The Complete Guide to Strategic Planning in 10 Easy Steps
A strategic plan is an essential tool to help your business grow and achieve success. If you think you don’t have time to create a strategic plan, this article sets out 10 easy steps to help you. Follow these steps in order, setting aside a little time each day to tackle one, and before you know it, you’ll have a strategic plan that becomes your road map for success.
#1—Create a mission statement
This is your reason for being in business. It’s an expression of your company’s purpose and what you seek to accomplish. It also lays out the manner in which you conduct business.
#2—Write your vision statement
Sometimes your vision statement gets mixed in with your mission statement, but it’s a separate conclusion. Your vision for your company is where you want to be in the future. What do you expect your company to look like in five years, ten years, etc.?
#3—Define your company’s values
Expressed in a statement, your values are the unique core beliefs that set your company apart. Values are what you’re passionate about, and they’re guides to every step you take and every decision you make. They’re part of your company’s DNA and they never change.
#4—Perform a SWOT analysis
If you’ve been living in seclusion and haven’t heard of a SWOT analysis, it’s fairly straight forward. “S” stands for your company’s strengths, what you’re particularly good at. “W” is your weaknesses, what you need to improve upon or what your competitors are doing better. “O” are your opportunities that you want to take advantage of, and “T” are the threats your business is facing that you need to manage.
#5—Document your competitive advantage
What do you do better than the competition? What are you the best at? This is an important step because it might change with time, so it’s a good way to measure your progress and growth year after year.
#6—Brainstorm your long-term strategic objectives
Focus on long-term strategic areas that will help you achieve your company’s vision. It’s what you need to do in the next three years or longer to move closer to your vision statement.
#7—Determine your strategies
Your strategies are the general ways you intend to achieve your company’s vision. They’re the means or methods by which you’ll tackle your long-term strategic objectives.
#8—Set your short-term goals
Similar to your long-term strategic objectives, your short-term goals should focus on specific objectives that you want to accomplish within a one- to two-year timeframe. Unlike long-term objectives, they are much more specific, stating what, when, and who. They must also be measurable.
#9—Plan your action items
These are the specific details explaining how your goals will be accomplished. They take your strategies and move them from plans to operations. Action items are assigned to a team or an individual and are measurable.
Measure your key performance indicators, your company’s performance against monthly/quarterly/yearly targets, and your financial performance as you implement your strategies and work towards your goals.
The key to a successful strategic plan
Your strategic plan should be a living, breathing, dynamic document that you visit often, revising and tweaking as your company changes and grows. The best way to achieve this is to use a Check out strategic planning tool that captures your planning process from the very first step and helps you measure, track, collaborate, and share ideas and plans with your team.
Look for a robust strategic planning platform that offers more than just a pretty roadmap or timeline. You want a program that lets you collaborate with team members, track tasks and assign responsibilities, measure your progress, track your budget, and share and present information with stakeholders in a uniquely visual way.
The Hutwork difference
Hutwork is the only team collaboration, timeline creating, strategic planning software platform that lets you plan, communicate, and track your plan easily. Track milestones and individual tasks, share and celebrate strategic achievements, and constantly collaborate with your team on ways to move your company’s strategic plan from ideation to fruition.
Check out www.hutwork.com today to see the difference a comprehensive road mapping and planning tool can make in your strategic planning process.