With the global business environment and potential competitors worldwide, every business action needs to have specific goals and purpose in mind to ensure long term prosperity.
Business owners should be able to answer the following questions with clarity and without any hesitation.
- Do you have a clear strategy that differentiates yourself from your competitors?
- Is this strategy reflected throughout the business?
- Is your business brand easily communicated in the market place?
- Do you have someone specifically responsible for digital business?
- Do you avoid procrastination in completing necessary business strategies?
From our experience, businesses who can clearly articulate their strategy, ethos and market position with a coherent process supporting the strategy, usually have greater success in increasing business value, addressing business succession issues and providing work life balance for stakeholders.
In an increasingly competitive world dominated by a higher level of commercial risk, many businesses are focusing resources on formulating a strategic business plan, which is a step-by-step guide articulating how the business goals and objectives are to be achieved.
The process of planning a strategy itself is an important vehicle for setting priorities, making investment decisions, laying out growth plans and developing meaningful action plans that can and should evolve over time.
A strategic plan should include the following:
- High-level strategy: Strategy is focus on the vision and long term objectives of the business and should differentiate yourself from your peers. It guides your growth, assigns priorities enables you to work towards your strengths and away from your weaknesses.
- Actions beyond the strategy: In the real world, strategy by itself isn’t enough. It’s just too easy to develop strategy and then forget about it. A strategic business plan should be based on specific actions that make the strategy realistic, able to be implemented and are measurable in a consistent manner.
- Specific responsibilities, activities, deadlines, and budgets: These milestones are the bricks and mortar of business planning, critical to business success, providing the basis for accountability and measurement of the success of the strategies. Budgets will be key in identifying the financial resources required for planned growth and any capital investment.
The strategic planning process needs to be more than a “good governance” exercise that adds real value. The process should challenge existing practices, foster debate before decisions are made and involve various levels of staff below the board or owners to ensure all have confidence in the strategies formulated and the likelihood of success. In our experience it also results in businesses addressing their weaknesses and taking advantage of opportunities including grants and taxation incentives.
We find that many business owners often don’t know where to start.Having someone external to the business, with experience in strategic business planning, facilitate the process and provide documentation and ongoing monitoring allows the owners to have a greater level of focus. That is where DFK Crosbie can help with your strategic planning.