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6 things you must consider for your business to be a success
A strategic plan helps you focus on the future for you and your business. What do you want to achieve? Until you know, there is no way you can work towards success. Therefore, you need a plan of action, a strategic plan to guide you on your way.
However, it’s easy to focus on the future and plan for the things that you want to achieve but then drop the balls you are juggling in your day-to-day business. Keep those daily tasks up to date as you aim for success. Make time for those mundane tasks and don’t lose sight of your current costs.
Most importantly, as you make your strategic plan for the year ahead, don’t forget to book in time for holidays and rest days – as important in many ways as a work day.
Hi, I’m Anna Goodwin, your friendly finance mentor. With over 30 years of experience, I know how important it is to be strategic and put a plan in place.
What Is a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan gives mid to long term goals and lays out tactics to achieve them. It should be a practical plan of action. A strategic plan is an important part of running a business and is especially important if you want to grow your company. It will help you achieve the results you want by giving you focus. Success is much less likely to happen if you pursue a random approach without any thought to the future.
Your strategic plan needs to be simple and insightful. If it is not clear and practical it won’t be understandable. Communication of the plan to main stakeholders such as staff, investors and customers is also crucial. Bring them along on the ride!
Where To Start on your Strategic Plan?
Give yourself time away from the office (whether at home or work) to think about where your company is headed, where you want to take your company and how you’ll get there. I know this may not be as easy to do if you are working remotely. Maybe sit somewhere different to where you working every day. Perhaps you could sit in the garden, or maybe go for a walk? Even sitting in a different part of the house may unlock some ideas! The important thing is to set time aside and stick to it.
If you have a management team, investors or work closely with other members of staff, you may want to include them in this discussion. However, you may decide to map a framework out yourself first before sharing your thoughts with others.
Things to consider in your strategic plan:
- Where is your business now? Consider how it operates, its profitability and competition.
- Where do you want to take it? Create a company vision and set out your objectives for the next 5 to 10 years.
- What do you need to do to get there? Take account of any changes needed and how you will do that. Does your structure need to change, will you need more staff, and will you need help with financing?
- Carry out market research and competitor research to understand your market more thoroughly.
Who to involve in Developing Your Strategic Plan and How
Make sure you involve the right people with the right experience. You will need people who are analytical but also creative. Remember to ask opinions of key employees, accountants, board members etc. Their opinions will make a big difference to the successful implementation of the strategic plan.
People involved in the process should know what is expected of them. Give people the opportunity to arrange meetings so that they can brainstorm ideas for the strategic plan. However, be clear from the outset about how much you will be able to take on their thoughts and suggestions.
6 Things To Include In The Strategic Plan
- SWOT analysis – looking at internal and external drivers for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Vision statement – where do you want your business to be in 5-10 years’ time?
- Major goals – what will you achieve by when?
- Key actions – be as specific as you can about what actions need to be taken to reach the goals.
- Resources required – what will you require to achieve your goals? e.g. staff, finances, time.
- From April 2024, Making Tax Digital for Income tax is set to be brought in. This will fundamentally change how people look after their tax affairs and will mean that if your turnover is more than £10k then you will have to keep up to date. You may find my blog on Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self-Assessment
Why it’s important for you to have a strategic plan
- Gives you more focus on where your company is heading.
- Reduces the risks.
- Using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will help you to stay on track with your progress.
- Identifies financing needed.
A robust strategic plan will help you to visualise where you want your business to be and will help you to recognise the steps you need to take to get there. This benefits you as it takes away some of the stress and you are much more likely to achieve your goals. You will feel more in control of your own destiny – and that has to be a good thing! Remember, this needs to be a working document that is reviewed daily; not an annual exercise to file away in a drawer once completed!
Make 2022 the year you create a strategic plan which will take you to the next year and beyond.