Rome wasn’t built in a day and a business also needs hard work and planning to be great. If you want to build a successful business, you must continually set goals, targets in terms of profits, sales or markets to crack and ideas on how you will get there and who will help you along the way. But before those goals can be met, a robust strategic plan must be put in place.
What Is a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan is a document that lays out a company’s goals and a series of specific action steps to execute those goals. In addition, a strategic plan uses vision statements as a starting point, but it also requires strategic thinking to explain how it’s going to make your vision a reality. Knowing how to create a strategic plan is absolutely essential to setting goals and achieving them within a fixed time frame.
Unfortunately, not all businesses have strategic plans in place that will lead them on the journey to success. The good news is creating a strategic plan does not have to be complex to be effective.
Here’s a presentation from our latest Business Blueprint Conference that you can watch to learn the step by step process on how to create a strategic plan:
Create a Business Snapshot
The first step to creating an effective strategic plan is doing a quick snapshot of your business. To do this, you must evaluate 8 key areas in your business including…
How clear are you right now on the vision of your business and what you want to create? If you know exactly what you want, and you’re completely aligned, and all of your staff are on board, on a scale of 1 to 10, you can give this area an eight, nine or even a 10. However, if you’re feeling unsure, then you may be on a one, two, or three.
How good are you at generating leads? How clear are you on your avatar? Do you have three or four different ways of generating leads? If you’ve got all of these covered, then you can give your marketing an eight, nine or 10. But if you’re finding that you’re struggling to generate enough leads, then your marketing might be a four or five.
How good are you at converting leads into customers? Do you track and measure your conversion rate? Are people buying more? Are you increasing your average dollar sale? Do you feel that you’re selling based on trust and authenticity? If you’ve got all those good things, then you can give yourself a high score in this area. However, if you’re feeling like selling hard and you don’t look forward to it, then you’ll need to implement some changes in this area of your business.
- Product or Service
How good is your product or service? Does your product or service deliver the results your customers expect? Are you one of the leading experts in your industry in terms of your product or service?
Once you have a great product or service, then you need to make sure that your delivery process is fast and reliable. So where are you right now in terms of your delivery? If your delivery process is a hit and miss, then it means you need to focus more on this area. But if nine out of 10 customers give you a 5-Star rating every time you deliver a product or service, then this means you have an excellent delivery process.
Do you feel you have the right people on your team? Do you have KPIs for each member of your team? Are you doing annual performance reviews? Could you go away for a week or a month, and have your business still run and produce revenue? These are just a few different things you may want to think about and consider when it comes to your people.
When you look at your accounts right now, what’s your monthly cash flow coming in? Do you know your numbers? Are you practising “Profit First” in your business? Do you have a set budget for your business this year? Are you meeting up with your accountant or bookkeeper?
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, how do you feel about yourself? What are your energy levels? Are you ready to be working on your business? This area is all about being honest with yourself. Perhaps, you’re feeling burnt out and need a break from the day to day business operation.
After thinking of each of these areas and doing some reflection, rate your business or yourself out of 10. For more details on how to plot out these scores, make sure to watch the video above.
Update Your Business Plan
Now that you’ve done a snapshot of your business, it’s time to update your business plan. If you want to succeed in business, you need to make a habit of writing a detailed business plan to identify what are the gaps, holes, and possible opportunities present in your business. In this sense, a business plan is your blueprint for success.
But up until now, the process has been arduous and cumbersome. So, we’ve created a ‘1-Page Business Plan’ template you can use to easily map out your path to a thriving business. To complete this breakthrough document, you need to get really clear on the three most important things.
To quote Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do or how you do it, they buy why you do it.” If you want to build a solid business plan, you must get clear on your purpose. Why are you in business? What inspires you to be pushing the boundaries, testing your limits and striving to make a difference as a business owner?
Of course, part of the answer as to why you’re doing what you do is to make a living. But there are hundreds of different, and probably much easier ways to earn a dollar than by striking out on your own as an entrepreneur. Knowing the reasons that drive you beyond money can be one of the most powerful tools in building a thriving business.
Next, identify your top 3 must-do projects. Instead of having a never-ending list of projects to complete in a month, quarter or a year, you need to have a smartly managed to-do list. This means you need to limit yourself to three projects. It might not sound like a lot, but if you focus on the three most important projects in your business right now, you might find that’s already a lot to take your business to the next level.
Finally, the last step to creating a business plan is the ‘How’. In this stage, you need to break down your ‘What’ into three action steps in order to get the results you want.
Once you’ve laid out your business plan, your next step is to share it with your team and ask for their feedback. Then print it out, stick it on your wall and start implementing.