Some people like to plan; others absolutely detest it and find working to a plan to be constrictive. Whichever camp you fall into, a fact of life is that without a plan failure is more likely; this is also true in relation to business.
Generally speaking – strategic planning is viewed as being a management activity – but that isn’t the case. Such planning is something everyone in an organisation should be bought into an involved in.
Perhaps a simple way to view this task is to answer a series of questions Today, Tomorrow and Next Week.
Today – What am I doing today? What is my core business? Who are my customers? What services / products do I offer? What processes exist to deliver these services / products? How are my services / products preserved (are my customers dissatisfied, satisfied or overjoyed with what they are receiving)? Who are my competitors?
Tomorrow – What should I be doing today to meet the needs of tomorrow? Who will my customers be? What services / products of mine will they be buying more or less of? Which markets am I currently in and moving towards? Will customers still be dissatisfied, satisfied or overjoyed with what they are receiving from me? Who has entered or left the market in which I operate?
Next Week – What do I want to look like when I reach that point in time? What services / products will I probably still be selling? Are any new products / services currently being developed likely to become the main sales driver? What markets will I still be in (from today) and which ones will I have moved into? Who will be my competitors? Do my competitors even exist today? If not, what are they likely to be offering? If they aren’t offering it, can I build it and deliver it to the customer?
By answering these questions at an organisational and operational level. It will enable a meaningful plan of action to be drawn up; in so doing not only will the grand vision be defined but a practical milestone for the road ahead will also be delivered.