Having a good strategic plan is the cornerstone of every successful business. Whether you’re just starting out, or looking to take your company to the next level, here a few tips to help you make sure your strategic plan is thorough, agile, and able to grow with your business:
- Involve All Your Key Players
In order to create a truly comprehensive and workable plan, you need input from all sides. Financing, marketing, customer service, and plenty of other aspects need to be considered, and they all need to work together toward your common goals. Different perspectives and areas of expertise may bring new ideas to light, and involving your managers in developing the plan gives them a sense of ownership. This gives your managers a better understanding of how all the pieces work together, creating more of a buy-in so they can better do their jobs.
- Work Your Way Backwards
Start with the vision of where you see your company in 2, 3, 5, or 10 years. Focus on the big picture first, then get more specific. Set metrics like “$10 million in sales volume” or “a 20 percent increase in paid subscribers,” and attach dates to them. Your goals should be challenging yet realistic, and will help determine your strategies, and the areas where you want to focus.
- Use SWOT Analysis to Weigh Your Options
Understanding your business’s strengths and weaknesses along with any threats and opportunities will not only help clarify your overall vision—it can also help you evaluate alternatives and decide on a specific direction. Using the SWOT method to analyze competing strategies will help determine which most closely aligns with your overall objectives and will give you a stronger end result.
- Seek Outside Perspectives
Once you’ve got a firm plan in place, it’s always good to get a fresh perspective from outsiders. Pick people you trust who have knowledge of your industry and will give you critical but constructive feedback. This will help further ensure you’re not setting your sights too high or haven’t ignored any market factors, threats or opportunities that might influence the direction you decide to go.
- Constantly Re-evaluate
Successful businesses aren’t just thinking about their future and how to get there—they’re also adaptable and agile. Markets and economies change, and you need to be prepared to change course if a new threat emerges or a new opportunity presents itself. Having your key players involved in both the creation of the plan and ongoing evaluations will make it much easier to change direction if or when the need arises.
Here are three strategies to improve your business financials.