Strategic Planning Basics

Before anything else is done, the most important thing to do as an entrepreneur is develop a strategic plan for their company. Strategic business planning is where you define and develop your company’s overarching vision and strategy. Strategic business planning is what separates successful companies from failed ones. It tells us why we are doing what we are doing and how we can achieve maximum possible success. To help your company get there, this blog will discuss the strategic planning basics every entrepreneur needs to know.

7 Strategic Planning Basics You Must Know

A strategic business plan is a comprehensive plan that outlines a company’s strategic direction and helps it figure out how to achieve the desired objectives. The plan should include an analysis of the company’s current situation, its objectives, strategies, and a financial forecast. We will discuss the basics of strategic business planning  for you here, one by one.

1) Vision Statement

A vision statement articulates the desired future state of the company. It inspires and motivates employees by describing what type of company it aims to transform into over the long term. For instance: “Our vision is to become a leading international house-building company.”

The purpose a vision statement serves is to provide employees the ultimate goal to achieve, which they work very hard for. It helps align everyone with the same strategic goal. It also serves as an important strategic guide in corporate decision making. A strategic vision statement has three critical components:

1.  Strategic Intent: Is there a unique business idea that you want to follow?

2. Strategic Aspiration: What type of company do you want to become over a 10- or 20-year period?

3.  Strategic Direction: How will we get there? How fast do we need to go, and what’s the best route?

The strategic business planning that ZL Consulting experts provide has all these components provided and improved for your ease.

2) Mission Statement

1. Strategic Intent: What business are we really in?

2. Strategic Aspiration: How do we want to be known as an organization? (e.g., as a leader in our industry, as the company that revolutionized the way things are done).

3. Strategic Direction: Why does it make our customers’ lives easier, and how will we achieve it?

1. Strategic Intent: What business are we really in?

2. Strategic Aspiration: How do we want to be known as an organization? (e.g., as a leader in our industry, as the company that revolutionized the way things are done).

3. Strategic Direction: Why does it make our customers’ lives easier, and how will we achieve it?

3) Core Values

A core value statement embodies the fundamental convictions and beliefs of an organization. It represents the non-negotiable standards for how employees should behave within an organization to ensure its success. When creating your own core value statement, ask yourself: What are the fundamental convictions and beliefs of our organization? What actions can an employee take, or not take, to ensure that our company succeeds?

The purpose of core values is that they allow you to set your organization apart from its competitors by clearly defining “who” you are. It also serves as a decision-making guide for employees who are faced with difficult choices while working in your organization.

There are two ways to develop your own core value statement:

1. Define the Characteristics of an Organization that Demonstrate How It Operates. This is best suited to smaller organizations that have less history and whose culture can be changed. For instance: “Our company’s core values include teamwork, excellence in customer service, and a commitment to excellence.” Or “Our company’s culture prizes creativity over experience and youth over seniority– these are the characteristics we look for in all our employees.”

2. Name the Fundamental Convictions and Beliefs that Guide How You Do Business. This is best suited to larger organizations having an extensive history and an established culture. For instance: “At XYZ Corp, we believe in creating opportunities for our employees to contribute to the success of the company within a framework of diversity and inclusiveness.” Or “At ABC Corp, we believe that profit is essential to creating shareholder value and sustaining long-term growth and success.”

The strategic business planning that ZL Consulting’s strategic consultants help you with helps you identify or change your corporate core values. The values directly outline the corporate culture and work ethic, as well as employee morale.

4) SWOT Analysis

Also known as Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, this is a tool that companies use when doing strategic business planning . It helps companies realize their internal position (indicated by both the company’s strengths and its weaknesses) and the external market scenario (indicated by the opportunities and threats that exist in its market).

The main goal of conducting a SWOT analysis is to identify opportunities for growth where you have strengths or defend yourself against external threats by minimizing internal weaknesses. It also serves as a roadmap to help guide your decision-making process throughout strategic business planning 

There are four steps to conducting a SWOT analysis:

1. Brainstorm: In this step, you will want to generate a list of all the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats your company faces. This can be done through individual brainstorming or within a group setting.

Sort: Once you have generated a list of all the factors, you will want to organize them into the four categories mentioned above.

2. Analyze: Once everything is sorted, you will want to analyze each factor and determine how important it is. This can be done by considering the impact it has on the company and whether or not it is within the organization’s control.

3. Take Action: Finally, you need to take action on the factors that are within your control. While there may be some external factors you cannot do anything about, it is important to prioritize those opportunities and threats properly, so you can effectively move forward with strategic planning.

5) Long Term Strategic Goals

1. They Should be Specific: Strategic business planning  involves setting clear objectives for what needs to be achieved. They should always be stated in an actionable way that can help employees understand what they need to do to contribute toward the greater goal. For instance, instead of setting a vague long-term goal like “increasing revenue,” you may want to state it as “increasing revenue by 20% over the next five years.

2. They Should be Measurable: Strategic business planning will only work if you can track progress toward your long-term goals. This is why it’s so important to set clear metrics for measuring what needs to be achieved within a specific time frame. For instance, say one of your long-term strategic goals is “increasing revenue by 30% over the next five years.” You will need to figure out how much revenue that equates to on an annual basis, so you can measure your progress at different points throughout this time frame.

3. They Should be Achievable: It’s important to set goals that are challenging but still achievable. If they are too easy, you won’t be motivated to achieve them, but if they are too difficult, you will become overwhelmed and lose focus.

4. They Should be Relevant: The goals you set should be relevant to your company’s current situation. If they are not, you could end up wasting valuable time, money, and energy without achieving anything significant in the long run.

5 . They Should be Time-Bound: Strategic business planning encourages setting specific time frames for achieving your goals. This will help you maintain focus and avoid distractions that may deplete your energy and resources.

The strategic business planning that ZL Consulting helps you get started with has long-term strategic objectives that meet the SMART criteria.

6) Annual Strategic Objectives

An annual strategic objective is a specific goal that an organization plans to achieve in a year. Unlike short-term goals, which are typically related to daily operations, annual strategic objectives are more focused and often have a broader impact on the business as a whole.

Annual objectives are simply yearly versions of your long-term goals. For each objective you set, make sure there is at least one quantifiable milestone that can be measured by the end of that year. For instance, if your long-term goal is to grow company profits by 15%, one possible objective might be boosting sales volume by 20%. They need to fulfill the same SMART criteria we discussed earlier.

Annual strategic objectives are created to establish the priorities of the organization, and each subsequent strategic objective aims to move the company closer toward achieving these goals. Strategic business planning aims to align strategy with action by establishing measurable objectives that contribute to the achievement of long-term strategic goals.

7) Action Plans

A strategic action plan is a document that outlines the specific actions that need to be taken in order to achieve one or more strategic objectives. It should be clear, concise, and easy to follow.

There are five steps to creating a strategic action plan:

1. List the Strategic Objectives: Start off by listing down all the strategic objectives that need to be achieved for the company to achieve its long-term strategic goals. This could include anything from increasing revenue to expanding into new markets.

2. Assign Responsibility: Once the objectives have been stated, assign responsibility for each to specific individuals or teams. This will help ensure that everyone is aware of what needs to be done and who is responsible for doing it. Strategic planning basics encourage transparency, so people are held accountable for their own parts in the project.

3. Define the Timeline: Strategic action plans should be time-bound so individuals and teams know exactly when each objective needs to be completed, as well as any sub-deadlines that may need to be met along the way. The Strategic business planning that ZL Consulting provides you sets deadlines for objectives that fall within quarterly or monthly time frames, whenever possible.

4. Identify Milestones: Strategic action plans also need to include milestones that indicate how close you are toward achieving your objectives. The strategic business planning provided by ZL Consulting uses metrics like revenue growth, new customer acquisition rates, hours worked per day/week/month, etc., to help monitor progress throughout the year. We also help you identify and use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to understand the influence your strategic objectives have on your business.

5. Measure Progress: Strategic action plans should also include a specific section that outlines how you will measure progress throughout the year, including why these metrics are important. The strategic business planning  offered by ZL Consulting uses your strategic objectives to understand how each KPI is tied to long-term goals. Our consultants help you create a balanced scorecard or dashboard so you can easily track multiple KPIs at a glance.

ZL Consulting Offers Professional Strategic Planning for Businesses

Knowing about strategic business planning  isn’t enough on its own. Whether you have a startup or lead a large multinational, ZL Consulting has experience in dealing with all sorts of clients. We provide you:

– Accelerated Business Growth: which you can expect with higher sales and resultant profits!

– Improved Competitive Edge: the proficient ZL strategists will help your business improve the current edge it has over rivals in the market or create one from scratch where none exists.

– Enhanced Culture of Accountability: The professional ZL Consultancy strategists will make the culture of accountability a normal practice within your company, by helping you take the right steps.

– Established Priority, Clarity, and Focus: Our consultants will work hand in hand with your corporate leaders to improve focus and provide clarity that helps achieve strategic goals better.

ZL Consulting provides professional strategic business planning  Speak to a consultant today!