In our post last week we covered financial planning for your small business, but planning long-term goes beyond finances. It’s time to identify opportunities your company has for growth and develop an action plan to build the vision you have for your business.
In this post, we’ll guide you through how to do an audit of your business, identify gaps, foster growth, define strategic goals, and create an action plan for long-term success.
A strategic goal is a vision for your business that is quantifiable and qualifiable. This means your goal should be trackable or measurable in some way.
When you set strategic goals, it might be helpful to think of SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. We talked a lot about setting SMART goals in this blog if you want to learn more!
We want to establish strategic and SMART goals in business so you can create an action plan to hit your goals! We’ll dive into this topic throughout the post.
Any strategic plans will take time and energy to complete. Sometimes, the fruits of your labor from strategic business planning could take months or years to enjoy! To make sure you achieve these long-term goals, it’s crucial to set progress markers throughout the process.
Try breaking down your large plan into stages. Start by creating quarterly progress markers, then break those down by monthly and weekly progress checkpoints.
Sally wants to create an online course by the end of the year. This is a big goal that will take time, planning, and support. Instead of looking at the end-of-year goal and feeling overwhelmed, we can break it down by quarter, by month, and even by the week.
… and so on for Q3 and Q4 until you’re ready to launch the course. You can then break these goals down even further by what’s achievable each week. At the end of the quarter, you can assess if you’re ahead or behind on your end of year goal and adjust accordingly.
In our post, Financial Planning for Your Small Business, we broke down how important it is to analyze where you spend your time. As business owners, it’s vital to know when hiring or outsourcing is best for your business. Sometimes strategic business planning helps us see how and why expanding your team is needed to achieve your goals.
Time is a limited resource. Through a business audit, you’ll be able to see where your time could be better spent or more efficient. There are some things only you can do, but there are other tasks in business you’re likely better to outsource so you can spend your time more effectively elsewhere.
Consider outsourcing tasks you don’t enjoy doing, repeatable tasks, and tasks you can create SOPs for. The old phrase “it takes money to make money” rings true for outsourcing. Often a strategic hire will make you money if it means you can spend more time doing revenue-generating activities. Building a team to support your business will set you up for long-term and sustainable success. To learn more about scaling your business sustainably, check out this post What Does it Mean to Build a Sustainable Business?
Strategic business planning is a very robust topic. We’re just scratching the surface in this post. If you are ready to use strategic business planning in your business, check out the Business Audit & Strategic Business Planning resource from the Business Backpack. It will show you how to conduct an in-depth audit, make confident decisions in your business, and develop an actionable plan for achieving your goals. If you need more in-depth and hands-on support with strategic business planning, our consulting services could be the solution for you.