4 Ways To Create A Better Strategic Business Plan
Posted by: Brookside Admin
Preparing and using a strategic business plan enables your company to define its direction. It's much more than a document used to evaluate your finances. Instead, it's for evaluating the potential success of your business, identifying foreseeable problems and communicating a specific plan to staff and management to foster collaboration. If your strategic business plan isn't doing these things, consider the following advice to improve it.
- Test your theories
Much of what's included in a strategic business plan is built on what you know, but isn't proven. You may know about the current marketplace and the state of your company and your competitors, but you won't know precisely how changes or new services will perform. That's understandably daunting for many business owners. These theories and assumptions require a leap of faith that many are unwilling to take. Afterall, why put yourself at risk when things are working well enough already? To alleviate these concerns, don't jump in with both feet right away. Dip a toe in new waters by performing tests. Use short-term experiments that require few resources, but can give you more concrete data for your proposed changes. If the results are positive, you can expand the tests. If they're not, you risked little to find out that your assumptions were incorrect.
- Eliminate jargon
It's easy to allow jargon and fuzzy language to infiltrate your business plan. Doing so, however, creates confusion and can signal that your team doesn't fully understand the specific direction it needs to be taking, which is primarily why you created the strategic plan in the first place. Instead, attempt to be as clear as possible with your language throughout the plan. If you're having trouble explaining an element, it may signal that it needs to be more thoroughly discussed and fleshed out.
- Be original
Many businesses have templates in place to help the planning team address some of the key concerns that the strategic plan is hoped to tackle. Using a rigid template may answer the core questions, but it also stifles creativity. This means that potentially company changing ideas and solutions for growth could be missed because they don't fit into the template. Particularly when the same individuals are using the same templates year after year, results tend to get stale and predictable. Infuse new ideas and life in your plans by either eliminating portions of the template and adding new sections often, or by doing away with the template approach completely. Allowing the planning team to completely invent their own line of thinking and solutions could result in groundbreaking ideas.
- Ask difficult questions
This stays in the same vein as replacing a planning template. Part of the value of a strategic business plan is to foster debate and discussions and arrive at new ideas. The best way to accomplish that is to take some of the reins off the process. Ask questions throughout the process, from the developing of new strategies to the presentation of them. It's the only way to ensure that the ideas contained in your plan are fully thought out and not just easy, or simple answers.
For help creating a successful strategic business plan, contact us at Brown Kinion and Company. We help develop plans for finances, facility and equipment needs, management and staff and much more.