Strategic planning is a phrase that may seem daunting to some, but it is a necessary part of every business. To make the process of strategic planning less stressful, there are a few things you should include and review before moving forward. Here are three of the most important things every business should include in its strategic planning.
Before you go at it with a take no prisoners’ attitude, do you have a solid idea of who is your target audience? Do you know every little detail about them right down to what they enjoy doing after work? This is known as Customer Centricity. Wharton School of Business Professor Peter Fader in an excerpt from his book Customer Centricity: Focus on the Right Customers for Strategic Advantage quotes Jim Sterne, Founder, eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit; Chairman, Web Analytics Association with his definition: “Customer Centricity reveals how to increase profits from your best customers, find more like them, and avoid over-investing in the rest.”
Once you intimately know your market you can begin the strategic planning needed to attract them.
Do you know your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? It will be a lot more difficult to begin your strategic planning if you don't have the foundation of the SWOT Analysis. I wrote about the traditional approach in a 2012 in a post entitled How Well Do You Know Your Business? I stated, “The most challenging part for an organization is being honest about where they stand in their marketplace… The analysis is an invaluable tool and allows businesses a way to assess their operations in four straightforward steps.”
Everything can be improved upon; Jackson Hille, Content Associate for FormSwift, along with his college mentor, Justin Gomer, a Lecturer at UC Berkeley, have written and designed a new way to approach the SWOT Analysis with their work An Essential Guide to SWOT Analysis. It is absolute, user friendly and contemporary. And includes templates “to immediately put our analysis and their ideas into action, and there are also SWOT Analysis examples for every sector of the economy, including one of Uber and DreamWorks.”
Try the traditional way or backwards. There is a template or both and after evaluating these four areas meticulously, every move you make afterward will be much simpler.
This seems like an obvious part of strategic planning, however it’s often not one of the highest priorities by businesses. A careful budgeting plan should be established before a strategic plan is underway. Know your limitations and what you want to do with the funding you have.
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