1. Know Your Core Values and Your Mission
What are the core values of your business? What is your company’s mission (remember your vision and mission are two different things)? How are you building these core values into your strategic plan? Are you carrying out your values as you operate your business everyday? Are you carrying out those values as you deliver your products and services to your clients and customers?
Being clear on your core values and how you implement them may not seem like a necessary component of a strategic plan. But, companies that have clarity on their core values and build them into their work, are not only able to set themselves apart in their market, they are also more likely to stick to their mission and purpose.
2. Lay the Foundation
You know your vision and you have an idea of the goals and benchmarks you want your business to hit. As you look at the big, overarching vision, and subsequent goals, are there any foundations you need to lay? In other words, what resources do you need to accomplish the goals and vision? Do you need to hire new staff, implement new software, train your team on new concepts? Consider the resources you need and be realistic about how you’ll acquire and implement them.
Define what you need to measure, decide how you’ll track the metrics, and determine who is responsible for tracking. By being able to track your metrics regularly and with ease, you’ll make it that much easier to know whether the business is heading towards success or needs to correct course.
4. Reverse Engineer It!
Once you know your vision, your core values, what you’re measuring, and a rough idea of your goals —start to reverse engineer. Work backward, starting with your vision and major goals (i.e. year or multi-year goals). From major goals you’ll next identify quarterly and monthly goals, and the correlating actions, metrics, foundations that need to be implemented or carried out. Lastly, break those things down further into weekly, or daily actions and tasks.
5. Be Realistic and Focus on Actions
Is your overall plan realistic? Are the goals and benchmarks realistic? Is the time-table that you’ve defined a realistic amount of time to implement and execute? Setting unrealistic goals, and unrealistic time tables, contributes to low morale.
There’s usually a demoralizing lag between setting a goal and the time it takes for the goal to be reached. Focus on building actions into your goals and overall strategic plan.
For example, if your creative agency wants to set a goal of acquiring 10 new clients annually, define the daily/weekly/monthly actions that build towards that goal. In this example, it could be contacting new leads everyday, networking weekly, and hosting monthly presentations to increase the creative agency’s audience and build trust with that audience.
You want results, but results are the sum of consistent actions. Be realistic, define the actions.
6. Be Clear In Your Goals and Values but Flexible In Your Approach
Leave room for flexibility and evolution in your plan. As we saw in 2020, curveballs happen! Be clear in what you’re striving for, but flexible in how you might arrive at those goals. Know that your strategic plan may have to adapt and evolve due to external forces.
7. Keep It Top of Mind and Communicate It Clearly
Strategic plans only work if they are implemented and executed, communicated clearly to the team, and kept top of mind. Spending hours crafting your strategic plan only to put it in a document that never gets opened, shared, or implemented is a waste of time.
Once the strategic plan has been crafted, ensure that it is disseminated broadly to everyone. Communicate clearly to your team, emphasizing new strategies, processes or systems that will come about as a result of the strategic plan. Designate responsibility amongst your team —who owns which parts of the strategic plan? Help foster buy-in and generate excitement by sharing why this is important to the business.
As you wrap up strategic planning, set the next meeting dates for a bi-annual check-in, or quarterly check-ins.
Refer to the strategic plan continuously. If you develop new products, start new initiatives, create new marketing strategies —compare them to your strategic plan and assess whether it supports or detracts from it.
Lastly, distill the key components of your strategic plan to a one page document that is distributed to everyone, or put the key components on a poster that can be seen clearly in the office. This keeps everyone on the same page, striving towards the same goals, day in and day out.
You’ve created your strategic plan, your team is on board, and you’ve begun to implement it, now what?
Next you’ll want to continue using and evolving your plan!
Stay tuned for the third post in this series: How to Keep Utilizing Your Strategic Plan Throughout the Year.
Interested in hiring Open Eye to facilitate a Strategic Planning session for your business? Contact us here.