In every business meeting the term “strategic planning” comes up so often the term seems to lose meaning. There’s also the oft-repeated saying that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. There’s a lot of truth about the efficacy of planning. The road to success can have many twists and turns, but the successful businesses navigate adversity and at the same time stay on their charted course. Strategic planning helps businesses stay focused during times of chaos, and also helps these businesses not get carried away at the first sign of success. Use these tips to not just talk about strategic planning, but to get it done effectively.
Plan for the Long-Term with Milestones
The great thing about Google Maps is the directions are very specific, so if someone takes a road trip, they have several different milestones along the way. Furthermore, the directions are specific about how long it should take to travel down a road. This is the same idea with strategic planning. First, sketch out the long-term goal. Then, think about the different milestones to get there. For example, if the goal is to have a certain number in revenue at the end of the year, how much would need to be earned each month? These milestones let not just the entrepreneur see about how on track everything is, but the employees as well. Having these milestones in place allows for the long-term goal to be that much more real, and it also allows for there to be a daily focus with those same far-off goals in mind.
Be Task Oriented
The key to strategic planning is understanding the actions needed to be taken. Goals themselves are simply measuring sticks for the effectiveness of behaviors. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to think about what the actions are that employees can take every day to achieve those goals. This could be something simple – for example, every employee is required to make a dozen cold calls per day for sales. It could be something more complex, involving populating a database and using that database for sales. Turning ideas into actions is the easiest way for strategic planning to produce tangible results.
While results shouldn’t be the guiding signal, results do point to the efficacy of actions taken. When results are measured, it allows entrepreneurs to see the effectiveness of the processes undertaken. The trends from results also show the sustainability of the plan and provide insights on where the plans are effective or not. Measuring results also shows the effectiveness of employees and allows entrepreneurs to make critical staffing decisions. The bottom line is quantifying results allows for adjustments of plans and to see where a business is in relation to a plan – this is critical data.
Don’t Neglect Short and Mid-Term Goals
Lots of businesses understand the importance of long-term goals. These goals are where a business wants to be. Short and mid-term goals are just as important. While some call these goals milestones, there are other ways short and mid-term goals are a bit more distant from the long-term goals. For example, getting the right people into the right positions is a classic short-term goal. Another goal would be deciding what a workspace would look like. Establishing these goals creates the support systems for the business to move forward. Don’t neglect these goals with a focus on the long-term goals. Frankly, for entrepreneurs, walking and chewing gum is not a luxury – it’s a requirement.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Course
An important part of strategic planning is not having a fear of changing a course. Sometimes, the plan won’t come off the way an entrepreneur would like. COVID-19 is a great example of an unforeseen situation. The pandemic messed up a lot of strategic plans. However, the best restaurants converted their businesses to be takeout entities and reorganized their businesses to fulfill this idea. The restaurants not changing their plans are the restaurants in big trouble. However, it doesn’t need to be a pandemic – there could be interesting findings from the measurements causing an entrepreneur to change course. Changing course is alright – as long as course is changed for tangible reasons. Changing course because results are not coming fast enough is impatience, and that should be avoided.
There are lots of different ways to effectively strategically plan. Being in a network is an easy way to pick up new ideas. Network Lead Exchange has lots of resources to help entrepreneurs develop and implement strategic planning. Find these resources @ NETWORKLEADEXCHANGE.COM.