Kick-off Your 2020 Strategic Plan with These Proven Tips
By Ralph Tapscott, Chief Executive Officer
Who needs a strategic game plan? Any business that wants to succeed.
At RBAZ, our Strategic Business and Marketing Plan is fairly detailed and thoroughly discussed. It’s formally updated once a year, but revisited several times throughout the year.
This is a great time to get a jump start on your plan for 2020. Here are some thoughts you might find helpful as you begin.
Identify your starting point. Before you can determine where you want to go and how you’re going to get there, you need to first identify where you are right now. What is your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, competencies, competitive environment? What do you do better than your competition? What are your biggest challenges?
Set long- and short-term goals. Our plan has a keen one year scope, but it also elaborates into a three to five year broader expectation. For you, short-term goals might include increasing sales and profits, improving your company’s brand recognition or growing your sales team. Longer-term goals might include launching new products or services, expanding into new markets, or even making an acquisition. Your goals should be challenging and inspiring, but not unattainable.
Create the plan. Now you can begin outlining the strategies and tactics to achieve your goals. You will need to identify resources to implement the strategies, such as vendors, facilities, equipment, inventory, and perhaps even staff. For example, if your short-term goal is to improve online sales, but one weakness you identified is a supplier that is slow, uncooperative, or behind the curve technologically, then one tactic is to find new suppliers that can help you reach your goal. Of course you’ll want to consider the financial aspects to make sure the costs don’t outweigh the results. At RBAZ, we identify and set our key performance indicators, which are then thoroughly validated through modeling and budgeting.
Involve your team. Your strategic plan will be stronger if it includes multiple points of view, and involves team members early on. The general direction and strategy of our plan is set by the Board, but our bankers get involved with further influence and contribute tactics that assure success. We encourage open and free discussion during the planning process, and make sure all our key people are on board with the final result.
Make it happen. Your strategic plan should be a living document that is discussed, reassessed, and adjusted throughout the year. It should NOT be filed away and left until this time next year. Define specific tasks, responsibilities, and timelines. Hold people accountable for achieving results. Review it monthly to stay on track or make changes as needed. If a new competitor joins the field, you may need to adjust and change your tactics. Flexibility is key.