Strategic planning checklist: What you need to grow your business.
It’s easy to lose focus in your business. Quite often we find ourselves very busy, working long hours, but unsure if we’re focusing on the right things. This is true whether you’re a new business owner or an experienced one. Having a strategic plan and a clearly defined vision helps you keep focus on the activities that will grow your business.
Below is a strategic planning checklist to help you grow your business.
Long Term Vision
The first step for any successful business is to have a clear, meaningful and actionable vision. The vision of your business is the foundation for all your future success. Your vision helps you keep focused on the right things, it helps you make decisions, and it helps you stay energized and motivated when times are tough. Your vision guides you and your team.
If you’re writing your own story, what does your business look like 3-5 years into the future? Think about what needs to happen and what you and your business need to achieve for you to feel successful. Try to be as detailed as possible. Here are some questions to consider:
- What are people saying about your business?
- What are you saying about your business?
- What services are you offering?
- Who are your clients? How many do you have?
- Why do your clients come back?
- How many employees work with you?
- What is your business best known for?
Of course, there are many more questions to ask yourself. The point is to step back and envision the future of your company.
Short Term Focus
Let’s say the vision you came up with involves adding 15 employees, adding 3 new services, and earning $1,000,000 in revenue.
The next step is to break this vision down into manageable pieces. Think on a year to year basis and start with year one. Ask yourself what you need to achieve and accomplish in the next year to progress towards your vision.
Critical Areas of Focus
In year one, let’s suppose the focus is strictly on growing revenue from $100,000 to $200,000. In this case, it’s likely you’ll identify marketing and sales as critical areas of the business you need to focus on.
- What’s the vision?
- What needs to be accomplished this year?
- Where does my focus need to be in order to achieve this?
Actionable and Measurable Goals
Your goals are the front line of your vision. They tie everything together. They keep you focused and energized on a day to day basis. Your goals should come straight from your critical areas of focus. Continuing with the ongoing example, here are some sample goals to focus on.
- Develop a marketing strategy and plan by June 30th
- Attend 3 networking events a week
- Add 10 new suspects to the pipeline each week
- Sign on 2 new clients each month
What goals will you set for you and your business?
Just because you’re placing your primary focus on marketing and sales, doesn’t eliminate the fact that there are many other responsibilities and duties that need attention. Client work and finance and accounting certainly can’t be ignored! They key is to make sure you are focusing on the right things.
When you’re considering outsourcing a responsibility ask yourself 3 questions:
- Am I the only one who can do this?
- If someone else were to handle the responsibility, how would the end result change?
- Is this where my skills and expertise are best utilized?
Marketing and Sales Strategies
If your goal is to increase your revenue, you’ll need a solid marketing and sales strategy. Here are 3 questions to get you started.
- Who is you ideal customer?
- Where are you finding them? How can you generate good leads?
- How will you move suspects and prospects through your sales funnel?
What You Can Do
A clear focus aligns your company for success. Start by envisioning where you want your company to be in 3 years. Next, identify what needs to be achieved in the next year to ensure you’re progressing towards your vision. In order to achieve these one year goals, decide which areas of the business will receive most of your time and attention. After that is figured out, set some detailed goals in these areas. What are you going to achieve over the next 3-6 months in these areas? Finally, figure out what responsibilities and tasks can be outsourced.
Where will you lead your company?