As a business owner, I know more about planning and strategy and business design than I ever wanted to. Often the planning and getting to the point where you can get started takes too long and drive me batty. But, whenever I try anything without at least a strong idea of a plan, it doesn't seem to get off the ground.
It is important to stay agile and able to roll with the punches, but having a good outline will save the day. When you aren't sure you are taking the right steps, you refer back to it. When you need an idea of your next move, there it is to support you.
So, while plans may be a bit of a pain, in the long run, they save you over and over again.
Planning For Your Future
Most companies have some form of planning for the future, each goes about it somewhat differently. You may focus a lot on numbers and percentages; I might look more at “things” I want to do or participate in. You might plan for growth or retraction, you might plan for a sole focus for a year.
What if you made your planning more strategic and helped your leadership to be better able to get it across to their teams?
How To Be More Strategic
Successful companies realize the world changes around them, sometimes very frequently. They don't plan for a static world, they adjust with the changing conditions. The decisions they make use the outside influences as both barometers and future predictors. They set goals based on those decisions and then move forward to achieve them.
Saying you are more strategic really comes down to a few things. Instead of thinking you know what you should do, you get more and better information to make that decision. You look at all of your options and gauge where the most success will come from. You listen more than you speak in other words.
Determine what you want based on the best information. Then, plan what you'll do and get to it.
Keys To Strategic Business Planning
This isn't usually a gigantic shift, just a little curve. You don't need to reinvent the wheel, just use the four keys to being more strategic with anything you plan. Over time, it will become easier and you will have incorporated these into all of your business aspects.
Uncover What Is Happening Around You
Take some time to focus on what your teams, individuals, and overall company are achieving. What do your teams need to be more successful? What is holding them back?
Compare your business to competitors. Are you excelling at one of their weaknesses? Do they have you beat by a mile at something? Are they early adopters of technology and innovation or lagging behind you? What is the market doing, where are shoppers spending their money?
Once you have a good handle on a very big picture of the world and where you fit in it, there should be plenty of indications where you want to go next.
Decide On What You Want To Achieve & Visualize How
Now that you have taken the temperature of the market and your internal teams, what stands out as lacking? What are you able to easily capture by focusing on it? What is a goal that will be a stretch but very worthwhile? What does your company's vision align best with?
When you identify what holes and gaps exist and how you can fill them, you will quickly get an idea of where to move next. List everything out and then decide as a company which you want to aim for. Visualize what that success will bring and how you will go about getting there.
Set Goals And Put Processes In Place
Once you know what you want to achieve, set the goals needed to get there. Put in the important milestones and figure out how you'll measure success. From your goals and milestones, you should be able to determine exact steps to take and build processes off that. Processes are boring, but they make stuff happen so don't skip this.
Make Moves And Share Your Vision
If you have done all the prep work, you just need to move. Start sharing your goals, milestones, and measurables with your teams. Get input as needed and make sure everyone is working towards the same point – success. Keep meeting with your teams so you know you are making progress and to help them navigate around problems.