This article is a brief and practical tutorial on how to make a good strategic plan template. Simple and objective, it offers an overview of the action of planning effectively.
Flevy assumes here that the reader is already minimally convinced that having a strategic plan template for business is very important for those who want to succeed.
Table of Contents
THE THREE STEPS OF THE PLAN
A plan should go through three phases, which are:
- Accurate diagnosis (where and how I am)
- Realistic Goals (where I want and can reach)
- Rational Plan (how and when to get there)
The order of elaboration of the plan must be this, but it is natural that in the diagnosis phase, goals and stages of the plan are already considered. But it is necessary to finish the diagnosis before hammering the goals. And it is necessary to have the goals defined, very realistic, before finishing the plan. So, it seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? So let’s go to the first stage:
THE ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS
A diagnosis needs to answer at least the following questions:
- Has my company made a profit in the last 12 months? Exactly how much?
- Has my company had surplus cash in the last 12 months? Exactly how much?
- How will my cash flow be in the next 6 months?
- Do I price my products (goods or services) correctly?
- Do they have equal and viable Contribution Margins?
- How much is my CAC : Customer Acquisition Cost?
- Is my marketing adequate?
- Are my production processes efficient and effective?
- Is the organizational climate good?
- How am I compared to my direct competitors? Am I competitive in quality, prices, and service?
- And will my market decrease, stay stable or grow in the coming months and years?
- Do I need to innovate?
In addition to looking at their numbers, we suggest talking in a friendly and sincere way with employees who are older or who demonstrate a critical view of the company. And ask them for help: to be sincere in your vision of the company.
One thing is fundamental here, do not make a mistake in the diagnosis. Now think of a doctor who doesn’t order the necessary tests or misinterpret the ones he received. In other words, it makes a mistake in the diagnosis.
What is he going to do? Give you the wrong recipe. And that can make a small problem a big one. I always tell my clients that 80% of the consulting challenge is to get the diagnosis right. Thus, the following two phases are more relaxed. So let’s go to the second phase:
Now that you are getting to know your company better because you have made an accurate diagnosis of the whole situation, you need to establish realistic goals, feasible to be achieved in your reality.
- Want to grow? How much? How long?
- Just want to increase your profitability? Today is how much? And for how much? How long?
- Want to increase your net worth? Pay off debts? How much? How long?
Quality of life:
- Do you want to withdraw more money as a pro-labor? How much? When?
- Want to work less? How much? When?
- Do you want to stop working on things you don’t like? Which are? When?
So, ready, realistic goals? So let’s move on to the third and final phase:
THE ACTION PLAN
I usually say that this is the easiest phase in the elaboration of a Strategic Plan template for Business because if you know where and how you are and where you want to go, making the itinerary of the trip is relatively easy.
AND NOW? IS THE PLAN READY?
Then the inspiration stage is over and the perspiration stage begins, where the company’s entire commitment to the effective implementation of the plan is the main success factor.
It is also important to evaluate what is working and what is not. And go over the plan. And never abandon a plan, just revise it, even if you need to make radical changes. This usually happens when errors occur in the diagnostic (poorly done) and goal setting (unrealistic) phases. But it is better to correct than to abandon and go back without a plan.