Running a successful business means much more than having a product that customers want and are willing to pay for.
It is also about formulating actionable plans, being flexible enough to make changes to them as you go, having the discipline to measure progress, and, importantly, having the patience to think before taking action. It is about getting all your ducks in a row.
It is about maximizing your odds of success – and for that, you need to strategize.
Don’t run with your eyes closed
Even the best and brightest ideas are useless when there is no strategic planning process to support them. Without a documented, actionable strategy, your ideas are just thoughts – daydreams.
But what if your idea is positively a great one? Why is it necessary to go through the strategic planning process when you can just dive right into your business and hit the ground running?
The answer is simple: if you take off running with your eyes closed, you are bound to trip or run in to something. Even if you are lucky enough to stay upright for a while, you will eventually fall, hit a wall, or run out of energy to take another step.
Strategic Planning Minimizes your Risk of Failure
Strategic planning is the fundamental process by which you give your business or organization shape. It is how you prepare for and close the gap between your Vision and today’s reality.
In order to employ the strategic planning process, you must first set your goals and objectives, then determine the action steps necessary for achieving them.
Most importantly, you must put your plans in writing so that everyone involved in your organization can understand them. It is essential to communicate your plan effectively so that your employees, partners and stakeholder can “get on-board” – without them, you are truly all alone.
Focus on the Future, but Don’t Think Ahead Too Far
As with any plan, you need to have a set of short and long-term goals. Set realistic timeframes in which to achieve your goals. Ask yourself what you want to achieve in the next year, and in the next three.
It is difficult to plan much further into the future than that because there are too many unknowns. Everything around us changes so rapidly.
On the other hand, that is also exactly why you can’t just live in the present.
The strategic planning process requires you to be flexible, to expect and anticipate changes around every corner. Plans rarely go off without a hitch. Something unexpected will happen. Good strategic planners have the ability to adapt accordingly.
Plan Canvas is Here
The Strategic Planning Process is essential for any business. Even if your idea is flawless, you need to have the discipline, instinct, and ingenuity to make it happen.
Plan Canvas is a community, but it is also a software tool that simplifies the Strategic Planning Process. With it you can define and track your vision, goals, objectives, action items and much more. Yesterday, we announced the “soft opening” of Plan Canvas to several dozen of our initial Plan Canvas Community members.
Our “public grand opening” is imminent!