Many believe small and medium sized businesses only need a strategic plan at start-up. In reality, strategic planning can be key to your success throughout the entire lifecycle of your business. Here are some reasons you need to get started on your strategic plan today:
- A strategic plan can help you prioritize. A complete, thoughtful strategic plan is one of the most valuable tools in helping you reach your long-term goals. It gives you clarity around your business direction by defining your objectives and mapping out strategies to achieve your goals. It also helps you to manage possible bumps in the road instead of being sidetracked by them. This means that you can focus your resources and energy on what you need to do.
- A strategic plan can give you control over your business. Developing your strategic plan establishes benchmarks that provide reference points to evaluate the progress of your business. Where were expectations exceeded? Where did the strategy fall short? Taking the time out of your strategic to plan will help you stay organized, on track and committed to your long term goals and will pay off in the long run.
- A strategic plan is a valuable communication tool. Your strategic plan is your most important and useful communication tool in engaging your employees and your business partners. It enables you to speak concisely about your company describing what you do, who your competitors are, your 3-5 year plan. When shared, it helps foster alignment among the team and get everyone on the same page working together to move the business forward. Take the time to keep it up to date and share it with anyone who has an impact on your company’s success.
The planning process helps you learn about the different forces and factors that may affect your success. If you’re already in business, it helps you to step back and look at what’s working and what you can improve on. Instead of worrying about the future, a strategic plan helps to give you a sense of control over your business and your livelihood.
It’s important to have a strategic plan, but it’s just as important to keep it up to date
A strategic plan is not a document you create once and store in your bottom drawer. It’s a living guide that you should develop as your business grows and changes. Successful businesses review and update their strategic plan when circumstances change. It is a good practice to review your strategic plan quarterly.
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