There’s fierce competition in the financial services industry, and you need every advantage you can get—as do many others. Yet, despite this knowledge, many firms still gloss over the importance of a strategic business plan.
A plan, however, could be the key to unlocking growth for your financial services company.
Setting a Goal
Most people are aware of what a strategic plan does: It sets a goal, a vision for the company’s future. That’s not all a strategic plan does, of course, but it’s the major function. Once you’ve planned where to go, you can figure out how to get there.
Setting a goal is a major component of growth. No matter the goal, it will prime your firm for expansion.
How? It gives you guidance, first and foremost; it gives you an idea of where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. For most companies, the future vision includes some form of growth.
While your financial services company’s goal may not be to “grow customer base by 200 percent over five years” or anything so specific, growth is likely built right into whatever goal you select for your firm. A goal such as “being ranked in the top five financial services companies” indicates you’re going to need to do a bit of growing!
The strategic business plan goes beyond simply earmarking your company for growth, however. It outlines, in many ways, all the different ways you’re going to get there. The strategic plan is often likened to a roadmap, illustrating how to go from Point A to Point B. Don’t forget there are myriad paths to the destination. For some financial services firms, each different division or department may need to take a somewhat different path to get there.
You must think strategically to come up with a strategic business plan in the first place.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably find it’s easier to strategize not just about plans, but about every aspect of your business! Having the plan to refer to will guide you on your journey to success, especially as you need to take detours and chase after newly developed opportunities.
The plan allows you to better weigh your options—to think strategically about them. Is this opportunity truly a great investment? What kind of projects should your firm undertake to strive for your vision of the future?
Planned Growth, Managed Growth
Another thing a strategic business plan allows you to do is plan for growth. Many small firms struggle with growth. While expansion is a good thing, it can overwhelm almost any business, especially if it happens suddenly, unexpectedly, or faster than expected.
A strategic plan can’t prevent all surprises, but it can help you plan for and manage growth more effectively. If you know your business’ goal is to grow by X percentage year over year, you can easily plan and make provisions for how to handle the trajectory.
Managed growth is much easier to deal with than sudden, unexpected growth. Managing growth in a strategic way allows your firm to continue operating smoothly, delivering the products and services your customers expect, without any of the accompanying “growing pains” many companies experience. And the best way to plan for growth is to have a strategic business plan in hand.