Literature abounds with romantic notions of setting off into the wilderness to see where the unknown path leads. Business strategy is the opposite of this. Strategic plans include all of the details required to ensure a clear, straightforward business journey. Crucially, strategic planning is data-driven, making it more practical and reliable than simple goal setting.
A strategic plan is the set of processes and actions that a business will undertake to achieve its goals. Familiar definitions include:
- A roadmap to grow your business (Forbes).
- A systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them (business dictionary).
- A process in which organisational leaders determine their vision for the future as well as identifying their goals and objectives for the organisation, including the sequence in which those goals should fall so that the organisation is enabled to reach its stated vision (Tech Target).
Using a software platform such as our Strategy and Performance Suite simplifies and captures the process and ensures your performance keeps in sync with your strategic goals. A strategic plan explains what the company wants to achieve, and how it’s going to achieve it.
Using a central database and dashboard for managing strategic planning has several benefits:
- Makes sure that that the vision is achievable based on performance trends and current resources.
- Keeps everybody on the same page and pulling in the same direction.
- Allows for meaningful reviews and audits, highlighting areas requiring attention.
- Facilitates structured growth and development.
- Provides objective data that can be used to monitor progress and achievement, and plan for the future.
What should a strategic plan include?
1. Executive summary
A 250-word overview that anyone can read and understand.
2. Mission statement
A short, sharp, concise statement about what you want to achieve.
3. PEST analysis
A review of the external environment in which you operate, and the factors that may affect your ability to deliver your vision.
4. SWOT analysis
Outline your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Present a brief analysis of how these impact your future plans.
Break your strategy down into manageable goals.
- Articulate your five-year goals.
- Explain the short-term goals and programmes that will guarantee that your five-year targets are achieved.
- Explain the projects that will ensure short-term goal success.
6. Key performance indicators (KPIs)
Outline how you will measure your performance. Identify the data sources that you will use to enable accurate measurement.
7. Target customers and market segments
Introduce your audience. Use your software to capture and explain:
- What your customers want.
- Patterns and trends.
- Areas for improvement.
8. Sector analysis
Explain the general state of your sector and emerging opportunities for growth. Consider:
- The development of new technologies.
- Political change (such as changing legislation).
- The condition of the sector.
9. Competitive analysis and advantage
Identify your main competitors, and their strengths and weaknesses. Articulate how you are going to stand out from the competition.
10. Marketing and communication plan
Outline your communication and marketing strategy. This is likely to be software-based, so identify which software you are using and your marketing approach (for example, inbound marketing, targeted marketing).
11. Recruitment, training, & development
Explain the skills that need to be developed and any recruitment gaps that need to be filled or outsourced. For instance, if digital transformation is part of your strategy, you may need the involvement of a specialist.
12. Financial projections
Make sure that these are realistic. Match your financial objectives to your goals and make a point of regularly monitoring your performance.
Strategy and performance software can help to identify gaps in your plans and suggest ways that your business processes can be enhanced. Having a continuous picture of the progress in delivering your strategy ensures that any issues are dealt with as soon as they arise and will help to embed efficiency and effectiveness into your plan.
To learn more about how our platform can enhance your growth, download Clearview’s free Guide to Best Practice in Performance Management. For further guidance you can also download our Strategy and performance suite brochure by clicking here.
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