Are you performing poorly in critical areas for business success? Do you want to grow your client base? Expand your product or services? Improve your company’s visibility? Set short or long term goals? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then your company might benefit from a strategic plan.
What is a strategic plan? Simply, it defines a strategy that your company is going to follow over a defined time period. Strategic planning involves anticipating the future environment, while making decisions in the present. By developing a strategic plan, will help you stay on track with your goals, while creating action steps to achieve them. Here are 7 key components to successful strategic planning.
In developing a company’s strategic plan, a look at the internal and external environment is an important part of the planning process. A SWOT analysis will address key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
A mission statement defines the core purpose of the company – why it exists. It should be a part of every company to serve as a baseline for effective business planning and so that everyone is on the same page.
For example: The mission of the Jones Virtual Office Support Services encompasses empowering women to start and grow their small business.
A vision statement outlines what a company wants to be. It focuses on tomorrow; it is inspirational and provides clear decision-making criteria.
For example: The Jones Virtual Office Support Service’s vision: to be recognized as the premier leader in virtual office support for small to mid-sized business; to provide professional and effective financial, technological and administrative services to our clients.
Components of the vision can include:
- The size of the scope of work
- The company’s role
- What the company itself look like
- What are the major sources of funding
Core Values are the fundamental values or ideals at the heart of the company that lays the foundation on which you perform work and conduct yourself. Your core values shape your culture and define the character of your company. Core values may include:
- Clarify who you are
- Guide your company processes
- Articulate what you stand for
- Help explain why you do company the way we do
- Govern your personal relationships
Setting goals are a key component in effective strategic planning. Goals can be defined as a written target of where your company wants to be within a specific time frame. Some goals will take time to achieve, so it is important to measure your progress regularly.
Goal setting is crucial if you want to remain successful and competitive. The key to success in setting goals for your company is making sure they are attainable and measurable.
It is important that your company have several key strategies in place for a positive outcome. When you look at key strategies, you are measuring what approach will help you to accomplish your goals. For example, the key strategies for providing exceptional customer service:
- Focus on creating value for customers
- Focus on customers
- Train your staff to create a great customer service value
- Create a process for handling customer complaints
Strategic Action Program
Once your plan has been completed, it is important to have time-lines, deadlines, budgets and performance targets in which to manage and measure. It is also important to identify who will take care of different aspects of your plan.
In conclusion, to determine where your company is going, you need to know where it stands. That way, you can create a strategic plan to determine where you want it to go and how it will get there.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Sylvia Browder is CEO of Browder Consulting Group, a virtual small company consulting firm. In her role, she helps Women in Company grow and succeed. She is employed as Project Director and company consultant for the Women’s Business Center Inc, a non-profit economic development organization with a mission of empowering women to start and grow successful business. She has served as an online volunteer SCORE counselor since 2004. She also serves as a Technical Assistant Provider for SBA’s Community Express Loan Program. For FREE weekly articles go to Sylvia Browder’s Blog for Women Entrepreneurs, www.sylviabrowder.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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