Strategy has many definitions, but generally involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources). A strategic plan looks at all the things your business could do and narrows them down to the things you are actually good at doing. A strategic plan also helps business determine where to spend time, resources and money.

How should small businesses approach strategic planning? A SWOT analysis is a structured marketing strategic planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A SWOT analysis can be carried out for a product, place, industry or person. It involves specifying the objective of the business or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that company’s goals.

  • Strengths: characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others.
  • Weaknesses: characteristics that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others.
  • Opportunities: elements that the project could exploit to its advantage.
  • Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project.

SWOTs are important because they can help us later in the strategic planning process to achieve the company’s goals.

Strategic planning is a process that brings to life the mission and vision of the business. A strategic plan, well-crafted and of value, is driven from the top down; considers the internal and external environment around the business.

  • Are your competitors talking about you?
  • Does your strategy guide how you allocate resources?
  • Can every employees articulate your strategy and are they empowered to execute it?
  • Some people see themselves how they want to see themselves, not how they actually appear to others?
  • Can you clearly define the expected goals that your company must achieve?
  • Are you focused on where you want to take your company over time?
  • Have you determined who is accountable to achieve the company’s goals?
  • Do you hold regularly scheduled reviews and refine your strategic plan as necessary?

Developing a strategic plan might seem like an overwhelming process, but if you break it down, it’s easy to tackle. As a company grows and as the business environment becomes more complex the need for strategic planning becomes greater. There is a need for all people in the business to understand the direction and mission. Companies consistently applying a disciplined approach to strategic planning are better prepared to evolve as the market environment changes

Have a question about defining your company’s strategic plan? Pick-up the phone (520) 465-5291, send a quick email or text. I’m here to help you move forward.

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