By Art Russel
You should ask yourself whether your tactical plan is worth the piece of paper it's written on. Are you able to place a dollar amount on the value of your plan and the influence it has on the community or the clients that you serve? You would be astonished to learn that a strategy that is well thought out and effective can more than quadruple your revenue and boost your credibility. These are the strategic plans that we utilize as a basis for the funding proposals that we submit on behalf of our customers. We just don't get enough glimpses of them, which is a shame.
What do these exemplary examples of strategic planning look like?
What is it about them that makes them so successful?
Here are five ways to maximize the benefits of your strategy, build your credibility, and boost your sales:
1 Make a plan for the next three to five years.
Instead of focusing on achieving results over the course of one year, a strategic plan looks out over a period of three to five years. Anything that takes less time than the overall time frame might be considered operational. A company needs access to people resources, research and development, governance, money, and infrastructure, in addition to having the ability to measure its success within realistic time limits, in order to grow or become viable. How can you build effective strategies for marketing, human resources, or finances if you don't have strategic goals that are outlined in a clear and concise manner? If the organization's future course is not made crystal apparent, how can members of the public possibly assist to shaping it?
2 Recruit assistance from outside sources straight from the beginning.
If you are in the process of developing a new strategic plan, you might want to think about bringing in an outside facilitator right from the start. This person can help with the planning process, as well as information collection, facilitation, and developing the plan itself. They lend an air of objectivity to the procedure, and other benefits include the following:
Internal savings of time and money achieved through the outsourcing of routine tasks
When an inside person facilitates and drives the content of the plan, there is a potential for that person to have an undue impact on the design of the plan; therefore, it is important to minimize this risk as much as possible.
Making it possible for all involved stakeholders to fully participate in crafting the strategy through consultation and discussion on an equal footing is an important step.
3 Incorporate a situation analysis that has been thoroughly investigated.
Some companies rely on the information and impressions that are kept within the company to make educated guesses about what is going on in the external environment. They then utilize this limited knowledge to analyze both the current state of affairs and potential developments in the future. Because we live in a world that is constantly evolving, it only makes sense that in order to be strategic and keep one step ahead of the competition, we need to study demographic and economic statistics, as well as the policies of our competitors, stakeholders, and the government. This is the foundation upon which innovation is built. Check out the plans that have been made by the local government council to get an idea of how a solid situation analysis can help support a robust prognosis for the next three to five years. If it doesn't work, you might as well just pay Gypsy Rose Lee to read the future from her crystal ball.
4 Your programs, products, and services are not the same thing as your goals and plans.
Take a step back and concentrate on your company's vision and mission if the company is currently your primary concern. Achieving success requires more than just offering programs, goods, and services; these are only some of the components of the equation. Think about ‘how, when, why, who, and where,' starting with ‘what' needs to happen so that we can get from A to B in x amount of time so that we may reach y (where y is our end goal or vision). Make use of the process of strategic planning to generate original ideas for programs, goods, and services by forcing yourself to think creatively outside of the norm and working backwards.
5 Measure your results
This is the beating heart of the strategy plan, and it is what differentiates the victors from the rest of the competition. This is the part that the majority of strategic plans gloss over, possibly because it is too difficult to think about, or possibly because it is an indication that the Board of Directors or Committee of Management does not understand its role in setting and monitoring the direction of the organization. Even some operations that are worth a million dollars don't measure their results in any way other than the balance sheet.
If you want to provide the impression that your organization is credible, but you don't have any evidence, how can you achieve it? How exactly do you determine whether or not the organization is making progress?
Those who have been successful in securing significant amounts of funding and/or establishing their credibility have the following components in place to facilitate their work with large and small clients alike:
The Board fulfills its responsibility by acting as the organization's driver.
It then goes through an intensive process of strategic planning, which assists in the identification of voids and opportunities, both of which are capitalized on.
They monitor and evaluate progress. They benchmark, make use of qualitative and quantitative data, and measure things in terms of how effective and efficient they are. They assess all they do, not merely for the purpose of continuous development but also to provide evidence of the difference they make in the world. It is conceivable, even in socially oriented operations, to collect testimonials and anecdotes in order to add feeling and a human touch to the data that is being collected.
Which of these two organizations would you choose if you were intending to invest money in one of them? Which would you rather have: an organization that demonstrates it has its finger on the pulse, sets its goals, and works towards achieving them in an efficient and effective manner, or an organization that, when all is said and done, is unable to really demonstrate the difference it makes for the people it serves? The customers we work with who conduct performance evaluations across all areas and also incorporate this into their strategic plan are the ones who, in our experience, are the most successful when it comes to securing substantial awards. Your revenue may more than quadruple and your credibility could significantly improve if you undertook a process of strategic planning that was well-planned and was then put into action.