Have you ever written a strategic plan for your company? If not, it’s time to stop driving without a map and start charting your own course.

Strategic plans have long been used in the world of big business. But today, with AI and robotics transforming the way we do business, and change happening faster than ever before, even the smallest business can benefit from some advance planning.

What is a strategic plan?

A strategic plan is a document that details your business’s long-term goals and how you’ll get there. (A business plan is one type of strategic plan.) Strategic plans are often developed in five-year increments.

However, with so much data now available about your market, your industry and the world,some experstsuggest writing a 10-year or even 20-year strategic plan.

By looking further into the future, you can come up with options for how your business should react to possible scenarios. Then, you can use “agile planning” to create short-term strategic plans (such as six or 12 months out) to drive you closer to your ultimate goals.

Steps to writing a strategic plan

1. Take stock of how your business is doing.

2. Dream big.

3. Develop a concrete plan for reaching your business goals.

4. Decide how you’ll assess results.

Making a strategic plan work

Measure results on an ongoing basis, then review your progress every three to months. This approach allows you to make adjustments quickly so you stay on track toward your goals. For example, if your plan to add locations is not working out as you hoped, maybe you could get the same kind of growth by expanding your demographic market.

Stay abreast of market and industry trends and economic indicators, and adjust your plan accordingly. Keep your eyes on the prize. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.”

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