Strategic Planning: The Foundation For Success
Sales are pouring in at a steady pace. The fulfillment side of your business is running like clockwork. Every order is delivered on time and is 100% accurate. New business just keeps coming in. Employees are thrilled to come to work everyday and they love talking to everyone they meet about how great your company is to work for.
What’s that noise! It won’t stop! Geez…it’s the alarm clock, awakening you from another perfect dream. If your dreams are not reality, that’s alright. It’s still OK to dream. But how do we move our reality closer to the dream of steadily increasing sales, perfect fulfillment, enthusiastic, productive employees, and customers that are thrilled with being your customer?
The first step is a well thought out strategic business plan; one that encompasses all aspects of your business. The strategic business plan is the foundation that supports everything else that your organization strives to achieve. Here are some key questions to ask yourself as you develop your plan:
ü Are you a customer or product centric company?
ü How are you differentiated in the marketplace?
ü What do your customers/prospects want?
ü Who are the customers that you want?
ü Where are the customers that you want?
ü Do you have the infrastructure to support the needs of your customers?
ü What is the organization’s mission? What about the vision?
There are a number of formats that can be reviewed online or in the business section of your local bookstore or library. Choose a format that best meets the needs of your organization and select a team to actively participate in this work. This is an outstanding bonding relationship that can help to align your key employees in the direction that you want the ship to be steered. How often have you thought about doing just this and had the fire drills and daily challenges force your strategic planning pursuits to the back burner? Well, this should be the year that you take control of your business and focus on strategy.
If there is nothing else that you do this year, you should review or create your strategic business plan. This isn’t something that you just whip together like instant pudding. You need to be committed to a focused period of time to create a meaningful plan that will help you reach your organizational goals. This can be achieved over a number of weeks or it is sometimes possible to plan an executive retreat over a few days to concentrate on building your plan. No matter which method or combination of methods you choose, commit to creating a plan that is NOT just put on a shelf. Use it to plan each day, week, month, and year. And most important, review your plan periodically to make sure that it still meets your business’ growing needs.