Strategic Planning

Is your business just a job?

Could you sell your business today? How much do you think someone would be willing to pay? Is that enough for you to sail off into the sunset?
What are you doing to build a property that has long-term value?
Believe it or not most small businesses are nothing more than extensions of the owners. If the owner disappears, the business disappears. How can you make your business a property that has marketable value? It takes time and a great deal of effort but it also requires a strategic plan.
A strategic plan helps the owners or principals of a business to plan for the growth of the business by deliberately investing in resources that will add value and strategically dovetail with goals and objectives. It helps to define the anticipated income and expenses for each fiscal quarter as related to specific initiatives. Each of these initiatives must have an action plan including responsible parties, a timeline for completion, an ROI model and a contingency plan in the event that the initiative needs to be abandoned prematurely.
At the SBA Network we have created a successful format for developing small business strategic plans. In fact you are reading the fist of a series of seven segments where we outline the step-by-step the activities that are required to develop a practical, working strategic plan. This Strategic Plan – E-Learning Program comes with seven 10 to 15 minute audio files, a strategic planning workbook and sample strategic plans from actual small businesses which have doubled and even tripled their profitability. If you are interested, listen to the first audio file FREE by clicking here!But this article is about helping YOU, so let’s take a look at the seven steps that are part of developing a comprehensive strategic plan:
Step 1: S.W.O.T Analysis – This is where we analyze the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is a critical first step because it allows us to pragmatically evaluate the company’s internal and external operating variables. What factors are under our control and what factors must we accept as current conditions. This sets the stage for how to bring about change in the business. Check out my article on SWOT Analysis.
Step 2: Competitive Intelligence – We recommend using a competitive landscape grid which we teach in our “Out-Marketing the Competition Series.” This helps us to evaluate the competition on a number of different levels. It includes market position, product or service features/benefits, pricing, terms, corporate personality, customer service issues, risk tolerance, financial position and growth potential. Check out my article on competitive landscape profile development.Step 3: Values and Vision – This is where we look at the cultural absolutes against which we must weigh all of our decisions and how that plays into the ultimate vision of the company. This essentially is a “standard of care” that we want to foster in our business. Check out my article on how to create a Standard of Care for your business.Step 4: Goals and Objectives – What is it that you want to accomplish? Where, when how, how much? This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of growth. Few business owners spend much if any time on objectives. So is it any wonder that of the 92% of companies that fail in their first five years of operation, only 2% had written business objectives? Check out my article on goal setting.Step 5: Strategic Options – Here we simplify our options. We live in a changing world. In fact change is about the ONLY thing we can count on. We need to plan for several options in terms of initiatives. So when things change, as they certainly will, we can move to our contingency plan with fluidity.Step 6: Action Plan – In this step we will establish initiatives and directives. This will outline a specific plan for each action item and who will be responsible for accomplishing it? What is the timeline for completion? What are some of the barriers to accomplishing it and how will we overcome them? What resources will be required and how will we acquire them?Step 7: Metrics – How will we measure our progress? In this step we put into place the tools that will be used for measuring the effectiveness of our initiatives in the strategic plan. This includes several critical reports that every business needs to have: Sales Forecast, Cash Flow Analysis, Departmental Budgets, Product/Service Position Report. These reports must be prepared and reviewed on a regular basis.The most important fact to keep in mind is that our strategic planning represents a process rather than an event. The outgrowth of a strategic planning process can contribute to the long term success and survival of a business enterprise. More importantly it is becoming skillful with this type of planning process which is the first step in building a business that has value and equity which extends far into the future and which can out-live even ourselves.Again if you are interested in finding out more about how to develop a strategic plan for your business, listen to the first of our series of 7 audio files for FREE by clicking here!In fact, we have available now, the series of all seven segments where I provide business coaching on all of the steps involved in developing a comprehensive strategic plan. This Strategic Plan – E-Learning Program comes with seven 10 to 15 minute audio files, a strategic planning workbook and sample strategic plans from actual small businesses that have doubled and even tripled their profitability.
I hope that this “Business Update” has been helpful in assisting you to improve the performance of your organization. For more information on how the Small Business Advisory Network assists companies in improving their performance, please feel free to contact us at 310-320-8190 or email 

Mark Deo

Posted in Business Planning, Uncategorized.

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