Strategic planning is key to successful business development. It is imperative to know what your future goals are, and what you realistically need to do to achieve these goals. In order to improve performance, prepare for any unexpected problems, grow the business and maximize profits, it is essential to formulate carefully-planned strategies based on extensive research and backed up by accurate data.
Successful strategic planning means you:
- Have a thorough understanding of the market, including your competition and important market trends, before formulating any strategy;
- Base your goals on actual financial data and not just estimates;
- Avoid goals that are too generalized and not specific enough to convert into actionable items, and;
- Avoid goals that are too narrow and do not use a holistic approach to increasing overall profitability.
Strategic business planning involves thinking out-of-the-box and coming up with fresh new ideas. It’s a good idea to think about the so-called ‘PEST’ factors: Political, Economic, Social and Technical. In other words: the competition; the strengths and weaknesses of your business; customer feedback; and the efficiency of the cost management system currently deployed.
Strategies need to be broken down into small implemental steps; deadlines and targets assigned to each stage of the process; responsibilities assigned to appropriate individuals; and an effective method of tracking the results and measuring performance set up.