Looking at the bigger picture
Do you remember why you started out in business? What it is you wanted to get out of it? As business owners, we use
our business to achieve and deliver what we want out of life. Quite often we become far too involved in the daily challenges of running a business and very often this leads to forgetting the bigger picture. Writing a strategic plan will allow you to refocus on the big picture and set you along the path of achieving your own personal vision through the process of identifying your goals and opportunities.
‘I don’t need a strategic plan’
This is a very common response that you hear from business owners, where the ‘strategic plan’ is in their head, not written down and definitely not communicated with management or employees. But a strategic plan is so much more than a written document; it’s not just the final document that is important, but the process by which you get there. This process of formulating and developing a strategic plan will unlock new ways of improving performance.
As your business grows a well-defined strategic plan will assist you in how you respond to the challenges and opportunities that are presented to you along the way, for example:
- Creating new products
- Expanding organically or through partnerships
- Recognising and resolving organisational issues
- Pushing into new market sectors
A strategy for business growth
It’s important that all business owners have a clear set of defined goals; when these are combined with a genuine assessment of the business’s strengths and weaknesses they will show what’s important, what’s time critical and what action needs to be taken.
Making these distinctions is important as throughout the years of running a business its owner will experience a variety of differing environments. Environments that are constantly evolving, for example: Brexit, economic uncertainty, government regulation and technological advances are all current and relevant, but will affect businesses in very different ways.
Having a defined strategic plan will allow you to put these challenges into perspective and will give you the foresight into tackling them in a structured way. You’ll have a better understanding of how your business is affected and knowing this will allow you to stay in front and take control.
Common obstacles and opportunities
So what are the common obstacles or opportunities that Strategic Planning will allow you to take in your stride? Here are a few examples that a strategic plan will help you respond to more quickly:
- A new competitor launching in your product line
- Coping with technological changes
- Developing and nurturing key talent
- Managing and using effectively your customer database
Communication and collaboration
Your strategic plan does much more than give you the means to focus on where you are heading and how you will take in your stride the various challenges and opportunities that are presented to you along the way. By working in collaboration with managers and key employees, you will be sharing with them your vision of the business; how each and every one of them is involved and the route via which you and they will make your vision become a reality.
Having a well-defined strategic plan will help you succeed in your business today – and tomorrow.
In our next post, Simon will walk you through the process of creating a strategic plan. We’ll focus on concrete methods that will result in a clear and concise written guide to your goals, methods and benchmarks for success.
MEET THE EXPERT
Simon Chapman – Managing Director The Alternative Board (Mid and North Kent)
Simon’s passion for helping the owners of small- and medium-sized businesses succeed led him to become the local owner for The Alternative Board (TAB) in Mid and North Kent. Having held senior positions within the Fund Management and Banking Industries, Simon has wide expertise in devising and implementing strategies with business owners and their management teams. It is this insight and knowledge gained over the past 20 years that Simon looks to share amongst forward thinking business owners to help them strive.