So many service organisations talk about Strategic Planning. We sat down with Director and Head of Marketing, Simone Givney to figure out IF we REALLY need it, and if so WHY.
Q. This constantly feels like something I should ‘just do’ whether I want to or not. Why should I bother?
Think of Strategic Planning for your business like an around the world trip for the ultimate holiday of your life. If you don’t take the time to plan you have no clue what you are going to do, or where to start… so you never do it!
If the goal is to travel the world and see as much as you can on the budget you have, it is important to turn the goal into something more tangible. (THE WHAT)
To understand your motives for making the goal it is important to ascertain the reason for doing it, this will help guide your decision-making process. Like ‘I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights in Norway’ (THE WHY)
Now you have the overall goal and the reasons for wanting to achieve the goal, there are vital things to consider that will determine the way you achieve it. (THE HOW)
Which way are you going to start travelling – west, east, north?
What is the route/sequence of countries to visit in the time you have?
What mode of transport can/will you use to get there – plane, boat, hovercraft ??
In business terms, your goal might be to sell the business in 5 years. (THE WHAT)
Your reason might be, because you have 3 other business ideas you would like to try out. (THE WHY)
The way you achieve it might be;
Focus on building a core service offer in an area you/the team excel in. (THE HOW)
Own significant market share and build brand equity. (THE HOW)
The How items will always continue to break down into yearly goals, monthly goals and weekly goals, so you will always be confident you are on the right path to your 5 year goal, incrementally.
Q. What do I stand to lose if I don’t have one (a strategic plan)?
Revenue. And LOTS of it.
The primary driver of revenue is your business’s ability to do the following;
- deliver on good and services promoted/promised
- provide exceptional customer service
- know what your audience needs are and be 3 steps ahead of their next move
- understand how to market to your audience – ensure your systems are set up for success – your procedures, software, communications, etc
There are so many more items to list, however, the reality of not having a strategic plan means you are making decisions every day in your business based on what you know THAT DAY instead of making decisions based on where you want the business to go/to be.
This can cost you revenue, while you are needing to fixing problems and rectify poor decisions (not realized until time has passed) you lose a considerable amount of revenue by not focusing on the market, customers, trends, opportunities… You want revenue and lots of it? You need a plan to get it!
Q. What happens to my business/team/organization if I don’t have my strategy developed/reviewed?
Loss of productivity, which costs you MONEY.
Without a strategic plan revenue will stagnate, expenses will go up as you may start to ‘bloat’ (doing things in the business ineffectively, old ways of working or reached capacity of the current resources). This equation is very dangerous for a business of any size, unless addressed quickly through review of your strategy the probability of failure is exceptionally high.
Shiny Ball Syndrome, which can change the scope of your business.
You take opportunities as they come up because they sound good and at the time you think they are amazing, but before you know it you have run off on a tangent away from your business goal/s. You then run the risk of potentially not coming back to your core objectives, or you may go too far in a different direction and you may change the business forevermore. *It is important to note, you can take opportunities, so long as you compare them against your business strategy first to make sure it aligns and compliments what you would like to achieve.
High turnover of staff, which costs you time AND money.
Staff, for the most part, usually need to know what is expected of them, their purpose for being there and in many instances feel like they are contributing towards something they believe in/ are passionate about.
If you have some thoughts, questions or want to seek further information, reach out to Simone on firstname.lastname@example.org she’s going to dedicate some time each day during the month of January to answer any of your questions. Feel free to also DM her on Linked In SIMONE GIVNEY or Twitter @IngrediorAus if you prefer using social platforms.