By Steve Williams CExP™, CMMA
Midsize businesses and businesses at the scale-up stage can use this proven strategic planning process to analyze their current state and develop a future state. The goal of this process is revenue growth and increased profitability. Companies need to have a plan in place so they can chart a course to achieve objectives and make the most of opportunities as they arise. This article will discuss the key steps in the strategic planning process, as well as provide examples of how they can be applied to your business.
Some believe that Strategic Planning is simply a tool to get a management team on the same page so the collective is aware of what each is doing for the coming fiscal. This could not be farther from the truth, and in fact, is likely to lead to decline not growth. For example, what if the current direction of the company is putting them on a collision course with a market force in a battle they cannot win, what if the status quo has the company heading in a direction that puts revenue profits and the company existence at risk.
If the objective is growth then a more sophisticated process must take place. The company must analyze its self-generated data, its competitors and both’s relative position in the marketplace. Then chart a path to the most profitable and least risk growth opportunities(y). The growth path is never a straight line and it will require changes in the business model, products or services (P&S), how the company sells its product or service (channels), and how it uses technology.
The following are the key steps in the Strategic Planning Process for Growth:
Use Internal Data First
This is the data that you have generated from your current activities. Review this data for any trends or patterns that may be indicative of areas where growth may be possible.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing. Are they succeeding in areas where you are not? If so, why? How can you adapt to take advantage?
Tap Industry Reports
In addition to looking at your internal data and that of your competitors, it’s also helpful to look at industry reports. These can provide insights into larger trends that may be affecting your business.
Generate Primary Data to Fill the Gaps
Once you’ve gathered all of the data you can from secondary sources, it’s time to generate your primary data. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or other research methods. You must know how your company is measuring up with current, lapsed, and prospective clients.