This time of year, many businesses turn their thoughts to strategic planning. But what is the ultimate goal of long-term planning? And what are the five steps in the strategic planning process?
Let’s break it down, starting with the reason people adopt strategic planning in the first place.
What is the strategic planning process?
Strategic planning is a tool that helps you establish the mission and direction of your business. By evaluating where you are and where you’re going, you can plan for growth and success.
Strategic planning is a philosophical approach to business that, when executed well, can give you and your employees concrete ways to respond to challenges and opportunities. By identifying your mission, vision, values and goals, you can make a more effective action plan to achieve them.
What are the five steps in the strategic planning process?
While it can vary depending on the company, strategic planning process typically consists of five steps:
1. Set goals
Clarify the vision of your business by setting goals.
- What are your short- and long-term goals?
- What processes will help you achieve them?
- How can you break down your bigger goals so every employee can participate?
By giving every employee detailed, realistic, measurable tasks, you ensure everyone gets an opportunity to contribute to the company’s success.
2. Analyze your business
Gather as much information about your business as possible.
- Where is your business heading?
- What does your business need to do to be sustainable?
- What about to grow?
Identify your strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities — and be honest. The strategic planning process only works if you’re willing to evaluate your business openly and honestly, and to look at both internal and external factors that may affect you.
3. Create your strategy
Review all the data collected during analysis.
- What resources do you already have that can help you reach your goals?
- Where do you need outside help?
- What issues are most pressing and which can wait?
Once you prioritize your goals, your strategy should start taking shape.
4. Implement your strategy
Put your plan into action.
- Secure any necessary resources or funding.
- Outline every employee’s responsibilities and how they’ll be measured.
- Start executing the plan with an eye on monitoring results.
5. Monitor your strategy
Measure and review results as you go, and correct mistakes.
- Are your results matching up with your projections?
- Is your strategy moving your company closer to its goals?
- If it’s not, what changes can you make so that it will?
If you do need to make changes to your strategic plan, set new deadlines. If your plan isn’t moving the needle once those deadlines are up, go back to step three and start again. It’s not uncommon for businesses to have to repeat the strategic planning process, but you’re less likely to need to if everyone is focused and accountable.
What role does time tracking plan in the strategic planning process?
Workplace accountability is crucial for any business, but it’s even more important when it comes to executing a strategic plan. Success is only possible when each employee understands their tasks, is present and on time for their shifts, and performs their duties as planned. Time tracking makes all of that possible by removing administrative burdens, getting everyone on the same page and increasing productivity.
Research shows that building layers of accountability into your business leads to a more dedicated staff, heightened capability, better morale and higher levels of satisfaction within the workplace.