Big or Small, Strategic Planning is for All!

Jeff ChaffinUncategorized

Many companies are familiar with the term ‘strategic planning’, but do not know how it can work in their business. Here are some common questions about the concept as well as some tips on how to implement it into your business.

What is it? The definition of strategic planning is: the organization’s process of defining a strategy and making decisions on allocating resources to pursue those strategies.

Why does my business need it? Strategic planning is like the map and navigation software we use when we are heading out on a trip: we know where we want to go and we are looking for the best route to get there. Imagine getting into your vehicle and when Siri asks, “What is your destination?” you respond with, “anywhere is fine, just as long as I’m moving”. That is a common unintentional approach that many small and medium sized businesses take to planning. Strategic planning can help put direction in your method so you can use your time efficiently.

Who is this kind of planning for? Small to medium sized companies should start to use the planning by having the owners pick the intended destination and then involving the operational leaders to fill out the near term activities needed to support the goals. Those goals should be shared with the entire company from top to bottom. If you whole company is on board, the likelihood of the goals getting completed is much greater.

When should I take this on and how often do I need to tackle it? The most common time for a company to set and/or review its strategic planning goals is annually. The smaller the company, the less time the process should take. The meetings should be held away from the phones of the business during a dedicated time that doesn’t allow for interruptions.

How to make it work? So I have my strategic plan in place and have set my goals. Now what?

  1. Share the goals and key performance indicators: Your staff believes in you and the company; share your vision of the coming year with them.
  2. Keep score in a highly visible manner: Share actual results compared to your planned goals and review them with your team on a regular basis. Ask for their opinions on how operations are performing and how you can all improve.   Depending on the size of the company, the results should be posted in the time frame that makes the most sense (daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly are common in successful firms).
  3. Review as a team: Employees want to hear the owner’s or key manager’s interpretation of the results and the next steps. Do this routinely and your staff will feel much more attuned to the company’s future.

Strategic planning is difficult for many small and medium sized business owners to implement. However, committing to the process will greatly increase the company’s ability to meet its goals and can increase employee and client retention.

Jeff Chaffin

The Executive Influence

The Executive Influence