In a post COVID-19 world, it’s hard to remember what it was like 2 months ago, let alone a year ago when you may have mapped out your business goals. As COVID-19 hit, your priorities may have changed, perhaps your business went into lockdown or maybe your goals went out the window.  However, it’s now time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture once more. Your business goals should focus on analysing the past, evaluating your recovery and preparing for the coming months and years ahead. While we are reasonably safe in WA, as business owners, you shouldn’t take any chances.

How can your business achieve meaningful long term growth and success?
What encourages the people in your business to focus their energy on achieving a collective goal?

These are the critical questions every business needs the answer to. Strategic planning can help.

What is a strategic plan?
For starters, a strategic plan is not a business plan.
A business plan is a step-by-step guide on the actions required to achieve an organisation’s short to mid-term goals.
The strategic plan will define the mid to long-term direction of the business, the collective vision and outline how those goals will be achieved.

Chocolate cake example.
To put this into a bite-sized example, let’s imagine a chocolate cake. The strategic plan is to “create the perfectly baked chocolate cake, using the best ingredients to keep you coming back for more.” A business plan provides us with the shopping list and step-by-step instructions that enable us to bake the cake as envisioned.

Strategic planning essentials
Effective strategic plans will incorporate the following elements:

1. An understanding of what you do.
Before your start on your strategic plan, you need to be able to define ‘what you do.’  What is your business’ core activity? Are you able to clearly articulate that as a statement? Understanding what you do can help you immensely in your strategic plan, as you can hone and define your business’ purpose.

2. Develop a mission statement.
It is crucial to develop a mission statement at the beginning of the strategic planning process. This is what reminds the stakeholders, from employees to clients, exactly what the business is working towards and why. The mission statement should be clear, easy to understand and most importantly simple to communicate. A powerful mission statement will unambiguously define the purpose of your business, with as few words as possible.

3. Define the vision.
The mission statement tells people what your business is about, although, what exactly are you trying to achieve? It is important to clearly identify the business’ vision, the critical success factors and the targets and results that can be measured. This will encourage the people in the business to work towards a united goal.

4. Determine core values.
A successful business has distinct and meaningful core values. These core values should describe the behaviours and culture you already have or want in the business. What do you want to be known for? These values should be easy to understand, practical and achievable. Here are a few examples:
– Be safe.
– Create value.
– Take accountability.
– Customer focussed.
– Respect for others.
– Bias for action.

5. Develop a plan.
There is no one set of rules that determine how to develop your strategic plan. The planning process should encompass your business’ mission, vision and values. How your business will achieve those goals and what actions need to be taken, completely depends on the business’ current position. It may be necessary to conduct a SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and implement risk management. This could mean developing tactics or determining priorities in terms of resource allocation.

Whatever is implemented in the process, make sure each action results in meaningful progress towards the business’ strategic goals. This will ultimately provide clarity in taking that next step forward.

6. Measuring progress.
Once your business has developed its strategic plan, it is vital that the implementation can be measured and monitored. People within the business will also need something they can be assessed against. This way, they know what can be expected of them. Business owners and employees need to be held accountable for any outcomes, successful or otherwise, when these programs are put in place.

The ability to evaluate performance and measure success means that management can set KPI’s, employees can set targets and everyone has the ability to be rewarded. This will further solidify your common goal.

7. Recipe for success.
The above is a brief summary of the essential ingredients for an effective strategic plan.  Try it for yourself, or review your current strategic plan to see if anything can be improved or updated.

Feel free to contact us on (08) 9327 1777 if you have any questions about developing or implementing a strategic plan.