You already know a strategic plan is a key component in your business strategy. It helps you envision the future and work out the steps you’ll take to get there. Strategic planning also allows you to anticipate challenges and opportunities that will arise along the way, which makes your business ready to adapt to changing circumstances. Today’s business environment makes it almost imperative for firms to be nimble, so a strategic plan is vital to maintaining your competitive edge.
Despite all of that, many people remain convinced strategic planning is just another corporate buzzword, another exercise in ineffective business leadership that allows everyone to feel like they’ve contributed to the company’s future. Strategic planning has real-world impacts, however. In fact, it could save your business both time and money.
A Long and Winding Road?
A business’s future development should not be a surprise to anyone in the business. Yes, certain unforeseen circumstances might crop up from time to time, but, overall, the business should have a roadmap to where it’s going. That means you shouldn’t be caught by surprise by almost any opportunity or challenge that appears along the road.
A strategic plan is like your roadmap. You began by choosing your destination. Then you plotted your course. Chances are you didn’t pick a long and winding road to get from point A to point B, however. In fact, you likely picked what seemed to be the most direct route to get your business where it needs to be. By focusing your progress, your business is less likely to take wasteful and distracting “detours” or end up miles from where you want to be. That saves time and money.
Everyone Is on the Same Page
Another great thing about a strategic plan is that everyone and anyone can refer to it, at any time. That means all of your employees have a good idea of the business’s direction; they’re all aware of the goals the business wants to attain.
Stemming from that, strategic plans help businesses clarify roles and responsibilities for employees. That means different departments and divisions know how they fit into the overall strategic plan and what role they will play in meeting the goals laid out in the plan. That knowledge can then be further divided to give each individual player a better sense of his or her role in the company.
With a sense of direction and purpose, your employees are more likely to know both where they’re going and what they need to do. Furthermore, they’re likely going to be more motivated to deliver their very best work! Your people are your most important asset, and motivated, productive employees are key to saving time and money.
Cut the Fat
Strategic planning can help businesses envision not only the future, but the business’s current capabilities, capacities, strengths, and weaknesses. This can present opportunities for business leaders to imagine where they could improve what the business is currently doing or where they could revise to minimize weaknesses.
Perhaps, for example, it becomes apparent an underinvestment in customer service has led to customers switching companies. Further analysis might reveal that call center service isn’t making use of the latest technological advances to deliver superior service. That could mean you revisit both the IT budget and the customer service budget in order to ensure both teams have the resources to upgrade service.
That might sound like it costs more at first, but by integrating customer service and IT, you’ll improve capabilities and capacities, deliver better customer service, and probably reduce duplication of work between the two departments. That saves both time and money.