Entrepreneurs need more focus on strategic plans to succeed

Does your business have a clear direction and a vision for the next 3 - 5 years? Are your business priorities aligned with your objectives? Are your employees engaged and inspired towards your mission? Does your business have a high-performance culture? Do you have a business exit strategy?

These are the key questions every business person must focus on. And these questions constitute the basis of a solid Strategic Plan for your business. Strategic planning involves looking where you want your business to be in the next 3-5 years and what you need to do to get there.

It provides a business with a clear direction to achieve its objectives which are aligned with a set of priorities, key performance measures and ensures the whole organization is working towards achieving the same goals. The success of a strategy is directly related to the level of employee engagement and it must be aligned with the organizational culture. Often, businesses have a certain level of success then they reach a plateau. Good strategic planning can help you avoid this plateau. If a business owner foresees to sell the business in the future, then the company needs to plan for it. An exit strategy should be incorporated in the strategic plan so that you can sell your business and maximize your profits. Businesses develop goals and objectives in four key areas: financial, customer growth and service, business process and operations, and people.

These correspond to the four steps in the strategic planning process.

  • Big picture planning(Business & Market);
  • Priorities;
  • Alignment and accountability;
  • Execution and follow-up.

The process begins with the Mission of the business. The organization’s core purpose. The fundamental reason Why you exist. The Mission needs to connect with the staff and should be inspirational and concise.

Then you determine your guiding principles which are your core values and beliefs of your business. What values and beliefs guide the organization in its daily business with its employees, customers, suppliers and community. Your vision is where you want to go. To determine that you have to ask the following questions. What will your business look like in 3 to 5 years? What are your aspirations for your business? What are the products and services that you wish to offer?

Amazon initially started selling books and last year they acquired Whole Foods which impacted the grocery industry. Let’s look at Amazon’s Vision: “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

With this new acquisition, Amazon is executing a strategy which is in line with its Vision.

The Mission, Values and Vision are the foundation for your business and the strategy is the roadmap that you chart to travel. The strategy needs to be communicated regularly to the entire organization to create a high-performance culture that will increase customer satisfaction, generate financial growth and employee engagement. Professionally done, such a strategy can be put in place in as short a time period as 90 days. They could be the most important days you will spend in assuring your business success.

This post was originally published in The Suburban West Island (March 28, 2018 issue), available here