When establishing a business, your strategy acts as a guide to ensure you achieve your goals. It also helps you work more efficiently, overcome obstacles, test ideas and stay motivated. Truly, a solid strategic business plan is the cornerstone of a successful venture. Here are five key elements to create a strong business strategy.
#1 A company snapshot
To know your business’ future direction, you must understand your current situation. Examine each area of your business individually (i.e. marketing, sales, project management, etc.) to identify what is working, what can be done better and pinpoint future opportunities.
An effective framework to do this is the SWOT analysis. As the name suggests, the SWOT analysis helps you to identify your business’ strengths and weaknesses, while discovering potential opportunities to pursue and threats to avoid.
Often ignored, many consider values to market the business, rather than guiding its actions. On the contrary, your values can determine whether your strategic plan succeeds or fails. Firstly, values help you develop an honest reflection of your business’ strengths and your accomplishments. Secondly, they guide your decision-making, by deciding on which actions are appropriate for your company. And thirdly, values help you attract employees who share your beliefs and ambitions.
However, the values in your strategic business plan are not the saccharine statements found in marketing videos. Instead, they are a self-assessment of how you want the business to behave as you achieve your central mission and goals.
#3 Vision statement
To write a vision statement, you need to answer this question: “What is the ultimate destination for the company?” A well-crafted vision statement describes what your company will achieve over time. This concise statement helps you to:
Ensure everyone’s efforts are unified toward a common goal
Create cohesive, tangible goals and;
Encourage employees, stakeholders and investors to invest in your company
#4 Defined outcomes
Clearly stated outcomes are the cornerstone of any successful business strategy. Vision and mission statements are a fantastic place to start. However, plainly articulated outcomes enable you to identify and work towards the steps to achieve your goals. Expressing desired outcomes helps you determine the steps it takes to get where you need to be and what success looks like at every stage of the process.
When developing outcomes, remember to follow this formula: Action + Detail + Metric + Unit + Deadline. Expressed as a statement, this is how a sample outcome may look: “Expand our national operations into two new markets by June 6th, 2020.”
This is perhaps the most difficult, yet important element of your business strategy. However, without key performance indicators (KPIs) you won’t know whether you’re successfully achieving your vision. Essentially, KPIs track how well you are delivering components of your mission. KPIs are made up of: a measure, target, data source and reporting frequency.
If you run a retail business, for instance, a common KPI may be: “number of customers retained”.
For more advice on developing a successful business strategy that leverages technology and the latest digital trends, get in touch with vLinkD today.