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How Your Business Can Benefit from Strategic Planning
Are you a small or mid-sized business owner? If so, you’ll understand the many joys, trials and tribulations of running a company! Long hours, an often volatile economic climate and plenty of short-term roadblocks to contend with can make it hard to pause and take stock of the bigger picture. However, in order for your business to really flourish, you should aim to get a strategic plan in place. This will help you set (and achieve) long-term goals, keep employees motivated, and ultimately, become financially successful. Here are five ways strategic planning can benefit your business.
1. Provides a Sense of Direction
As a business owners, sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees, but a strong strategy will set a clear path towards the future. Ideally, you should map out the next three to five years, setting ambitious – but achievable – goals that align with your business mission. Having ‘bigger picture’ objectives each year will help you track your growth and progress, as well as identify any areas of your company that need to be improved. Achieving these milestones will also foster a sense of camaraderie within the business.
2. Keeps Staff Engaged & Motivated
Speaking of camaraderie, it’s important to note that a strategic plan will benefit your employees too. Knowing that they’re working in a structured environment with an exciting vision for the future is likely to inspire them to really engage with the company. Where possible, involve them in the creation of the strategy. Assign them goals that will contribute towards the plan’s success and ensure their career continues to go from strength to strength. Nothing stumps creativity like an employee who feels like they’re stuck in a dead-end job with no hope of progression. Sit down regularly with each employee and ensure their goals ladder up to the overall business plan.
3. Ensures You Make the Right Business Decisions
Without a clear plan in place, last-minute decisions are often made that don’t necessarily align with the company ethos. Business owners are naturally keen to build awareness of their brand, and as such, might say ‘yes’ to every potential venture, campaign or partnership. However, if you’ve got a strategic plan in place, you’ll be better able to pause, ask if what you’re doing is in line with it, and then make an informed decision. Sometimes, saying ‘no’ is just as important.
4. Minimises Risk
With business ownership comes financial risk – that goes without saying. If you’ve a strong strategic plan in place though, you’ll be better prepared for any unexpected bumps in the road. As well as a detailed assessment of your own company’s strengths and weaknesses, your plan should explore the current landscape and economic climate, meaning you’re prepared should another recession occur. Equally important to include is a detailed analysis of your competitors’ activity; know your friends well but know your enemies better! They’ll be facing the same challenges as you, so you may pick up some tips from the various strategies, campaigns and advertising models they implement.
5. Increases Profitability
Finally, but most importantly… becoming financially viable. Whether you want to turn a modest profit, or transform your business into a global empire, a solid plan is invaluable. It will help you identify the right customer segments and marketing approach, while constant measurement and analysis of your performance will ensure you can keep tweaking your strategy to ensure maximum financial gains.
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