If your business is struggling with sales, customer retention, web traffic, employee retention, conversions, getting the phone to ring, communication or anything else that directly affects operations, morale and the bottom line, perhaps it’s because you don’t have a strategic plan or that the person leading your marketing efforts is playing darts with your business and hoping something sticks.
If this describes the state of your company right now, don’t feel alone. The reality is that 86% of executive teams spend less than one hour a month discussing strategy. Even more alarming: 95% of a typical workforce doesn’t understand its organization’s strategy.
Wherever you are in the evolution of your business, having a strategic plan in place is a roadmap to success. Without it, it’s like the blind leading the blind. No one on the team knows the rules or the plays, which means everyone is doing what they think they should to keep sales coming in, but the efforts are not coordinated and strategic and even can be counter-productive to the unspoken goals.
You wouldn’t start a business without a business plan, a framework to follow. A strategic plan takes that to the next level, analyzing the business to set realistic goals and objectives. In a full- or half-day session that brings together your leadership team and select individuals who interface with the customers daily, the team engages in meaningful discussions of what has worked and what hasn’t and explores new opportunities to make the company even better, stronger and more financially secure.
These discussions lead to the creation of a formal document that puts the company’s goals, strategies, tactics, deadlines and individuals responsible for each on paper. Developing a strategic plan helps managers and the team step back and:
- Examine where they are
- Determine where they want to go
- Figure out how they are going to get there
- Determine how they measure success
- Evaluate how they have been doing
- Explore how they can improve
This customized strategic plan provides the team with an actionable template of short-term and long-term goals to follow so everyone is heading in the same direction.
A well-thought out strategic plan efficiently fosters company growth, goal achievement and employee satisfaction. This confluence of communication among the team additionally:
- Helps formulate better strategies using a logical, systemic approach
- Enhances communication between employers and employees
- Empowers individuals working in the organization
- Gets teams working toward the same goal
- Increases efficiency and productivity
- Delivers almost immediate results
While many businesses hold these sessions in Q4 or Q1, the best time to conduct a strategic planning session is the minute you are ready to be proactive and establish your company’s roadmap to success.
Heather Hunter of Heather Hunter Marketing is a strategic marketing communications consultant with more than 20 years experience helping clients craft and amplify messaging for internal and external audiences. From marketing and communications plans to strategic planning and content development to PR, writing and editing, Heather works with businesses of all sizes in all industries.