Creating simple strategic planning steps early on is one of the most important tasks you can do to guarantee the success of your business. Just as good habit forming is paramount to success in all things we do, so is strategic planning. Failing to make the time to create a plan is the business equivalent of traveling without a map. If we haven’t taken the time to determine where we are going and how to get there, then how can we expect to do so successfully?
Each of us understand and recognize the importance of strategic planning. Who am I kidding? We are savvy and intelligent business women of the 21st century. With the right tools in place, one highly driven business woman can yield the results of a small army.
Presumably it is fair to state that although our individual objectives in business may vary, we collectively share a common goal to achieve “more” of something. Whether it is more sales, more contacts, more referrals, or more revenue – the list of “more” truly is as endless as the horizon on a clear day. The MORE is one of the primary motivating factors that keep us inspired and driven to press on against our competition and to do what it takes to make our businesses thrive in today’s highly competitive marketplace.
What does MORE mean to your business? How do you know if you are achieving it? Do you know how to continue to make MORE purposeful opportunities? A great place to begin the strategic planning process is with the creation of a standard document or template that will help guide you along through your planning sessions. Creating a standard strategic plan to follow will help you lay the ground work, draw out the details and hone in on what the MORE is and how you are going to make it happen.
MORE is a simple, easy to remember acronym that I’ve created to assist each of you as you are developing your strategic planning template. It is the “meat and potatoes” of the strategic planning recipe. Since each business is unique in virtually every aspect, so will be the “ingredients” or content that provide you with an individualized recipe tailored to suit your taste and align with the goals and objectives of your plan.
Simply put, the steps to help you achieve MORE are:
1. Determine how (the criteria you will use) you will measure your planned outcomes
2. Create a clear objective of your particular plan that aligns with your goal and desired outcome
3. Establish a purposeful rationale or reasoning for the creation of your plan
4. Outline how you will execute the steps to achieve the desired outcome
a. And of course, define the method(s) for evaluation of the outcomes of your plan after execution
If you are a sole proprietor or manage a small business the reality is that you wear many hats and are responsible for a variety of areas of the business, and because you wear many hats more often than not you will find yourself getting yanked in multiple directions. At times it may become challenging to carve out additional time in your already action packed day to be able to sit down and focus on strategic planning, and it can be an extremely daunting task if you are starting the process from scratch each time.
I strongly encourage each of you to be proactive and to consider creating your basic strategic planning process and template in the early stages of your business or role. In my opinion and based on experience it is time well spent and will serve you well. Your strategic planning document will be a tool you will utilize frequently and refer back to when you are preparing for new challenges. It is a tool that can easily be tweaked to suit the needs of your business as new projects arise and goals change.
“Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.” – Anonymous
Shannon Lauzon is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder of Pragmatic Approach, a boutique small business development/strategic planning/Social Media Marketing firm located in Southwestern Ontario. Pragmatic Approach’s mission is to provide purposeful, solution focused consulting to entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout all stages of their business life cycle. Contact information: Pragmatic Approach ~ Tel: (519) 498-4958 ~ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ~ Blog (under construction):www.PragmaticApproach.wordpress.com