What cannot be missing in good strategic planning?
You know the answer?
Or do you still insist on making decisions, without objectives and without actions focused on achieving them?
That is an important issue that cannot be neglected in the management of any business.
In this article, I am going to talk to you about strategic planning of a company, explain how it is done, and detail its stages and present practical advice.
You will discover that trying to manage a business, without defining the strategy, is a shortcut that leads to failure.
Remember that the competitiveness of the current market demands more from the manager.
Unexpected fires cannot be put out, as they could have been prevented.
It is necessary to have goals and fight for better results.
If you believe in this idea, tactical and strategic planning should be the order of the day.
From now on, you are going to learn how to use this instrument to guarantee healthy and sustainable growth in your business.
You come with me?
What is strategic planning?
Strategic planning is a process of an analytical nature, in which the business defines which strategies are to be applied to achieve the established goals.
These, in turn, are prepared according to the resources you have available to be able to fulfill them.
Planning is based on a meticulous study of the business and how its relationship with the market in which it operates is carried out.
Therefore, it intends to focus on procedures that generate long-term results and on the evolution of the business.
In summary, strategic planning is intended to try to answer three main questions:
- Where I am?
- Where do I want to go?
- How am I going to get there?
Thus, you can already have a clear idea, but I will advance to other points to give you a broader vision.
The importance of strategic planning
Whether your company is small, medium or large, if you are not yet planning the next steps and executing the actions correctly, pay attention.
You may be missing out on great chances to create a competitive advantage in your line of business.
A business that does not clearly plan its actions does not know what it is to achieve the objectives.
In practice, it is like managing in the dark.
And at best, it means getting stuck.
No matter what your purpose is, one thing is true: any team, without good planning in hand, fails to act effectively.
Developing a strategic vision about the future of your business brings advantages for you and your clients.
In addition to ensuring robust and stable growth, it also contributes to generating value for your audience.
In other words, everyone wins.
So why not start now?
It is in the present that the future is transformed!
Developing strategic planning is very important.
I just told you about it.
But what are its real advantages?
How can your business and your brand benefit from this instrument?
I selected some of the top benefits to further reinforce their relevance.
Optimize important decision making
From the moment the planning is in progress, all the actions that will be put into practice must take into account the previously defined strategic aspect.
In other words, any idea outside of that component must be discarded, as this avoids wasting time and money in procedures that do not generate results.
Both are extremely valuable resources to be used in unproductive measures.
Strategic planning helps avoid such situations.
Stimulate the commitment of collaborators with your business
When the objectives and goals are shared among employees, whatever their hierarchical position, the impact within the work environment becomes noticeable.
This arrangement generates a collective consciousness.
And the commitment among those involved is much greater than in companies in which the strategic approach is discussed only at the manager level.
Well, they begin to feel part of the company and to make sense of the tasks to which they are dedicated.
But nothing to define unattainable goals.
These should be interesting enough to motivate employees to work hard – and not the other way around.
Improves the relationship between the company and the environment
As the process is analytical in nature, during the study of the organization and the environment in which it operates, you get to know your competition more closely.
You can also think of ways to overcome them and create a competitive advantage.
It is an extremely healthy attitude for those who own and manage a business.
In addition, by identifying the changes in the market with each new planning, you guarantee constant growth and the company becomes mature.
The truth is that this is the way to go.
Stages of strategic planning
The strategic planning process must be continuous.
Do you know what that means?
At the end of a planning cycle, you will create another, then another, and so on.
As you must have noticed, the creation, implementation and evaluation of the results for decision making, help your business get to the place that was proposed.
But for that, a basic strategic planning must contain four main stages.
I am going to explain each one of them.
In this first stage, the scenario in which your business is situated, or to which it wants to belong, is analyzed – in the case of new organizations.
In other words, the essence of the initial phase is to make a diagnosis of the market, both of the internal and external environment.
Even identify how valuations can influence the business.
In the internal context, it is necessary to evaluate what are the strengths that can be achieved and capitalized in your business.
And do not forget the weak points, that is, the limitations that must be overcome in any environment, be it technical, financial or human resources, among others.
Externally, it is necessary to understand how opportunities and threats impact the course of your business, both in the present and in the future.
Here, it is time to take into consideration political, social and economic aspects during the analysis.
Later I will tell you about a powerful tool for this stage.
Definition of objectives
The second stage focuses on defining the objectives of the company.
In other words, where your company wants to go.
For this purpose, the starting point should be the analysis of the historical data of the business, such as profitability, invoicing, expenses and its position.
With this information, you can project goals for the future and work with long-term stipulations.
Ideally, the objectives should be quantifiable, or at least verifiable.
Otherwise, how will you know if you are on the right track?
Without measuring, there will be nothing to manage, correct or improve.
Definition of strategies
This is the most creative stage of the process.
It is time to plan how the objectives are going to be achieved.
How your company is going to get to the address it wants.
I remind you that each strategy must be closely linked to one or more of these pre-established objectives.
Remember also that this can be modified whenever there are changes in the scene.
Planning is a guide, but it is not immutable.
If something doesn’t go as expected, it should be checked.
Preparation of a program of actions
The fourth stage contemplates the materialization of the previous ones.
Generally speaking, this is the time to sit down with your team, define a program of actions and create a calendar with a forecast of when they will be implemented.
This level of organization is what will allow procedures to be executed in a rational and orderly manner, allowing eventual adaptations in planning.
When to start planning
First of all, answer honestly: do you know the cycle of your business?
If the answer is yes, you probably already have a notion of the ideal time to do the planning.
In case the answer is negative, it is time to analyze your business more thoroughly.
When you understand its dynamics, you can define when to start planning, and even determine the periodicity of planning.
There is no specific period of the year to plan your actions.
The ideal is to know the environment in which you operate, and identify the speed with which your business varies to recognize the right moment
For example, tech and fashion companies have faster sales cycles.
This is to be expected, since products and services undergo changes and are under the intense effect of “seasonality (sales that may vary during the year, depending on the season).”
Then, the schedules must also be adapted and have that same urgency.
On the other hand, in businesses with less dynamic cycles, planning is projected in long-term actions.
How to do strategic planning
Now that you know the stages of strategic planning, it’s time to get your hands on it.
See in practice how to make yours:
1. Determine the goal
Whether it is a small or large company, as I mentioned, it is important that you know where you want your business to go.
Do you want your brand to be recognized?
Increase sales and become a market leader?
The main goal should reflect the results you need to achieve in order for the business dream to come true.
2. Analyze the organization
According to what I mentioned above, for your planning to occupy a strategic position, it is important that you make an internal and external diagnosis of your business.
The SWOT analysis (SWOT) is one of the ma methodologies used by the company to assess environments and have important insights about the company/business.
The term comes from English and can be applied to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business, shaping the analysis of the internal environment.
To complete the diagnosis, it is possible to identify opportunities (opportunities) and avoid threats (threats) that may impact the growth of your business.
In other words, this perspective also includes the external environment.
For this reason, I affirmed that it is a very powerful tool.
It can be said that it is essential for the development of strategic planning.
3. Determine the mission, vision and values
This part of the process is related to the organizational identity of your business and contemplates the definition of three fundamental pillars.
The mission is the raison d’être of the company, its fundamental purpose. It should focus on the intangible characteristics that differentiate it from the competition.
The vision is the dream of the company, its long-term aspiration.
Now, the values are the principles that guide the attitudes of your team so that the vision becomes concrete.
Once you are clear on this matter, dedicate yourself to determining each one of them.
4. Identify your target audience (person)
It is useless to create strategies that do not relate to, or interact with, your audience.
Therefore, the creation of buyers for your business is essential for communication to be effective.
And when I talk about people, I mean the ideal client profile for your business.
You surely have a contact base, right?
A good way to identify one or more profiles is to carry out research with that base and try to get to know it better.
Find out their demographic information, consumption habits, goals, challenges and needs.
In this way, you manage to balance your strategy with the expectations of your audience.
5. Define objectives, strategies and goals
Ideally, you develop an objective is to develop a main strategic objective and divide it into tactical objectives
These derived objectives must be integrated into an action plan that guarantees their fulfillment.
To set goals more easily, it is interesting to use the SMART method, developed by Peter Drucker.
His proposal considers the adequacy of the goal within five elements to make it smart:
- Specific: the goal should be as clear as possible
- Measurable – must be measurable at any time
- Achievable (Attainable ): should reflect reality
- Relevant: must add value and contribute to the achievement of the objective
- Time-based: must have a defined time to run.
6. Plan the action
It is time to materialize your objectives and goals.
To guarantee that they are carried out, you must define the paths that you are going to travel to get to the place you set out for yourself.
In other words, plan the execution of the strategies, your game plan.
Whether it is one action or several, the important thing is that they positively influence the fulfillment of the goals and that they have well defined which action, how and who is going to carry it out,
7. Monitor and evaluate the results
With the plan in place and the strategies in play, it is necessary that you constantly monitor and evaluate the results obtained.
Hence the importance that the goal is easily measurable.
What makes it possible to identify what is working, as well as the failures in a certain action?
This allows for tweaks and optimizations to avoid disruption.
In this regard, marketing has an advantage over traditional media.
Is that the tools on the market provide accurate data on the performance of stocks.
For example, web analytics tools allow access to exact data about user behavior on your site.
Through these, it is possible to identify the pages with the most accesses, time of permanence, number of visits from a certain link, among other information that helps guide the process.
Strategic Planning versus Personal Planning
For your strategic planning to be well executed, it must be related to other types of plans as well.
One of them is personal planning.
It is not difficult to understand why.
You have one cycle and the company has another.
What you want to happen in 5 or 10 years may be to divide the business with a partner, instead of managing it by yourself, for example.
In this process of planning what you want in the personal environment, you will be able to identify points that are linked to the strategic planning of your business and what influence they exert on the management of both.
Note that one is linked to the other, although they work independently.
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There is no doubt that strategic planning is an important step for your business to stop fighting fires and establish itself in a strong and positive way in the market.
Given the high level of competition in today’s market, it is not possible to take so many risks of being wrong.
It is precisely to this situation that the manager who decides, without the proper bases, that the future is projected without considering the past is subjected.
Don’t fall into that trap too.
To qualify your results, do not forget to adapt the goals, according to the reality of your company.