Strategic Planning: A Strategic Road Map to Making Smarter Business Decisions

Having a strategic plan and set of goals in place is more critical now than ever. With many things out of our control, one of the best practices positively influencing your situation is focusing on what you can control.

In this second of a two-part series, you will find essential principles and practices regarding strategic planning and goal setting.  In our first part, we talked about Budgeting and Forecasting.

A plan backed by substantial numbers, and numbers backed by a solid plan to hit those numbers give us clarity on our path forward.  Moving things forward and staying focused with so many elements present to pull our attention needs to be deliberate. You will also need a budget to reflect your strategic objectives, returns forecasted into sales, profits, and cash flow. Having a plan for your numbers can help reduce risk factors and lower uncertainty in revenue streams and cash flow.

It is also important to remember in planning that you might get into the game and switch course. The planning, though, is indispensable. It is also important to remember the game is not the game plan. We need to be flexible to know when to do something different and not be glued to the game plan, ignoring the realities in front of us. Our Game Plan helps us better anticipate the road ahead and chance to favor those most prepared.

Below are a few things to consider in reflecting on your business and when putting your Game Plan in place.

  1. Updating and Enhancing the Business Model – Reflect on your business model, and how you do business might change. Ways you find new prospects, convert those conversations into business, servicing clients, how your team meets, how you train your team, and how you deliver what you do? How will technology continue to be more integrated with how you interact with people? What will different generations in the workplace want? What do you? Is there anything you are resisting? Our beliefs about our business model and what needs to be a certain way will play a role in our reflection as well. Staying open, listen to others, and self-awareness will help support the process.
  1. Detail Plan on Staffing and Daily Operations – One of the first aspects we all already have had to adapt to is daily operations and staffing. Has communication improved in regards to video conferencing and screen sharing, become more flexible, or more of a challenge? Will different generations think differently? What ways can you use these new tools to make things better? How can you use these tools to be more consistent on following through on your plan, new initiatives, and following through on what has already put in place? For example, one client we coach has had his team work from home, so they have a 10-20-minute call at the beginning and end of the day. Eliminating the wasted time of ad hoc meetings and getting more done in less time.  It’s an opportunity to look at things and ask, “how can we do them better?”
    • What needs to be done on a daily and weekly basis?
    • How many people will you need for staffing?
    • How will staffing adjustments impact your break-even, sales target, or budget?
    • What daily procedures do you need in place?
  1. A SWOT report – This is a standard tool that can be used to set goals.
    • Strengths-what strengths do you have that will differentiate you from your competition?
    • Weaknesses- are there weaknesses that could cause you to lose business to your competition, prevent you from hitting your sales numbers, or cause expenses to be too high?
    • Opportunities-what are situations, opportunities, and tools that would allow you to succeed or capitalize on?
    • Threats of your business- what in the market place could cause you to fail? Can we do things to close the gap and improve our odds?
  1. A Market Analysis of your Industry, Product or Service – With technology and things changing, you want to look at where your industry is going. Talk to other similar business owners in your market. Be sure to research all the facts. Too often, people give you opinions that are not factual. Deal with facts and not opinions, although inferences can be important. In your market analysis, include:
    • What is the current demand for your product? What will be the future demand?
    • How will changes in how you deliver what you do impact meeting that demand?
    • What do you offer that differentiates you from your competition? What is the competition currently doing to differentiate itself?
    • Who is your target market? Based on demographics, what are their interests, age, and the average income of prospective clients? Where do you need to meet them? How will we reach them? With expo’s going virtual and chambers of commerce’s using zoom, how will connect and meet our customers of tomorrow or the sales we need today and tomorrow? How will we adapt?
    1. Financial Projections – there are two types of financial projections:
      • Cash Flow Projections – these are numbers projected for cash necessary for startup and continuing operations. This projection includes all sources of income, including loans, capital contributions, and revenue from operations. It should define all capital expenditures, including startup costs, loan borrowings, repayments, and investments or withdrawals of the shareholders.
      • Profit Projections – these numbers measure the profitability of the business from operations and will exclude some of the items contained in the cash flow projections; it will include only revenues and expenses and eliminate things like loan repayments, borrowings, and cash inflows and outflows from investors.

Seeking guidance or help from an accountant may be required in preparing financial projections.

  1. An Actionable Marketing Plan – Create a plan on how you will market the business and generate your sales. Put a sales budget together, which tells you how you plan on hitting your sales number. How are you going to reach your customer’s radio, direct mail, phone calls, online? Then, what are you going say to them, what will your message be, how are you going get them to be your customer and buy from you, how many customers will it take, how much will you charge, how much do I have to sell to break-even? How much is it going cost you to bring in that business?

Create your plan, then work your plan. It’s the step of taking quality time to think it all through, and this step of building it into your days and weeks that you must be most deliberate with when you say yes and no!  You will have distractions that get in the way at times, excuses such as not having time or money will always be readily available; make sure you continue to move forward despite them.

For more information on budgeting, forecasting, developing a strategic plan, or on how these tools can empower you in making smarter business decisions, register for a workshop: visit our events page or call 262-796-1040.


Recommended class to learn more:

Mastery: Budgeting and Sales Forecasting, Strategic Planning

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