The phrase “strategic planning” strikes both fear and loathing in the minds of many executives. For some, the process can feel like rafting down an uncharted river, never knowing if there’s a waterfall at the end of the next rapids. It doesn’t have to be that way. Strategic planning should be an exciting and invigorating experience. Here are some tips to help make 2018 your best year ever.
Strategic planning is when you set the course for your next 12 months (and beyond). When you intentionally decide where you are going, and what you will focus on, your odds of success increase dramatically.
A thorough strategic plan can take anywhere from a few hours to a week. For many businesses, the initial meeting session will take 4-8 hours, followed by another 4-8 hour meeting. The second session often is held the following day or within a week.
Unless you’re a one-person business, this isn’t a solo job. Bring in the area business leaders, others who have their fingers on the pulse and those with good insight into the market. Ideally you want a diverse group, not people who will necessarily agree with the boss.
Most teams start with an evaluation of your strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats, as this will lay the groundwork for the rest of the strategic planning session. Don’t sugar coat the negatives, as that will only amplify the risk. Then go beyond the SWOT analysis to identify the single greatest priority you need to accomplish in the coming year.
Now you’re ready to make strategic plans. Factor in other important issues like manpower, technology, finance, sales and marketing, capital expenditures and distribution.
Vague goals like “grow distributor sales” won’t cut it. Be clear on how much, by whom and by when in your strategic business planning.
Strategic planning is both a science and an art. Bring in an outside facilitator to run your strategic planning session to maximize the impact of your efforts. Pros know how to get discussions going, when to cut them off, how to draw out the best ideas and how to make the team accountable. The cost pales by comparison to the impact.
Krissi Barr at Barr Corporate Success has led the strategic business planning for hundreds of companies, in Cincinnati and all over America. The results? Her customers succeed at a higher rate. If you want to turbocharge your next business strategic planning session, give us a call.