The Joys of Strategic Planning

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 22, 2018 | Go to article overview

The Joys of Strategic Planning


The beginning of a new year brings with it the giddy anticipation of a clean slate and the opportunity to set new goals. If one of your goals is to grow your business, it's imperative that you have a written plan. And if you want your plan to be strategic, you need to create it with a time frame of at least three to five years.

I fell in love with strategic planning when I worked for a hospital system in Arizona. When a senior marketing executive stood at the flip chart and walked us through the process, I was smitten. I thought, "If this works for a hospital, I bet it would work for me." Over the years I've experienced the joys of strategic planning, using the process to chart my own career path, including my transition from employee to entrepreneur. I've used strategic planning to achieve my goals while helping others achieve theirs.

Here are some things to include when creating your strategic plan:

Begin by developing your Situation Analysis. This is a snapshot of where your company is in the marketplace today, including:

* Clients or customers and markets you are currently serving

* A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)

* Any other existing resources, strategic partnerships and/or alliances currently available to you

Next, identify your mission, vision and values. These are important to document so that everyone understands and agrees on these core principles. Mission, vision and values are the bedrock of a plan and typically don't shift over time.

Once these principles are documented, identify your:

Goal: This is the big picture, the difference you want to make in the world. An example: "To make a difference with our clients by providing consulting services to business owners so that they, in turn, can be of service to their clients." Goals are most powerful when they reflect your commitment to your clients or customers.

Objectives: These are specific, measurable bench marks, a declaration with a deadline. …

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