Why strategic planning works

A strategic plan maps out the next 12 months or more for your business – along with the obstacles you’ll face and how you’ll overcome them. If your business doesn’t have a strategic plan, it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. But a strategic plan helps you make decisions, giving you a blueprint to build towards, and preparing you when adversity strikes. It doesn’t need to be pages and pages of plans; this is a one-pager that is continuously revised and updated to keep pace with your changing business. 

Doing a strategic plan on your own is possible, and it’s certainly better than having no strategic plan at all. But with fresh insights and a different perspective, it’s easier and more fun to set up a roadmap to a great year ahead. Most small businesses have vague goals, or none at all, and far too few have strategic plans. Here are five ways strategic planning works:

1. It gives you a chance to step back and look at how far you’ve come.

You’re often so busy working to solve problems for your clients that you never lift your head out of the business to recognise what you’ve achieved so far. When you consider how far you’ve come, it can help you feel inspired and energised for a new phase of growth.

2. It helps you identify your profitable lines – and those that need to be trimmed.

When you want to make more money, it’s hard to say ‘No’ to work, even if it’s not particularly profitable or enjoyable. When you have a strategic plan, you know what work to say ‘Yes’ to, what products or services deserve more attention, and which ones could do with being reduced or even eliminated from your line-up.

3. It helps you set goldilocks goals: not too easy, not too hard.

Small business owners often struggle to know what a sensible goal looks like: a goal that’s too modest won’t help build your business, while one that’s too ambitious can leave you feeling like a failure if you fall short. Outside input can find that balance.

4. It thinks about your future, too.

When you dedicate your life to your business, it’s easy to forget your personal goals. A great business plan will help you build the kind of lifestyle you want at the same time as growing a sustainable company. There’s no point creating a business plan that forces you to work increasingly long hours.

5. It helps you tell other people about your business.

If you need funding, or you’re just networking, a business plan can help you answer all the questions other people have about your enterprise.

Not sure where to start? Talk to SME and we can help you sit down and map out the future of your business in 2016 and 2017 – we can help you put your company on track for its best years ever.