If you are a business owner, or are contemplating starting your own business, if you don't have a strategic plan, you are destined to fail. The creation of a effecient and effective business plan can mean the difference between having the need to work 70+ hours a week all year long - only to find out that your business is only just breaking even, or even worse, losing money.. Or being successful.
On the other end of the scale, many successful business owners and entrepreneurs who have created and implemented a business strategy generally work for less hours, and produce a more sizeable income and profit margins. You will also find, that in general, those who are successful with their own business, attribute their success to having a strategic plan.
Ok, we've discussed that having a good business strategy plan is essential, but what really is "strategic business management"? In its most basic form, its the process in which the goals and objectives for your business are defined, and an action plan is then created so you may reach your goals and objectives.
You now know what it is. So how do you go about creating a strategic plan for your business?
1) Any business owner should know, and be able to describe in detail, the vision for his or her business. Whats the image that you want your business to have?
2) Any operating business should have clear and concise company values and guiding principles. For instance, what are the reasons you are in business? Serve and protect? Provide quality soap? And how do you do business? Do you treat your customers like trash; or another form of royalty?
3) It would also be a good idea to create a 3 year and 5 year plan. Any business should implement a long-term plan in which the basis is on broad objectives that will assist you in getting your business from where it is today, to where you want your business to be.
4) Thinking not only long-term, but also short-term, will also greatly help your business develop. Each year, you should create, define, and plan specific objectives that when accomplished, will help you on the road to achieving your long-term goals. It is also worth noting, then when setting and planning your annual goals, is pays to be "SMART". Make sure your planning incorporates the following points:
- Be very specific
- Show measure
- Make the goals realistic and attainable
- Make sure they are time-oriented
Include a list of obstacles and barriers which could holter your success from achieving your goals. In any case, getting to where you want your business to be, you'll need resources. Create and define a list of resources you've already got, and the other resources which you will need to achieve your goals. At this point, you should also create a concise action plan that clearly defines how you will actually achieve the necessary goals. If your business has any employees, it is of great importance to involve them with this part of the business planning process.
5) In your business plan, you should create simple and concise milestones or benchmarks, that will define when you have actually reached a goal or objective. This is an essential part of the planning, as it will enable you to measure your progress as a business.
6) After you have created your strategic business plan, it is of paramount importance that it is shared with anyone who will be involved in the process. Your annual business plan is the roadmap which will lead your business and those involved, to the goals which need to be achieved -- but to be effective, everyone must end up at the same goals and objectives, the "destination", if you will. And to do so, everyone requires the same map.
7) Its no use having a well thought-out and planned strategic business plan, if you don't put it into action. You now have a means to begin your business journey; its time to start it.
8) Be sure to regularly check and compare the progess of your business, to the benchmarks defined in your business plan.
If something should go wrong with your business, the sooner you figure out what went wrong, or what is -happening- wrong, the sooner you can fix the problem, make the necessary adjustments and get your business back on track.
9) And finally, ensure that each year you follow the exact same cycle to create your strategic business plan. Dream, Plan, Act, Check. Thats all there is to it.
As a final comment, I'll leave you with this. Creating a business strategy and ensuring that you follow it, is not just about achieving specific goals and objectives. Its purpose is to also make sure that the journey taken to these goals, is a safe and enjoyable journey.
Having a safe trip is just as important as reaching your final destination.