A business strategy planning is a tool that any sized businesses need to reach its goals.
In this article, we will explain to you precisely what a company’s strategic plan is. We will also guide you through the steps necessary to build one for your business.
|Table of Contents|
|1. What is strategic planning?|
|2. Types of strategic plans|
|3. Objectives of good strategic planning|
|4. Characteristics of successful strategic planning for small business|
|5. How to develop a business strategy plan|
What Is Strategic Planning?
A strategic plan is a written document detailing a business’s direction.
It establishes its goals and explains how to achieve those goals.
In other words, a strategic plan is a guide to making your business grow.
The strategic planning process for small businesses is like creating a map. There is a destination (the objectives and goals for your company).
You can also see the best route to get there (the steps your company must take to guarantee its success).
Why is a strategic plan important?
- A strategic plan for small businesses helps your company improve its performance.
- It brings ideas on how to restructure it and thus reach its highest potential.
- It gives the organization a roadmap to follow and helps keep everyone on the same page.
- A well-designed strategic plan allows you to identify new opportunities or challenges. Also, it points out the best ways to face them.
- It can help businesses identify opportunities and threats, set priorities, and allocate resources.
Elements of Strategic Business Planning
Let’s summarize what strategic planning elements within your plan should include:
- Basics of your business (like name, sector, size, etc.)
- Competitive advantages
- Goals and Objectives
- Action plan
- Customer’s profile
What a written strategic plan should include
There are a few key things that every strategic business plan should include to be effective:
First, the plan should include a clear and concise statement of the organization’s mission.
This will guide all decision-making within the organization and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.
Secondly, the plan should set out specific goals and objectives the organization hopes to achieve.
These should be measurable and time-limited so you can track that progress.
Finally, the plan should include a detailed action plan outlining how the company will achieve these goals.
This should include who is responsible for each task, deadlines, and what resources you’ll require.
A written strategic plan can provide a roadmap for an organization’s success by including all of these elements.
Types of Strategic Plans
You can apply strategic planning to any area of your business; it is not something exclusively administrative.
There are several types of strategic plans:
- Human Resources
The plan you decide to create will depend on the needs of your business and your goals.
What are the 3 main planning strategies?
The three main business planning strategies are marketing, production, and financial.
Marketing plans focus on the best ways to reach and retain customers. This could involve market research, target markets, product positioning, and pricing strategy.
Production plans outline the steps necessary to produce products or services. This includes supplier selection, quality control procedures, equipment needs, labor requirements, and scheduling information.
Financial plans show how a company will generate revenue and BP cash flow projections expenses. This type of plan would include balance sheet forecasts and break-even analyses SWOT analyses.
Financial planning can help you better decide where to allocate resources within your business.
10 Objectives of Good Strategic Planning
Are you still not convinced if a strategic plan is what your business needs?
These are the objectives of strategic business planning or, in other words, its benefits:
- Helps businesses to grow, evolve, and adapt
- Allows you to evaluate your business
- Gives detailed instructions to help achieve the goals
- Gives a sense of direction and purpose
- Tells each area and member what they need to do
- Enables growth and increases profitability ratios
- Allows the company to extend its longevity
- Spotlights the company’s situation to find better growth-paths
- Can improve the return on investment (both money and time)
- Can build investor confidence
Characteristics of Successful Strategic Planning for Small Business
A successful strategic plan is easy to identify because it has particular qualities:
Understands your situation
A strategic business plan considers the situation of your company.
If you do not consider where you currently sit, you will not know how to reach your goal.
A strategic plan that people cannot understand is useless.
Make sure you clearly describe your plan and the strategies you will follow so everyone in your business can understand them.
It is good to have huge goals, but it’s also crucial that they are realistic goals.
For example, you can’t have a short-term goal of becoming an international company when you start your business; that would be a long-term goal.
By having a realistic plan, you’ll be able to achieve your goals.
A good plan is not only transparent and realistic but also actionable.
The plan must detail what you need to do and how.
Uses the strengths, values, and culture of your business
The cornerstone of a good plan is your own business.
To achieve this, you have to understand your business perfectly.
Focuses on leadership
To help your business succeed, you must be a leader and not just a boss.
A good plan will go nowhere if the leader doesn’t set an example.
Needs follow-up and feedback
If you don’t measure the results of your strategic plan and adjust them, you will get nowhere.
Do not take your plan as a commandment but as a living guide that you can improve based on the results obtained and the feedback others give you.
So, don’t forget to evaluate the strategic plan and analyze if your business achieved the goals or why it didn’t achieve them.
What is the difference between strategy and business plan?
Most people view a business plan and strategy as the same.
However, there is a key distinction between the two:
- a business plan is a document that outlines your vision for your business.
- a business strategy is the actual game plan that you’ll use to achieve your goals.
You can create a business plan either before or after you’ve launched your company, and it should lay out your objectives, strategies, and how you plan to achieve them.
Drafting a business plan can help you think through all aspects of starting and running your business, from its finances to its marketing and anti-competitive practices.
This document allows you to communicate your plans clearly to potential investors, partnerships, suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders.
How to Develop a Business Strategy Plan
You already know why strategic planning is essential to your business, but the question now is: how to create a strategic plan?
The following steps explain how to develop the strategic planning process.
Define your competitive advantage
Think hard and long about what makes your business special.
To do so, review the internal and external factors and ask yourself these questions:
- What makes your company better than others?
- What makes it different?
- Why do your customers prefer your products or services rather than those offered by your competitors?
The answers are what we call “competitive advantage.” You’ll have to define it when building your company’s strategic plan.
Prepare your pitch
We are talking about the kind of speech known as the elevator pitch.
The goal of an elevator pitch is to give everyone a clear and concise idea of your business.
This pitch has to cover your business model and how you plan to meet your customers’ needs.
Think that’s easy enough?
You will have to do it during the lapse of time you could spend in a hypothetical elevator.
Establish your company’s mission
Here is where you sit and write your company’s purpose in detail. Your company’s mission is a guide for your business’s daily operations.
It’s also the starting point to make future decisions.
The mission statement should answer these questions:
- What exactly is our business?
- What do we do for our customers?
- What motivates us to work?
What’s your vision?
It’s crucial that you also establish your business’ vision. This is what you envision your company being in the future. Your vision should answer these questions:
- What kind of impact do I want my company to have in my community?
- What do I expect to achieve in the future?
- How can my business help improve people’s lives?
Carry on a SWOT analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
A SWOT analysis lists the parts of a business that you can improve and the already strong ones.
It allows you to pinpoint growth opportunities.
It helps you identify the elements you must develop to enhance your company’s performance.
Write down your company’s goals
Write three to five goals that illustrate your company’s mission. Each one must be clear, measurable, and quantifiable.
These goals exemplify your company’s strengths. They serve to mitigate possible weaknesses and to make the most out of every opportunity.
They also help you identify the elements that could threaten your business.
Not sure what goals to include? Here are some examples:
- Increase sales and increase profits
- Offer new products and services
- Acquire new types of consumers
- Use digital platforms
- Improve online customer service
- Create a customer database
- Invest in employee education
- Improve employee retention
Include Key Performance Indicators
The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable values.
A company uses KPIs to define its performance concerning the established goals.
A Key Performance Indicator must have verified information.
In addition, they should be able to put the company’s goals in context.
Establish your customer’s profile
To build your customer’s profile, answer questions such as:
- What motivates your clients?
- What do they need?
- What characteristics define them?
- What added value can you offer them?
- What can your business do to attract more clients?
Analyze your company’s sector
Carry on an analysis of the industry and the business environment to which your company belongs.
Find out if the market is increasing or if there are any growth opportunities.
Next, list your competitors, including their strengths and weaknesses.
Integrate your team
For this step, ensure you can count on the human resources needed to carry out the actions detailed in your plan. Make a list of all your team members.
Finish with an outline of the professional profile of prospective employees that could help you achieve your goals.
Never stop planning!
You must make a habit of your strategic planning.
First, make sure everyone in your company knows the plan. Set meetings to check the progress of the plan.
If your business didn’t achieve the goals, make adjustments to correct the course of your company.
This will help you adapt to changes in the market and envelop strategic management all over the company.
Review and adapt your small business strategy at least once a year.
Business Strategy Plan Examples
Business model canvas
The business model canvas is a tool that helps entrepreneurs and businesses map out their strategies.
It’s divided into nine sections representing a key business element.
The business model canvas aims to help businesses identify and articulate their value proposition, key resources and capabilities, target customers, and channels for reaching them.
A balanced scorecard is a tool businesses use to measure their performance against predetermined objectives.
It’s divided into four quadrants, each representing a different area of focus. The quadrants are financial, customer, internal process, learning, and growth.
The SWOT analysis aims to help businesses understand their competitive position and make strategic decisions about how to grow their business.
Now You’re Ready to Write a Strategic Plan!
A company’s strategic plan doesn’t have to be perfect or even finished to be put into practice.
After all, it’s a dynamic document that you should update as your company grows or the market evolves.
In any case, it’s always better to have a draft of a plan than no plan at all!
At Camino Financial, we always strive to fulfill our motto, “No Business Left Behind.” That’s what drives us to write articles like this to help business owners grow and thrive. So if you want to learn more, keep reading:20 ways to grow a business with a loan
What’s the difference between a strategic plan and an operational plan?
The strategic plan usually has medium or long-term objectives and strategies.
The operating plan, or Annual Operating Plan (POA), is more short-term, usually not more than one year. It includes the daily, weekly, or monthly actions to achieve the business objectives.
How to implement business planning strategies?
If you were clear and realistic when writing your plan, implementing it would not be difficult for you.
If, on the other hand, you don’t know how to implement your plan, you should review it and make adjustments so that it’s actionable.
How to make a strategic marketing plan?
A strategic marketing plan has very similar steps to the ones listed in this article:
What are the 7 steps of strategic planning?
The seven steps of strategy formulation are:
What are the strategic planning models?
The two most common strategic planning models are the top-down and the bottom-up models.
The top-down model is when a company’s senior management team creates a plan and then delegates it down to the lower levels of the company. The bottom-up model is when lower-level employees develop ideas for improvement and then present them to their managers, who create a plan from there.