3 Critical Components to Creating a Strategic Game Plan for Your Small Business BY Kelly O’Neil International “Good plans shape good decisions. That's why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.” Lester R. Bittel, The Nine Master Keys of Management
If you’re like other entrepreneurs, you started your business because you had a dream. A dream of bringing your passion to life…having the freedom to make your own rules and decisions…and putting money into YOUR pocket rather then making someone else rich. But then something happened. You find yourself doing tasks you find draining rather then invigorating, you have a to-do list a mile long and it never seems to get any shorter and you don’t have any time to do anything except work in your business. And worst of all, the money doesn’t seem to be flowing in the way you thought it would be. How did this happen? I encourage you to really think about this question: “Are You Planning to Succeed or Not To Fail?” If you are like 95% of the other small business owners out there, you probably don’t have a strategic plan that ensures you will achieve your desired outcome. If you want to come and play with the 5% of us that are getting what we want out of our businesses, then it is time to put some pen to paper and create a strategic plan. Strategic planning is a blueprint for maintaining or expanding a business. It can be a summary of an existing situation or a method of setting down goals and strategies for improvement or change. If you are serious about making a success of your own business, you must have a plan. Your plan will help you make decisions based on anticipated outcomes, rather than on instinct, or on seemingly good opportunities. It will help you make decisions from a position of strength and this will translate into bottom line results.
There are many components that I work with my clients to incorporate into their business and marketing plan such as revenue modeling, financial forecasting, budgeting, specific campaign ideas, product funnels and organizational flow charts as examples. If you do not have a plan currently, these three components are a great starting point to get you thinking strategically about running your business.
Component 1: Begin with the End in Mind and Create a Vision Statement
It never ceases to amaze me that people do not identify outcomes they wish to achieve. Many people engage in activities in their businesses, but they haven’t clearly defined what they want to attain. They are completing tasks, but they aren’t focused on accomplishing clear-cut results. Why is it so critical to determine outcomes for a project, a meeting, a sales call, or any other situation? Because if you don’t know what your outcome is, the odds are that you will spend a lot of unnecessary time and money trying to reach a fuzzy target. And there is a very strong chance that the target will not even be reached. Outcomes let you know where you are going. They give you important information about how to use your resources – time, money, and employees. When you know your outcome, you can continually make important decisions – is this going to help me reach my goal or will this take me further away from my objective? I recommend that you write a 3-5 year Vision Statement. A vision statement is like a picture of your company in the future; it is your inspiration, the framework for all your strategic planning. The vision statement answers the question, “Where do we want to go and what are we creating here?” Here is a sample Vision statement: Within the next three years, ABC Coaching Company will support 5,000 entrepreneurs in UpLeveling their business and the company will grow its gross annual revenue to $300,000 dollars through offering group coaching programs and private coaching programs, live events and home study products. 10 % of all annual income will be donated to charity. Exercise: Write Your Vision Statement
Step 2: Decide What Needs to Be Done This Year to Obtain Your Vision Now that you have the big vision solidified, you need to decide what is reasonable to achieve this year to keep on track to obtaining your big vision. To do this we need to set our Strategic Business Objectives. A strategic business object is a goal that is stated with a strategic action item incorporated. When most people set goals they say something like “I want to create more sales.” The problem with this is that we don’t know what that looks like or how it is going to get done. Try writing your strategic business objectives like this: I will increase my online product sales to create $50,000 of passive revenue income in 2006 through public relations, strategic partnerships, pay per click advertising, and placing articles online. What you will find is that several strategies will fulfill several objectives. For example, not only does PR build credibility and brand awareness, it will also drive traffic to your site. Strategic partnerships will directly increase your revenue, build your list, provide you with promotional opportunities and build your brand. If you align your goals with strategic activities that have “more bang for the buck” you will earn more and work less. How does that sound? Evaluating your success or failure is easy, because your goal is specific rather than general. And suddenly, instead of just having a goal that you may or may not achieve, depending on chance, you have a specific battle plan to follow to achieve the goal you've set. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, you've set yourself up for success.
Exercise: Write 3 Strategic Objectives
Step 3: Take Massive Actions Consistently To Reach Your Objectives Here is where the rubber meets the road. You must take strategic action to reach your objectives. This doesn’t mean getting really “busy” and flinging out a bunch of marketing to people on your list. What this does mean is creating a month by month action plan to fulfill each strategic objective. If PR is one of the major marketing methods you will use to build your business, then develop a month by month targeted campaign at the most important publications and broadcast media. If developing strategic partnerships is on the agenda, make a list potential partners and an action plan on how you could joint venture best to support each other in reaching your goals each month. Exercise: Create a month by month, one page plan with the strategic actions that are within you budget and time constraints. Strategic plans can help perform a number of tasks for those who write and read them. It will help communicate to vendors and prospective clients and get your employees or contracts on board with your vision. Ultimately, it will help you bring in more money, while saving valuable time and money.