Welcome back to New Venture Mentor. Thanks for swinging by. This week we’re going to talk about the all important strategic plan.
Many small business and startup coaches and consultants, including myself, regularly espouse the benefits of a strong strategic plan and implore entrepreneurs to spend the time necessary to create a great one to guide the growth of a business. But what is a strategic plan exactly and what are the elements of a good one?
Well, the first step in creating a solid strategic plan is having a clear vision of where you want to go. Strategies are developed in order to help you achieve certain goals, so you need to set those goals before you can develop the strategy. If you want to have a strategic plan that is actionable and helpful, you need to be clear and specific about the goals that you’re trying to achieve. Don’t say that you want your business to be more profitable by the end of the year, say that you want to achieve a profit of $1 million. Don’t say that you want to increase your number of customers, say that you want to increase your number of customer by 70%. You need to lay out a vision of what success means for your company over a given period of time – probably over the next 12 months – and then you’ll use that vision of success as the goal towards which all of your strategic initiatives should move you. As a guide, all of the things that you identify here in your vision should be SMART goals – that is, they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
The next step in building a strategic plan is evaluating what your core competencies are and identifying the market opportunities that align with those core competencies. Core competencies are the things that your company does exceptionally well. This is not a goal, like in the first step, this is what your company excels at right now. Be honest about where your company really distinguishes itself from the pack and then identify opportunities in the market that you can take advantage of given these core competencies.
Finally, take a look at where you want to go, what your core competencies are now, and what market opportunities you can take advantage of. Now, using those as the basis for this next step, break all of your goals from the vision section down into smaller goals, and then break those goals down into even smaller goals, and so on. By the end, you should have a clear path to achieving your vision by accomplishing a set of smaller goals all along the way. These action plans should include a bunch of SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound – goals that all add up to the larger SMART goals you included in your vision. Once you’ve done that, you have your strategic plan – a clear vision of where you want to go and how you’ll get there. It’s as simple as that.
I know that was a quickie but that’s it for this week here on New Venture Mentor. If you liked this video, I hope you’ll consider making a small fan funding contribution to my YouTube channel. If you can’t, no worries, but a thumbs up would still be greatly appreciated. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and to my free email newsletter to make sure you never miss any of the tips and info that will help you plan, launch, and grow your new business.