At the heart of every successful organisation is a robust strategic plan. These need to change over time to adapt to fluctuating market conditions. A strategic planning audit and review is a useful exercise for ensuring your goals are still relevant and your strategic plan serves its purpose.
With 2019 drawing to a close, many businesses are taking the opportunity to benchmark progress against their goals and their organisational KPIs, and readjusting priorities as necessary. Should you be doing likewise?
Strategic planning software
A strategic plan outlines a company’s goals and the steps that will be taken to achieve them. Plans have multiple purposes. They articulate:
- The current position of the organisation.
- The direction that it is heading in.
- The steps that will be taken to reach long-term and short-term goals.
Strategic plans therefore need to be practical, relevant, achievable, and measurable.
Using software, such as our Strategy and Performance Suite, can help businesses create, manage, monitor and audit their overall strategic plan, as well as subsidiary plans for individual departments and teams.
Using software for strategic planning puts all your organisational data at your fingertips, helping you make intelligent business decisions and also automating many of the ‘number crunching’ tasks involved with making forecasts. A good platform also simplifies reporting, allowing you to communicate your strategy clearly to your stakeholders by means of customisable graphs, charts and diagrams.
Many businesses routinely update their strategic plan, and we recommend starting with a regular review of your plan in order to pinpoint areas for improvement.
A strategic plan must be both practical and robust. It should have:
- Clear focus and direction.
- A structured approach.
- The correct tools for planning, tracking, and managing projects and targets.
- Staff and stakeholder engagement.
Different organisations have different requirements, so every strategic plan will vary. However, most strategic plans include eight foundational elements. The following list gives examples of what to include:
This should be clearly articulated so that all stakeholders can understand it.
2. Top-level objectives
This is the equivalent of your organisation’s strategic ‘to-do’ list and should be organised in terms of priority. Objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-scaled).
3. Target market and market segments
Your current audience needs to be visible and understood, and your proposed market pathway articulated.
Who is visiting your website? Why? How often? Are customers able to interact with you as necessary? Do leads convert to purchases? This data should be visible in your strategic plan.
To gain an advantage, you need to know everything about the competition. Include in-depth information about who your competition is, their current performance, and how you plan to outshine them.
6. Guiding policies
Do you have a rulebook that guides decision-making? What information are you using to make decisions? How many review systems do you have in place? Do you have the correct balance between flexibility and stability? Your strategic plan should explain your methodology.
7. Business opportunities
Your plan should show your future goals. Make sure that these are grounded in reality rather than hope. Outline clear gaps and explain how your business intends to respond to them.
Carry out a Porter’s Five Forces assessment to identify internal and external threats. Analyse these in relation to your strategic goals and proposed pathways and offer plans of action.
Strategic plans are an excellent way to infuse your organisational strategy with a realistic roadmap to your end goal. If you would like to ensure that you are on the right track – and that you have the best tools at your disposal – call us today to discuss how our Strategy and Performance Suite can help you get the most from your strategic plan.
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