The end of the year is here. Hopefully, you are thinking about how to move forward into the next year…what will be the same…what will be different? What do you hope will happen? What do you dread?
If you are smart, you are thinking about these things, but also thinking about the end game: where does all of this lead?
Strategic planning will help you navigate the business climate in order to achieve the goal you are after. Just like in any sport or when making something, you need to have an understanding of what the end result of what you are doing is going to look like.
The strategy is not an in stone set of steps you must take – it exists, rather, inside the framework of your mission, vision and values. It is not reactionary – that is, it doesn’t respond in knee-jerk reaction. Rather, it is proactive – it says, “okay – this or that may or may not happen…if it happens, then I will do that…”
So – I think the easiest way to begin to address your organization’s strategic planning needs is to be equipped – have the tools and the processes or systems in place to do it, effectively.
- Be clear on your company’s mission, vision and values statement
- Don’t try to do all of your strategic planning at one setting.
- Have something with you to record your ideas and observations, as you have them. A friend of mine uses notebooks. I happen to use a program called the PersonalBrain.
- Reflect or journal on things that have gone right or wrong, and consider how you might be proactive with the event in the future. Again, some people write this, others use a recorder of some sort. You have to do what works for you.
- Review these – on purpose, regularly. Keep whatever works within your framework (mission, vision, values) and toss out whatever doesn’t fit.
- Distinguish between wants and needs
- Distinguish between urgency and importance
- Flesh out the ideas to see what really makes sense
- Prioritize the ideas and put achievable dates to them – you’ve just created goals
- Set a monthly meeting to review and update goals, and to look at what other opportunities or threats might be on the horizon.
Strategic planning is essential to any business that is seeking longevity. Even the process of selling the business should have some type of strategy. Make this an issue, and part of your goals for 2009. Think strategically and be proactive.
At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are a Small Business Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].