5 Rules for Making a Strategic Business Plan
You’ve already got an organization. Now you need a strategic business plan.
A strategic business plan is a trail map for everyone on your team to follow. It helps you all stay focused on the same destination point.
A strategic plan allows you to be proactive in controlling your business, instead of reactive. It spells out your company goals, explains how you’re going to achieve them, and directs your staff’s actions. You can establish and measure the success of your business using a strategic business plan.
But how do you make one?
1. Evaluate your business.
As you begin your company’s strategic planning process, it’s important to start with a thoughtful and thorough evaluation of where and who you are, where and what you want to be, and what you need to do. You don’t need to do this all alone; consider networking with like-minded contractors outside your service area for best practices and ideas.
2. Evaluate yourself.
Be honest with yourself – are you ready to take your business to the next level? If not, that’s okay – maybe you need to patch up holes in your current processes before you focus on growth. That’s completely normal. You don’t have to grow in revenue to create your strategic business plan. Know yourself; know your weaknesses; know what you need to work on.
Don’t try to outgrow your current revenue projections if your business isn’t profitable. The bottom line is that you need profits to grow. If you’re finding yourself in a low-to-no profit situation, you need to plan for how you will dig yourself out of that hole.
3. Decide on your goals.
Consider your goals for your business. If you want to achieve them, write them down. Writing your goals down helps you see if they are:
The very act of writing your goals down also helps you commit to them. Set your goals however you like – you can establish short-term goals for a week, month, quarter, or even a year. You can also set long-term goals for three to five years into the future.
Start with the end in mind. Where do you want to be in x years? Think about how you’ll get there. What action steps do you need to take to achieve your goals? What comes first? What’s after that?
4. Involve your employees.
Involving your key employees in the strategic planning process will pay off tenfold. Why?
Because adults don’t like to be told what to do. If you make a strategic business plan and show it to your employees, it’s your plan – they don’t have any reason to care about it or commit to it. If you include your employees in the process of planning – when they contribute to building the strategic plan – they become willing participants in carrying out the plan. Your plan becomes the company plan, not just the boss’s plan.
5. Remember: planning is a strategic process.
Your company’s long-range plan must be understood by all as dynamic. It can change – it’s not set in stone! It reflects beliefs that exist currently, but as these beliefs change, the strategy must change as well.
As your build your strategic plan, it’s vital to create different options that can be activated based on external conditions, such as the economy, that are beyond your control. Monitor external factors and adjust your plan accordingly.
The time to plan is now. You’ll need time to implement all the changes you’re planning for.
What are you waiting for?