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A Strategic Plan Checklist:

Use Strategic Planning Samples as a Template

Build your strategy by following a strategic plan checklist; including create mission statement, write vision statement, develop values statement, conduct SWOT analysis, plan strategies, set objectives, and more.

Using strategic planning samples can also provide a good outline or template for preparing your strategy. Make sure that you measure results and track those results against your plans.

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Your Strategic Plan Checklist needs to include the following:

  1. Write vision statement: identify (or review if existing) the business vision. Stay focused on creating and running a sustainable organization that has profit as an outcome but not as its primary purpose.

    1. Consider the motive behind the start up of the business. If the business has been running for a period of time, review and either reaffirm that motive or recognize that it has changed.

    2. Envision how you think the business will look in three years; in five years. Document this for regular review (I recommend reviewing the business vision every three years, not earlier: how quickly would your vision for the business change; if it changes every year than it's not a long term business vision for the future).

    3. What do you want your business to achieve within five years (e.g. become the secondary source of supply for all purchasers of xxx; by the way, being second can still mean large volume; it's way easier to go into an established market and try to 'pick off' the lower hanging fruit, rather than to try to pick off the fruit (or competitor) that's at the very top of a 40 foot tree).

  2. Identify the Mission - create mission statement: define the business that are you in; state this in an affirmative way. This should not be an over-arching mission statement but rather a short and clear statement (e.g. My business is to provide support and resources to small businesses; to help them succeed and grow).

    Your business's values determine the way in which your company works towards achieving its mission and objectives.

    • If you have employees, try to engage them in the development of the Value Statement. Once accepted, the Value Statement will govern the way everyone conducts themselves in the workplace.

    • If you do not have any employees, it is still important to develop a Value Statement and to conduct yourself and operate your business in a way that aligns with those values.

  3. Identify the Business Values: the way in which you will achieve your mission and objectives.

    A number of companies develop formal value statements.

    Ensure that all your business dealings are aligned with your company's values; therefore if you have employees, communicate the company values to them and ensure they understand what the values mean to them and to the organization and other stakeholders (a respectful workplace is an example of a company value).

  4. Conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and then identify the objectives of the business: consider growth by market, by product, by profit, by new services, by level of service provided, by customer satisfaction, by employee satisfaction, and so much more.

    Conduct an industry analysis and develop a competitive intelligence program to help you identify potential objectives.

  5. Define the organization's strategies (that is, policies and guidelines used to achieve the business's objectives).

    For example, outsourcing non-core business activities would be a good strategy for a small business with limited staff; achieving business growth through diversification and expanding its market geography is another viable strategy; adding more products and services to provide more of a hedge (if your services are seasonal) would also be a good strategy; and so on.

    And remember that a subset of all strategic plans needs to be the operations, financial, sales, marketing and human resource plans that are necessary to reach the business goals and objectives.

  6. Identify the Business Objectives and Goals: for example, grow market share by 10% a year over the next 3 years. Develop your product strategy to be part of strong market strategies.

  7. Action Plan or Achievement Plan: This section will provide details on how the strategic plan will be achieved. Include what the action is: who's responsible for getting the action done, how, when, and if necessary where and why.

Use this strategic plan checklist to create a plan to manage and drive the business.

strategic planning

Your strategic plan should be communicated to employees and other key stakeholders. Keep the plan active and in front of you. Make sure you begin to 'live the plan'. That's how the plan becomes a reality.

To develop a comprehensive and effective strategic plan, use this strategic plan checklist or use strategic planning samples as a template for your own plan.

But either way it is important to develop a checklist of important and measurable aspects of your business and then review them regularly. A strategic plan checklist must include a summary of your action plan (the action items in your plan that highlights what you need, what you have, and what you want to do).

If you do not have time to do a comprehensive strategic plan (and it takes some time - depending on the complexities of your business), at the least do a Simple Business Plan because a simple plan is still better than no plan.

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The Importance of Strategy

Why is strategizing important to your business?

Because it enables you to more clearly understand what you need to do to more your operation in the direction you need, and want, to go.

Doing a thorough analysis and review will enable you to implement more effective strategies, tactics and techniques.

Results and Strategy

strategic results

Definition of Business Model: It's Different

The type of tactical planning you complete as you strategize is important because it forces you to make difficult choices and difficult decisions.

(Make sure you understand the definition business model - the practices, and focus, of the business on delivering the value proposition - to engage in a strong and successful strategic planning process).

Also write down your choices and decisions to plan the actions necessary to move forward (use samples to provide you with a model for your own action plan).

The action plan is your road map. You must ensure that you are managing the direction you take.

Once you begin this planning process you will need to ensure that the plan you develop is do-able; make sure you include effectiveness measures in your plan.

And remember that your plan for strategy in business needs to be reviewed on a regular basis and be adapted as market and economic conditions change.

The end goal is not the plan but rather the results therefore make sure you have measurements in place to track results.

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Tools for Strategy Planning

Start with your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.

Add aspirations and results to the SWOT (some do SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results) as a separate activity) to ensure that your vision for your business is incorporated in your goals and objectives.

Conduct a market opportunity analysis and look for unmet needs that align with your objectives.

Doing a thorough analysis and review will enable you to implement more effective strategies, tactics and techniques.