A strategy is a long-term plan that you create for your company to reach a desired goal. A strategy includes your company’s goals and objectives, the type of products or services that you plan to build, the customers who you want to sell to and the markets that you serve to make profits.
Why do I need a checklist?
Wherever you are in the strategic planning process, it is worthwhile to run a check to ensure you have done everything you need to do. Strategic planning is not complex. Implementing a strategy might be difficult but the planning is quite simple and easy.
Here are 6 things your checklist should have:
Gathered the facts
To know where you are heading, you have to know where you are right now. So before you start looking ahead, you should review the past performance or the current situation. Study each area of the business and determine what worked well, what could have been better and what opportunities lay ahead.
There are many tools and techniques available to help with this process, such as SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. The most important part of this process is involving the right people to make sure you are collecting the most relevant information.
Developed a vision statement
This statement should describe the future direction of the business and the future goals. It’s about describing the organization’s purpose and values. You should develop both the vision and the statement to successfully create a business plan.
Developed a mission statement
Like the vision statement, this defines the organization’s purpose, but it also outlines its primary objectives. This focuses on what needs to be done in the short term to realize the long term vision.
For the mission statement, you’ll want to ask the questions:
- What do we do?
- How do we do it?
- Who do we do it for?
- What value do we bring?
Identified strategic objectives
At this stage, the aim is to develop a set of high-level objectives for all areas of the business. They need to highlight the priorities and inform the plans that will ensure the delivery of the company’s vision and mission.
Try to incorporate any identified strengths and weaknesses into your objectives. Crucially, your objectives must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-related). Your objectives must also include factors such as resource allocation and budget requirements.
Convert your strategic objectives into more detailed short-term plans. These plans will contain actions for departments and functions in your organization. You may even want to include suppliers.
You are now focusing on measurable results and communicating to stakeholders what they need to do and when. These tactical plans are short steps towards executing your strategy.
It is vital to continually review all objectives and action plans to make sure that you are still on track to achieve that overall goal. Creating, managing and reviewing a strategy requires you to capture the relevant information, break down large chunks of information, plan, prioritize, capture the relevant information and have a clear strategic vision.