When you are starting or running your business, you need to have a plan that ties your current state to where you want to go. That plan cannot just detail the things you will do, but it must follow a strategy that sets you apart given the market conditions you are facing.
One way to think about strategic planning is that it identifies any gaps between a current state and desired future state, and then dictates how to close those gaps – how to get you from where you are to where you want to be. To that end, various factors are taken into consideration in order to formulate an effective plan.
“We WILL be there with you every step of the way.”
Here are some of the elements often included in a strategic plan.
Background Statement – This section may provide information about the organization such as history, management structure, and supporting partners or agencies. Alternatively, you could use this section as a brief business statement – more of an elevator pitch – to concisely describe your business.
Vision – A vision statement should briefly describe what a company wants to achieve or become. This is one of the primary organizational tenets to consider, along with values and mission.
Values – These are the principles that an organization stands for and abides by. Many businesses create core value statements to guide company culture.
Mission Statement – A mission statement describes the purpose of a business or organization. This is distinct from a vision statement because it is not a projected goal for the future.
Problem Statement – Some plans include a problem statement, which can outline key or discrete issues that need to be addressed.
SWOT Analysis – A SWOT analysis provides a foundation and context for developing strategy by examining the strengths and weaknesses within and organization as well as external opportunities and threats.
Goals – As stated earlier, a strategic plan may include long-term as well as more short-term (monthly and quarterly) goals. Objectives should be measurable and broken down into actionable steps, and the action plan for each goal should specify who is responsible for implementing the strategy, a timeline for starting and ending the action, and how the outcome will be evaluated.
Evaluation – Methods for evaluation should be spelled out in the strategic plan. This could include tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and documenting the progress of action steps on an ongoing basis.
Executive Summary – This final summary helps employees, investors or other readers quickly understand your plan.
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