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7 Strategic Planning Steps to Make Your Company a Future Success

By Lawrence Chester

Are you missing Strategic Planning?

A man sits at his desk going over paperwork and planning for the future.Let’s quickly get through the first three items in any strategic plan.  Here’s a quick review.  These are key to making sure that everyone in your company is on the same page.

  • Vision and Mission Statement – Why do you exist, and what is it that you provide to the marketplace?
  • SWOT Analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
  • Setting SMART Goals – It’s not enough to just have goals, They need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound.

But once you have these First Three Elements developed within your company, here are 7 strategic activities you need to consider to make your business stronger in the future:

  1. Market Analysis: Understand the world in which your company operates.  Just because you’ve defined it once, doesn’t mean that you’re done.  You need to continuously reassess your environment to identify emerging trends, customer needs and competitors.  The market isn’t static.  The economic environment is changing, along with your customers and your competition.  You need to keep all of these factors in mind as you adjust your company to meet the changes that are happening all around you.
  2. Financial Planning: Develop a robust financial plan.  That plan will include not just looking at the future, but also planning for the present.   It includes budgeting – creating the financial plan that you expect will direct your company during the next year;  forecasting – actually predicting what will happen to the company based on historical trends and prior performance;  managing cash flow – projecting levels of cash availability for your company, including not only the money that you have in the bank now, but your expected cash receipts and expenditures on an ongoing basis.
  3. Risk Management: Identify the potential risks that your company is going to face and develop strategies to mitigate them.  Consider the loss of key customers, pricing pressure from your competition, difficulties with your supply chain, loss of key employees, changes in the economic environment, suits from disgruntled employees, or unhappy customers.  Your plan to reduce those risks might include diversifying revenue streams, locating alternate suppliers, implementing cybersecurity measures, hiring part time people, purchasing insurance to protect yourself against some risks or establishing alternate sources of funding.
  4. Technology Integration: Every company is using computer software, but experience shows that fully embracing technology is difficult.  Everything from assuring effective cyber-protection to finding ways of automating processes may be difficult to fully implement.  It’s important to embrace technology to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and enhance customer experience. This might involve adopting new software, or leveraging data analytics, but at its most basic level, it’s using your existing technology to the fullest.  Why do something manually if your systems can do it for you?
  5. Talent Development: One of the more difficult issues that entrepreneurs face is finding, training and retaining quality staff.  Since the pandemic, it has become more and more difficult to locate qualified staff.  Make the effort to not just recruit staff but train them and provide them with an environment that keeps them committed to working with you.  Building a skilled and motivated team is essential for driving innovation, delivering quality products/services, and sustaining growth.
  6. Customer Relationship Management: The old adage that it’s much cheaper to keep clients than to find new ones is still true today.  So, focus on building strong relationships with customers by delivering value, providing excellent service, and soliciting feedback. Communication is the key to not only making sure that they know the value that you’re providing, but it allows you to adjust to the changing needs and desires of your clients.  As you continue to strengthen your position as a trusted advisor, you become more than just someone that is single focused.  In addition, loyal customers are a solid source of new clients, as they explain how you have served them, and addressed their challenges.
  7. Ensuring scalability is crucial for meeting the growing needs of a business. Here are five things a business owner can do to achieve scalability:
  • Standardize Processes: Establish standardized processes and procedures across all aspects of the business. Documenting workflows and best practices ensures consistency and efficiency, making it easier to scale operations without sacrificing quality, and protecting you in the face of critical staff leaving for what they consider greener pastures.
  • Invest in Scalable Technology: Adopt technology solutions that can grow with the business. This includes cloud-based software and automation tools. Such technology enables flexibility, scalability, and improved performance as the business expands. But even more critical is completely implementing technology that you already own.  Partial implementations can create bottlenecks and stymie future growth.
  • Build a Flexible Infrastructure: Design the business infrastructure with flexibility in mind. This involves creating systems and structures that can easily accommodate growth, such as flexible supply chains, adaptable technology and adaptable organizational structures. Being able to scale resources up or down based on demand is essential for managing growth effectively. One key part of this is to assure that staff is cross trained.  Not only will the loss of a key individual be less damaging to the organization overall, but as you grow, more staff will be able to take on leadership positions.
  • Focus on Talent and Leadership Development: Invest in developing a talented and adaptable team that can support the business’ growth objectives. Provide training and professional development opportunities to empower employees to take on new responsibilities and leadership roles as the business expands. Additionally, nurturing a culture of innovation and collaboration fosters creativity and agility.
  • Continuous Improvement: Embrace a mindset of continuous improvement. Regularly assess processes, systems, and strategies to identify areas for optimization and innovation. Improvement is not the purview of management alone. Often the line employee is most attuned to the day to day operation of your business.  Staying current with market trends, customer feedback, and industry developments will allow you to proactively adjust business strategies on an ongoing basis.As entrepreneurs, we are concerned about what we need to accomplish tomorrow or next week.  But every day sets the underpinnings of the company that we are striving to become.  In order to be the future success that we desire, we also need to focus on what we need to build as a strategic base for the company we want to lead next year and the year after that.  A written strategic plan will help guide you to your end goal, and we can help you.  Remember that it is a living document.  What you have written today becomes a historical document tomorrow, and will need to be regularly updated to continue to be relevant.
    Contact CFO Simplified for a full strategic financial breakdown or call us today.

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