Ok, it may seem daunting and something you believe only ‘big’ corporates do, but even a simple plan written on the back of a beer mat can provide you with the strategic direction you need to succeed – not that I recommend that! Simply put, it states where are you now; where you want to get to; and how you are going to get there.
Every plan is different and depends on the company. There are plenty of templates out there, and my last article on templates for business includes some links https://creativecopywritingsg.com/7-awesome-templates-you-need-for-your-business/. However, you can create your own. Just be aware of the basic sections you need:
- Executive summary – a clear and concise overview of the plan. It is best to write this after completing the rest of your plan.
- Elevator pitch or company description – a brief outline of your organisation that is short enough to be read or heard during the average elevator ride. It should define what you are as a company; describe what your company does; Identify your ideal client and customer, and highlight what makes your company unique.
- Mission statement – explains why your business exists and what it is trying to achieve? It must define your company’s purpose; say what you do; who you do it for; and why it is valuable? Be inspirational, while remaining realistic, and be succinct.
- Vision statement – describes what your company wants to achieve long-term. This should be short (a few sentences, maximum around 100 words), and include where your company is headed and what you want your company to be? It should inspire, be specific, provide direction and be ambitious.
- Core values – are the fundamental principles that drive the company to do what it does.
- Goals – are broad statements about what you want to achieve as a company, and are usually qualitative. They function as a description of where you want to go, and they can address both the short and long term. They should be “S.M.A.R.T.” (specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable, and timely).
- Objectives – designed to support your goals, they’re usually quantitative and measurable and describe how you will measure the progress needed to reach your goal(s).
- Industry analysis – look outside of your business for planning ahead. Analyse what is going on inside your company? Does it address a problem? What are your competitors doing? Who are your target customers? What are your obstacles? This is where you need to include your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.
After you come up with your goals and objectives, you need to figure out the logistics and practicalities. Who will focus on what? how you will market your product or service? How you will pay for what you need to do?
- Marketing plan – describes how you attract prospects and convert them into customers.
- Capacity – state the output your business can produce, e.g. x number of products a week/month etc.
- Operations plan – outline the physical necessities of your business’ operation, such as your physical location, facilities, and equipment required.
- Financial projections – this is one of the most essential components of the plan, especially if you need to attract investors or obtain a bank loan. If you don’t need financing, compiling a financial forecast helps justify and steer your business. Do your estimated costs and projected profits add up? Be realistic!
- Evaluation methods – how are you going to measure your company’s success to assess progress over time? Will it be by profit? Customer satisfaction? The number of new customers?
The following checklist will help you keep track of what you have done and what you still need to do.
Also, here are a few suggestions of words to use in your plan:
Once written, it is essential to check your plan regularly. This ensures you’re progressing toward your goals and ascertain if you need to make any modifications. You can’t plan for everything, and you must be ready at a moment’s notice to amend your plan.
Creating a strategic plan can be challenging, and time-consuming, but it will make all the difference in streamlining your business processes and achieving your long term goals! Good luck!