You can find a strategic planning template for just about any level of strategy for your company. But you may want to consider a strategic plan template meant specifically for your industry in order to get the best results.
You may also find if useful a strategic plan outline that can help you build your own business & product development strategies if you feel secure enough to create one that will fulfill the specific needs of your organization.
In this article, I’ll step you through the purpose of strategic planning templates, how you can build your own plans and a process for building this into your company’s roadmap.
What Is Strategic Planning? The Basics You Need to Know
Small business owners should not feel ashamed if they have to ask someone else “What is strategic planning?”. Many owners of small companies are so busy working day to day that they do not feel that they have the time to look very far ahead into the future.
They believe that this sort of forethought is possible only for big corporations. You’d be wrong – its critical in even a basic business plan. Actually even small businesses can profit from creating a strategic marketing plan that will help them understand their own business and their clients better than they have before. This understanding makes it easier to do what any business needs to do: satisfy needs and solve problems for other people.
For the purposes of this article, the strategic planning definition is a process undertaken by your organization to determine future usage of your resources in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
In the private sector this ultimately means increasing profit. In these planning sessions you/company owners and any necessary consultants must answer three questions, as follows:
(i) What Does Your Organization Do?
Any person or group of people can lose track of what they originally intended to do or get confused about the matter. As an example, workers at a car dealership may think it is their job to sell cars. In a strategic planning session owners can remind them that their real job is to satisfy certain needs of their customers. These needs might be for reliable transport physical safety luxury and comfort and so on.
(ii) For Whom Does Your Organization Work?
Sometimes people need to be reminded that they work for clients not for their own satisfaction. For other firms it may be their shareholders. Even owners need to remember this. These strategic sessions allow people in an organization to center their thoughts and efforts on their own real goals.
(iii) How Can We Do This More Effectively?
Finally once the goals of the business are clearly established owners and workers can determine how to improve their work. This may include eliminating waste of supplies and wasted movement. It may also involve coordinating activities between workers so that they function better as a team. It usually involves strategic planning designs or models which been proven to work for other companies.
Basics Out of the Way, Time for Templates & Process..
When you begin to build your plan you need to make several considerations. One of the first is the level at which you need to strategize. There are several areas of an organization and each may need its own type of strategy:
- Advertising and promotion
- Customer or client relations
Once you have determined which level of your organization needs a plan you can follow the steps usually involved in strategic planning:
- Market research
- Forming and planning the strategy
- Implementing the strategy
- Measuring and controlling the results
Drill down into each of these areas with department heads or (in smaller firms) any stakeholders in these areas.
There are also a few other considerations you should make when you plan and begin to form your strategy.
- You need to assess your organization’s current position and determine where you hope to take your organization. In other words what are your goals?
- You then need to figure out the best route to take in order to close the gap between the current and desired positions then work to put these strategies into place.
Creating Your Own Business Road Map in a Strategic Planning Process
Of course, when executives call for a process map or long-term plan department heads scramble for their analysts. The foundation of such planning is often left to data monkeys or the nearest administrative assistant who can function in Visio.
The ability to participate in a strategic planning process is vital for all company departments and individuals success however. Supervisors at all levels should be familiar with the tools and skills needed to create such plans.
If you are one of those managers who dive for the nearest analyst when strategic planning is mentioned you should know there is nothing secret about the process. If you understand your department chances are you can already contribute to strategic planning models for your company.
As stated above, teams begin the planning process by asking themselves the following questions:
- Where is the business?
- Where does the business want to go?
- What are the paths from here to there? i.e. Your Road Map!
This may seem simple but those questions are at the heart of any strategy meeting. While analysts may be required to provide reports telling where the company is managers are who decide where the company is going and how to get there.
Use Strategic Planning Tools Where Possible
Standard strategic planning tools used in creating such a road map include:
- Brainstorming for new ideas or solutions to a problem
- Evaluating the potential of each idea through a solutions selection matrix
- Process mapping to ensure everyone is on the same page with how the process currently functions and
- Obtaining baseline metrics and data collection to monitor processes as changes are implemented.
Many of the tools for the strategic planning process sound advanced. However by utilizing a few software programs including a spreadsheet and flow chart program managers can find templates for almost all of these items. The remainder of the process comes down to understanding the business documenting current processes in detail and implementing changes based on current data and desires for future capability.
REMEMBER: Focus in on Specific Goals & Objectives… Don’t Lose Sight of This!
Finally, it is very important that you name some very specific goals when you evaluate your organization’s position. It’s the main objective of a roadmap creation process. You should also be able to measure your goal or be able to clearly determine when you have reached it.
You also need to clearly target the goal and tie the goal to a deadline so that it is time specific. The better your organization plans the better chance it has to reaching its goals.