Documenting a strategy for your business will provide much needed direction and clarity for all stakeholders. However, creating a plan can seem overwhelming but it needn't be, you just need to break it down into a few easy steps.
Begin with deciding on what you want your business to achieve. When you compile your objectives it’s important that they’re not too general. Broad statements that you can’t measure won’t help keep your business on track.
To ensure you're able to measure the progress of your business objectives include specific performance indicators such as:
- Two percent increase in sales over last year.
- Average customer spend to increase from $8 to $12.
- Own 5 percent of the market.
Following on from your objective setting, you should determine the characteristics of your business. Consider the following:
- What will you sell and to who?
- Can your business compete in the current market?
- Is the management team able to effectively lead the business to success?
- How do you want the business to be perceived by the market?
Once you have an outline of the strategy you can then develop it in much greater detail with other relevant members of your team. Aim to bed down a plan for the next twelve months as a minimum.
Plan for Action
Of course a strategy is useless if there is no action-plan with deadlines attached to it. Take the time to develop tactics that support your overall strategy and assign tasks to appropriately skilled staff with tight timeframes for completion.
Consider all Areas
It’s imperative that the individual responsible for managing the financial side of the business signs off on and keeps track of costs associated with the strategy and day-to-day business transactions. Properly managing things such as cash flow and staff wages are critical to the ongoing viability of your business.
Along with finance, you will need to also build plans around marketing, stock control, logistics and personnel to name a few. First creating a business plan that encompasses the strategic direction of the business provides the platform from which all other plans can be built. When all areas of the organization are in support of the overall company direction, things will run more efficiently.
Post Implementation Review
It’s important to look over your strategy at least every six months with an emphasis on reviewing how the actual results to-date measure up against the projected results. Meetings, planning and strategy are not always the most exciting part of running a business but remember, big business or small, creating a plan will improve the chances of your business surviving over the long-term.
About the author: Based on years of strategic business management and leadership experience, Michelle Adams brings real world expertise to the virtual online business platform. Michelle is co-founder of VredVoice.com, which publishes quality information about making money online.