There are few companies, if any, that have experienced long-term success without having a strategy — a plan to attain a long-term vision. But developing a full-scale strategic plan can take a lot of time and investment. How do you know if you really need one?
First of all, let’s really nail down what a strategic plan is: it is a detailed specification of your long-term vision and how you plan to attain it. A strategic plan typically focuses on a business’ mid to long-term goals and the strategies you plan to use to achieve them. So with that definition in mind, the answer is yes. Every business needs a long-term vision and a plan of how you will achieve that vision.
The Advantages of a Strategic Plan:
There are many advantages to investing the time and resources to developing a strategic plan:
• Allows you and your team to make better strategic decisions because everyone’s on the same page.
• Encourages you and your team to focus on the future and make decisions accordingly — to be proactive instead of reactive.
• Allows your organisation to respond to change faster and more efficiently.
• Reduces uncertainty among your team and even among your customers.
• Fosters better coordination among your team because everyone can pull in the same direction (because everyone knows what that direction is).
• Offers you a chance to get input from your team and even your customers. Taking time away from the day-to-day to gather their opinions can be invaluable to your overall operation.
Do You Need a Strategic Business Plan?
However, it is not necessarily recommended that you do a strategic plan every year or even very often at all, depending on your company’s size and goals.
Research has shown that you should consider investing in a strategic plan when:
• First starting a business.
• Making a change in the direction of your organisation. — a product or service change, culture change, market change, etc.
• Looking for financial backing.
Two Must-Haves When Developing a Strategic Plan
If you decide that the time is right for your business to have a strategic plan, great! Just be sure you invest the time and resources to conduct the necessary research and analysis. Creating such a vision and business strategy is more than just a weekend retreat, a little “Googling” and a pretty report you put on the shelf.
Secondly, be sure you have a plan to communicate your strategy to your entire team in a way that will inspire and motivate them to help make your vision a reality.
Do you have a question for Tony re: business strategies, vision statements, and team building? Contact him here.