Need to make a big decision for your business or a little one for that matter? Make a big investment, hire someone, fire someone, choose the color of your stationery, decide whether to buy pizza for everyoneâ€¦ How do you know whether your decision will be right or wrong, good or bad?
The first question you should ask isâ€¦ What is the fit with the overall plan – the medium to long-term vision?
Will it help you get there, or hinder your progress; does it build on other decisions you have taken or change your direction?
But wait a minute! What is the long-term vision?
Do you really have one, or is it just a vague idea about getting bigger, growing sales, improving margins, retiring early?
Chances are you donâ€™t have a clear, unambiguous statement on the tip of your tongue that describes exactly where you want your business to be in the future. If you donâ€™t have one, neither do your employees, your partners, or your suppliers. If you donâ€™t have one, none of you have any context in which to make decisions. You canâ€™t be sure if all of your collective efforts are helping you to reach your long-term desired state.
Itâ€™s time to think about creating a vision for your future state; where and how do you want to be in 2-3 years from now?
This will be the goal towards which you will steer the business And the framework in which all challenges will be weighed, decided upon and executed.
But donâ€™t beat yourself up! You and your colleaguesÂ know just about everything you need to know to create this vision and to also figure out how you are going to get there. You just need to take the time to draw on all your experience, knowledge and gut instincts to create aâ€¦. Strategy
Itâ€™s not difficult you just need to go through the process.
- Where are things at right now? Customers/Competition/Technology etc.
- What are the key drivers of change that exist today, that will have a bearing in 2-3 years time?
- What will your world/industry look like 2-3 years from now?
- What is the importance and certainty of the drivers defined above?
- What is your desired future state?
- Looking at all of these inputs, what are you going to do to address the few critical success factors that will allow you to reach your desired future state?
These are your Strategic Objectives – the 4-6 key things that must be done in the next 2-3 years in order to achieve your desired future state
Now it’s time to consider when they will beÂ addressed and who is responsible.Â That is your Strategic Plan.
Donâ€™t panic. It doesnâ€™t all have to be done at the same time starting next week. You need to sit down and break up the Strategic Objectives into bite-size tactical objectives that can be executed on over the coming years. For now you just need a Â broad outline and key milestones.
And lastly, communicate the Vision and Plan to your entire organization and partners. They need to know in order to understand the game plan and the value and context of what they are being asked to accomplish on a day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year basis.