Your strategic business plan is so much more than most small business owners realise. The majority of small business owners do not, however, understand the value of a strategic plan but see it as a requirement to tick off and never look at again. As a result, they miss out on the value and business improvement that can be achieved through this process.
If it is something you are considering, then there will be two phases to your strategic business plan:
- Creating the strategic plan
- Continuing to implement the plan within the business.
Phase 1 – Creating your strategic business plan.
This phase can be broken down into three steps.
Step 1 – Determine the current status of your business.
Be honest about your current situation. This will allow you to determine the weaknesses of your existing processes. It will also enable you to determine your position in the market. From here you can effectively target your future improvements. How does each part of your business compare to competitors? Are your systems modern? What resources are available? …
Step 2 – What are the goals for the business?
Once you know your current situation, you need to determine realistic goals for your business. This will be different for all owners as success is measured by the specific circumstances of business.
Step 3 – Determine how to achieve these goals.
Once you have determined your goals, you need to work out how to reach them. This will involve tasks such as improving processes or updating machinery. It is critical to have timeframes to ensure your plans are implemented as required and in a timely manner.
Phase 2 – Implement the plan with your team
The success or failure of your strategic plan will be determined by the results. The results are dependent on your team implementing the required changes in Step 3, above. As such, your team is a critical factor in improving your business. You can involve your team in the implementation of your plan in various ways that help them understand what you are trying to achieve. For example:
- Involve the team in determining the phase one items. This not only allows them to share ownership of the improvements, through dealing with them every day they will also learn about the potential bottlenecks involved in the processes.
- Explain the reasons for the improvements and what you are trying to achieve. If an employee is simply told to do an amended process, you will often get resistance to change. “I like the old way better,” might be the primary response you receive. If employees understand why you are changing processes, they are more likely to buy into the improvements.
- The improvement process will not happen overnight so you must remain constant in your goals while you wait for the changes to be manifested. When isolated improvements change, remain committed to the strategic goal until it is fully achieved.
- Review the progress of the strategic plan and discuss the changes with your staff. As part of this review you should celebrate the success of the improvements with your team.
The Accru team is highly trained and qualified to assist you with establishing an effective strategic plan. Please do not hesitate to contact your nearest Accru advisor.