Article by Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO)
A simple well-written StratPlan will give you the muscle to take control of your business and grow your dream into a successful reality. Many SMEs are under the impression that the “StratPlan” process is or should be complicated, that the subject matter and processes are the domain of MBAs and large corporate firms that have departments to manage this process. Not so. Keep the process simple and conduct the process in a style that fits in with the culture and nature of your business.
Your StratPlan will play a pivotal role in your business’s growth and success because it tells you and your employees how best to respond to opportunities and challenges. It gives you a place to record your mission, vision, and values, as well as your long-term goals and the action plans you’ll use to reach them.
Understanding the importance and relevance of a good StratPlan
Numerous research studies from around the world confirm the fact that SMEs and companies that undertake some form of “StratPlanning” perform better than those that do not. It’s a nice way to get ahead of your competitors and there is a good chance you will be more successful with a StratPlan than without one.
Involve key role players
Input from insightful members of your team can lead to different ideas, often breakthrough ideas and plans. You do not want everyone to be thinking the same. You want to encourage fresh ideas and out-of-the-box thinking.
You want big ideas to drive and grow your business. Encourage big ideas. Even encourage radical ideas and thinking. One idea leads to another or gives birth to another idea. The big idea is there to be discovered.
Allocate sufficient time for your StratPlan day
You do not want to cut the day short, just as you get going. Find the time and a location that ensures minimal interruptions and contributes to fresh ideas and thinking.
Once you have started the StratPlan process, bear these next five tips in mind:
1. Start with a vision
Write up a vision for your business. Include your products, services and your staff. Where would you like your business to be in the future? Remember to think BIG. Dream a little when you construct your vision. You want to find the key that will unlock your potential.
2. Ask the question: “Where are you now?”
Often called a situational analysis, list all the key points that incorporate where your business is at. Include strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
3. Ask the question: “How do we get to where we want to be?”
This is a difficult and thought-provoking segment in “StratPlanning”. Spend quality time answering this question. You may find there are more questions than answers. Not a bad thing, as it gets you to think about your business.
4. Understand your competitive advantage (PCA)
First you need to identify what makes your business different to any other. What makes you unique? Write it down, and make sure that it’s true. The more sustainable your PCA, the more successful your business is likely to be.
5. Write up the plan to achieve your vision
Write up all the activities that need to be undertaken to achieve or move your business closer to your vision. Include responsibilities and time frames next to each activity. Write the plan and then share it with key people in your organisation.