When entrepreneurs think about creating a strategic plan, many think that it is not important for their business. If they do think it is important then they get stressed out by the length and cost involved in making a strategic plan. But a strategic plan for a small business does not need to be long or cost a lot to create. It is essentially a document created to help guide your business to greater success.
Before we look at the elements for a strategic plan, there are three action points you need to take before you start doing your strategic plan.
1. Have no distractions
It is important to take a day away from your small business and go somewhere where you will not be disturbed while working on your strategic plan for your small business.
2. Involve your team
If you want people to buy into your strategic plan, it is a good idea to have them involved in the creation of the plan. Therefore, it is important to have the whole team involved when you create your small business’ strategic plan.
3. Plan flexibly
The one advantage of a small business is the agility it has to change quickly to industry changes. So even though your plan is important, it is not set in stone and if new opportunities or drawbacks become present in your industry you can adapt your plan to take advantage of these occurrences.
Now that we have looked at the three actions points to consider; let’s analyse the elements of a strategic plan:
- Your business’ purpose The first thing you need to have clear in your mind is the purpose of your business. This statement should not be generic and jargon-filled but rather be an idealistic statement of what you want from your business. You should start with the question “How do we contribute to a better world?” and then continue to probe the answer with “why?” until you get a clear and concise statement about the purpose of your business.
An example of a purpose statement for a printer could be “to create colour accurate prints which mesmerises our clients”. This statement will then be your guiding light through all the decisions you make in your business. It should resonate with your leaders, and employees. It should also be reflected in your brand.
- Your SWOT analysis
The next step is to analyse your business using the SWOT analysis method. Here you will look at the internal strength and weaknesses of your company and the external opportunities and threats which could affect your business. This should be done in a brain-storming environment and everyone’s ideas should be considered.
- Your short- and long-term goals
With the results from the SWOT analysis in your mind, it is time to create some SMART goals. You need to consider three to five main themes which were present in your SWOT. With these themes create long-term goals. These goals are then broken down into monthly objectives and can be measured and assigned to individuals in your team.
With all this information in a one- to two-page document you will be well on your way to growing your business from strength to strength. In addition, it is important revisit the plan quarterly or yearly to make sure you are still on the right path and to consider any changes you can make to improve your plan for the following year.
Proudly brought to you by the NSBC.