? You may feel overwhelmed by the prospect; after all, planning your firm’s growth and direction for five years is a tall task. Or perhaps you’ve designed and implemented a plan before, but the process was less than ideal; you shudder to think about doing it all over again.
Get a helping hand from the pros. Strategic planning consultants employ experience and expertise to guide you through the process, making it as painless as possible. Better yet? The consultants will work with you to design a better plan. Since they bring an outsider’s perspective to your firm, you get more objective insight into what your company could (and should) be doing.
4. Combine with Other Strategy Efforts
A strategic business plan is a great thing. But the plan itself is rarely the first and only step a business can take when it comes to operating more strategically. Instead, consider looking at other areas too, such as a strategic review of your operations or your personnel.
While it might appear to be a big task, reviewing other parts of the business actually makes it easier to implement the strategic plan. If you say you want to be on the cutting edge of technology in your industry, but don’t review your IT capabilities, you might have trouble reaching your goals.
5. Get Help with Implementation
You’ve made a plan, and you have a question: Now what? Everything looks great on paper, and everyone loves the sound of your vision. But how do you make it happen? The strategic business plan is the map; you actually have to drive the car to the destination now.
If you’re struggling with implementation, don’t be afraid to seek help. Again, a consultant could loan you a helping hand as you get everyone on board with a brighter future.