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How to Create a Strategic Plan

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We’ve all heard the famous Benjamin Franklin quote that says, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Sometimes, especially in the busy day-to-day operations of running a business, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details and forget about the big picture. That’s why creating – and sticking to – a strategic plan for your business is so important. Easier said than done, right?

Strategic Planning One Step at a Time

In very basic terms, your strategic plan identifies where you are, where you want to be, and the path between the two. All departments should play a role in both creating and executing your strategic plan. Bring everyone together, and follow these steps:

  1. Get real about where you are now. Confidence is a must-have trait of a good leader, but being over confident in your current position can sometimes cloud your judgement. Conduct internal and external audits and consider several different factors, including an analysis of where you stand locally and in a global marketplace.
  2. Define specific goals. You can’t determine if you’re on the right track if you don’t know where you’re going. Make sure you identify the parameters for success, so you can recognize progress in the right direction.
  3. Determine how teamwork plays a role in your strategic plan. The foundation of any strategic plan is your team. Focusing on strengthening teamwork among all your employees before and during strategic planning will increase your chances of success.
  4. Analyze training gaps. Almost always, the path between where you are and where you want to be involves training. Important training topics to support your strategic plan may range from technical training to language skills training.
  5. Make the commitment. Creating a strategic plan isn’t a one-time thing that you do, mark off the list, and move on from. It’s an ongoing process that should intersect with your day-to-day activities. Review your plan with your team regularly, and focus on your goals daily.

Remember, your strategic plan closes the gap between where you are and where you want to be, and it should involve all departments.