5 Steps to Strategic Planning for your Organisation

In this guide we share a summary of the approach we use with many of our clients to strategically plan the year ahead, be it January – December, or April – March. Our Strategic Planning tools are usually run for individuals organisations, but we do run group workshops periodically.

If you find it useful, please feel free to email us your comments Info@NAConsultingco.uk or follow NAC on any of its Social Media platforms.

Why put together a Business Plan?

Your business plan is not just for the bank manager or an investor. It should be the guidebook that keeps your business operations on track, working towards the defined goals and objectives that the Board of Directors have signed up to. Without a Business Plan, it’s very easy for people to become ineffective. Now we are not saying that the Business Plan can only be updated annually, it can evolve during the year, but it should be a deliberate decision to change direction.

Also note, we are not saying what format the business plan should be in, it can be a 1 Page document or more detailed, it all depends on how deeply you want to plan and control.

So where are you right now?

Maybe you are stepping way back and spending a lot of time planning, you could be accused of becoming a Dreamer. Too much planning and no action is not good.

Maybe you are full of energy and keen to do a lot of action with any thought, this can lead to Busy Fool syndrome. Too much action and no planning is not good either.

If you are doing neither, you could be a Lost Sheep, looking for some direction … .. well any direction to get at least get going.

Having a mixture of Action and Planning is the best way to optimise your resources to ensure you are moving in the right direction, this is how to become a High Achiever. Make sure you take time to do some planning and ensure that the Planning puts into place a series of targets and milestones for each quarter of the year, as then you have targets that you have to try and reach every 90 days.

So all you High Achievers our there, here are the 5 steps you need to follow in order to put your plan together.

Step 1: Confirm your purpose and objectives for 2017

It can sometimes be more difficult than you think to put in place Objectives for the year ahead. I always start with some simple measures and go from there.

Here are a few examples of Objectives you may want to consider.

  • Number of Customers
  • Turnover
  • Number of products / markets
  • Customer Satisfaction rating
  • Average profit margin
  • Conversion ratio
  • Product returns

For each Objective, make it very clear and specific, so rather than say “lower product returns”, include a metric like “keep product returns to below 2%” and this way you have a more specific target to aim for. Don’t just focus on Sales/Growth items, also consider operational targets around your business operations and your staff.

Step 2: Profile your target customer

Be clear on who you focussing your attention on. There are 65million people in the UK and 5 million registered companies, surely you cannot be targeting everyone?

Think clearly about who your ideal customer is, if you are in B2B, maybe the size of the organisation and the industry they operate in. In B2C, think about age, preferences, likes and dislikes of the person you are going to target. By doing this, you are not only getting clarity on who you want to reach, but you should also be listing down those who are not in your target and so you do not have to spend any marketing budget on them.

Step 3: Decide how you are going to operate

So now we know what we want to achieve and who we are going to focus on, lets now decide on how we are going to operate. Will we continue following the processes and procedures as 2016. Do we need to change any of our approaches, tools or tactics. Maybe we need to reconsider our partners, suppliers or collaborators and bring in new people to work with us?

As an example, for marketing, are we going to follow the same approach, or will be need a new plan to reach our target customer in 2017? Will we be doing more of some activities and less of others?

Step 4: Confirm the resources/assets you need to have in place to achieve these targets

Step 4 is possibly the easiest of the 5 steps, all you need to do is think about what you need to achieve the things you have decided in Steps 1,2,3. Think about whether you need any special equipment, relationship, asset or other resource. This list is important, because if you want to achieve your objectives, you need to be clear right now, what things you will need. From that list be clear, what do you currently have and what you will need to get hold of.

Step 5: Confirm a list of milestones that will take you to your targets.

The final step in the process is make a sequential list, in a timeline of what milestones you need to hit in order to get there. For this step, it’s a good idea to draw up your milestones on a A4 paper, landscape style. Fold the paper into 4 sections, representing each quarter of the year.

Now draw a circle to represent each milestone date you want to work towards. Having identified the milestones and the dates, work backwards, what do you need to do, in order to reach this milestone. Suddenly you have created a plan for yourself.

Hopefully you have found this guide helpful, don’t forget to let us have your comments and feedback back, by emailing info@NAConsulting.co.uk

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