Putting together a strategic business plan can be a fairly simple task, however, creating one that is tailor-made for your organisation and takes key market influences into account is no easy-feat. This is far more than a box-ticking activity, nor should it feel like a
In light of this, we’ve put together a list of key questions that should shape the purpose and direction of your five-year business plan.
What are the benefits of tailoring a strategic business plan in your organisation? Well, first and foremost, the process of simply putting it together gives you and the management team more control over your organisation, as well as an in-depth understanding of operations you might not have known beforehand. The process helps you prioritise actions in your organisation, as you map out your strategic objectives, define exactly what your goals are and map out how you plan on achieving your targets.
Finally, of course, if you’re in a position where your organisation is looking for additional finances from a bank, or possible investors looking into your operations, having a strategic vision is essential in showing those potential stakeholders that you’re actively looking at your future prospects and opportunities.
Five-year strategic visions, as opposed to a more short-term business plan allow for more lofty goal setting than a more financially prudent means of thinking, so one takeaway from this piece is that you have permission to shoot for the stars – within reason, of course – with your five-year plan, and imagine how your organisation could move toward the future. The plan underpins this vision, and reminds the management team as you move through each quarter what exactly the long-term vision looks like that your everyday operations are contributing toward.
Now, moving forward, let’s have a look at the six key questions your management team should be pondering as you assemble your five-year strategic business plan.
What do I want to change in my business this year?
Before we can properly imagine what your organisation will look like in five years, we first need to backtrack a little bit and take a realistic view at what you’ll look like in twelve-months. Your long-term goal setting and projections will be much more accurate if they’re underpinned by shorter-term analysis of your core business model. It’s also essential to maintain your core audience or customers that will come along for the journey, so first and foremost, map out things you’d like to change in your organisation in the next twelve months. If this includes
Where is my business located?
One of the most obvious, yet underestimated aspects of this process is determining exactly where you sit in the market, and using this as an important piece of context to map out your strategic business plan. It’s never safe to simply assume that people are
How do I want to better myself and my team this year?
This point revolves around the concept of leadership, and more specifically, the fact that the best leaders speak with their actions, rather than just words. If the organisation is serious about a possible expansion plan in the next few years, then the leader and management team must ensure that they’re prepared to do the work to prepare themselves for a new way of operating. There’s a flow-on effect here when it comes to inspiring employees around you, and if they see the management team remaining proactive about the organisation’s future, doing the hard work in training and improving themselves, they’re more likely to reciprocate.
What steps do I need to take for financial security in my organisation?
This is perhaps the most important part of the whole process. Having a lofty vision for the organisation is important, but having the finances in place to make this dream possible is a reality you need to confront to make this whole exercise viable. Depending on how hands-on you are as a manager, this might also give you invaluable insight into how your organisation is tracking financially, or if you’re already familiar with this, it should give you the data you need to give you a reality-check of sorts on your long-term financial future. Assembling this will also save you time and stress if and when you look for financial assistance in the form of a loan or if you’re looking for investment in your organisation.
What are some of the fun, new and innovative things I want to do in my organisation?
If your strategic vision is the end destination, this part of the process is the medium that will help drive you to that end goal. If your plans involve expansion, it’s an inevitability that you will need to invest in new and different ways of operating.Quite often, this is where you see management styles diverge, with some leaders failing to see the benefit of investing in their team and their organisation to achieve bigger, better things. The more conservative of leaders will hope for things, while proactive leaders will act in the hope that an investment in their staff will pay dividends.
What goals do I have for my team?
Setting out goals and objectives for your team is essential in attracting the best players out in the market to your organisation, as well as maintaining key players in your team already. Employees that operate in the absence of an inspiring mission statement and organisational vision are at serious risk of losing their motivation and productivity in the workplace, and in the context of five-year strategic vision, you’re likely to lose the best players on your team. You don’t want to be delusionally-optimistic about your goals, but you do want to be aspirational, and make it clear to everyone in the business that you’ve got your direction planned out, and you want and need their skills to make that dream possible.