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    A Comprehensive Strategic Plan:

    Accessing a Free Industry Analysis Will
    Help Build a Strong Plan

    A strategic plan is necessary for your business growth and success; it focuses your business on the direction it needs to go. A strategic plan template, a SWOT analysis, and access to a free industry analysis (try to access one from your industry trade association or government sources) are just some of the tools you can use to build an effective strategic entrepreneurship and strong business.

    Most businesses do not build their strategies into a fully functioning and implemented plan. Or if they do, they build it once (at the start-up phase) and never up-date or amend it.

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    Building a strategic plan is a lot of work.

    But the pay-off can be significant.

    And for your business to be successful, or continue to be successful, you must build strategy into your business process.

    Why plan at all? Especially if you don't have time to get all the day-to-day business done! Because planning will provide your business with a direction and a focus; and that will increase the effectiveness of your efforts to grow.

    It does take time and resources to build a plan. And that plan will need to be reviewed on an annual basis to update and to revive. It is worth the effort.



    Business planning will help you:

    • Define the purpose of your business.

    • Define your business values.

    • Set realistic goals.

    • Build an action plan to ensure goals are met.

    • Communicate those goals to your stakeholders.

    • Ensure employees are focused on the business goals (if you don't have any employees, it will help you focus on the goals).

    • Ensure that a business continuity plan and strategy (for businesses trying to deal with disasters, such as natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes or man-made disasters, like war or terrorism) is considered and developed to plan for business disruptions and how to handle them (always be prepared).

    • Develop a business exit strategy (yes, you need to plan your exit even as you enter your business, or if you're operating an existing business, then plan your exit within 5 to 10 years of your planned exit).

    • Measure your business performance and progress, or lack of progress, which then will give you either confirmation that you're heading in the right direction or early warning to take action.

    A plan will also address your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT); which will focus you on what needs to get done:

    • Build on your strengths and your organization's strengths.

    • Identify and handle your internal weaknesses.

    • Take advantage of external business opportunities; for example, assessing the advantages of diversification on your growth strategies.

    • Defend against external threats to your organization.

    • Ensure that you understand your key success factors and the drivers of your business

    • Is your unique value proposition aligned with your service or product positioning?

    • Have you developed a structure that helps you to analyze unmet customer needs and to build a market opportunities framework?

    • Conduct a situational analysis that reviews the present operation and the implications of SWOT.



    Strategic Entrepreneurship:

    Sidebar

    If you're too busy to plan, business must be good. But not necessarily so.

    You can be busy, but not productive or profitable. Ensure that you focus on developing strategy into your business direction; it will help you to build a successful organization.

    A number of entrepreneurs look at comparable businesses and track their plans to help build their own.

    That does provide business owners with an outline; just like using a free industry analysis from your industry association will give you some necessary competitive intelligence.

    But, for the most part, while a strategic plan template or a free industry analysis is useful as an educational tool, do not build your plan as a copy of someone else's plan (do consider using a strategic plan checklist to make sure that you don't overlook key elements of the plan).

    strategic planning

    Each business has unique drivers and success factors that are specific to your own business. Your strengths and weaknesses as an organization are also unique to your business.

    Make sure you build your plan specifically for the business you are operating and connect it all together with goals and an action plan to achieve those goals.

    Building strategy into your planning is more than developing a small business plan; it is about aligning your business planning with the strategic objectives of the business.

    The focus of small business management must be on business growth and success. To achieve consistent and continuous business success, you must plan for it.

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    Read more the relationship of analyses to strategy in your business:

    Return to Strategy.

    Or return from Strategic Plan to More For Small Business Home Page.

    Build a specific Small Business Strategy to achieve your goals.

    Review the criteria required to build a Value Chain Analysis for your business.

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    The Importance of Strategy

    Why is strategizing important to your business?

    Because it enables you to more clearly understand what you need to do to more your operation in the direction you need, and want, to go.

    Doing a thorough analysis and review will enable you to implement more effective strategies, tactics and techniques.

    Results and Strategy

    strategic results

    Definition of Business Model: It's Different

    The type of tactical planning you complete as you strategize is important because it forces you to make difficult choices and difficult decisions.

    (Make sure you understand the definition business model - the practices, and focus, of the business on delivering the value proposition - to engage in a strong and successful strategic planning process).

    Also write down your choices and decisions to plan the actions necessary to move forward (use samples to provide you with a model for your own action plan).

    The action plan is your road map. You must ensure that you are managing the direction you take.

    Once you begin this planning process you will need to ensure that the plan you develop is do-able; make sure you include effectiveness measures in your plan.

    And remember that your plan for strategy in business needs to be reviewed on a regular basis and be adapted as market and economic conditions change.

    The end goal is not the plan but rather the results therefore make sure you have measurements in place to track results.

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    Tools for Strategy Planning

    Start with your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.

    Add aspirations and results to the SWOT (some do SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results) as a separate activity) to ensure that your vision for your business is incorporated in your goals and objectives.

    Conduct a market opportunity analysis and look for unmet needs that align with your objectives.

    Doing a thorough analysis and review will enable you to implement more effective strategies, tactics and techniques.

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