If your company wants to respond to market signals more promptly than your rivals, you need to have a good strategy. Marketing professional Julian Narchet says strategic planning allows a company to adapt to change quickly or capitalize on technology to increase demand.
A strategy alone, though, will only be as effective as the planning that goes into it. The process must also reflect your company’s core values, mission, and vision. Here are some basic steps to mastering strategic planning.
Define the Mission
It’s hard to plan effectively if you can’t clearly define the mission. Without knowing precisely what the mission is, what are you even strategizing to accomplish?
So, start by defining the mission of the strategic planning. Is it to reduce the response time for the customer service team? Is it to increase sales by 10% in the next quarter? Is it to gain 10,000 new followers on your social media channels by the end of the year?
The more specific your mission, the more successful the strategic planning can be. In other words, try not to have a mission that’s very generic.
Take a Look at Your Current Situation
Next, analyze where your company currently is in that mission. This analysis should be done to inform you of what needs to be done to achieve your goals.
Most businesses will do what’s called a SWOT analysis to accomplish this. This helps the company define its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
A SWOT analysis is a great exercise to conduct, as it will force you to analyze not only your business but also others in the marketplace.
Outline the Objectives
Now, it’s time to start creating the roadmap for how you’ll get from mission to end goal, keeping the results from the SWOT analysis in mind. To do this, you should create a list of your priorities and the specific objectives you’ll need to achieve to get there.
This step should serve as a brainstorming session for all key stakeholders. List all the primary objectives first, discuss which ones are most important, and create a ranking list.
The priority list will serve as a blueprint for what everyone on the team needs to do on the route to meeting the defined goals.
Once objectives are set and prioritized, you should assign responsibilities to specific employees and/or teams. This will help you understand who is going to be held accountable for which tasks so that you can assess the progress toward each of the objectives.
This is the point in the strategic planning process where you’ll get quite granular. The more specific you can be, the better.
Manage the Process and Evaluate the Progress
Julian Narchet says that at this point, it’s time to start working toward putting the strategic planning process into action. Then, teams and employees will be set loose to start working so the business can accomplish its goals.
It’s essential, though, to have processes in place so you can constantly manage and evaluate the progress. This will help you see who might be dropping the ball or if any of your objectives or tasks need to be changed.
Only by constantly monitoring the progress will you be able to accomplish your goals.
About Julian Narchet
Julian Narchet is a marketing and mass communications professional, and a Communications Manager at the University of Miami. He has extensive experience in market research, academic research, research administration, social media, and public relations. He is passionate about making a difference in the lives of others through cooperation with non-profits and healthcare organizations.