As a business coach for over 25 years, I can attest to the power of strategic planning. I have seen business owners come in who were barely making ends meet and struggling to take their businesses to the next level, start to scale and grow at lightning speed once they learned how to properly plan and strategize for the upcoming year.
But getting started can be difficult, especially if you aren't used to strategic planning. So today, I wanted to share with you three things that you can focus on to create a strategic plan that will help your business reach a new level in the months and years ahead.
1. Your short-term limiting factor.
When thinking about key limiting factors in your business, think of the one limitation that is currently doing the most to limit your growth and success and that would continue to be an issue over the next three to six months. This could be supply chain issues, customer retention, or having a strong sales team. Whatever it may be for you and your business, get clear on what it is that is limiting your growth so that you can focus on it in the year ahead.
2. Your medium- to long-term limiting factor.
These are the things that will limit your growth over the next one to five years, depending. While these will likely be a bit more difficult to solve in a quarter or a year's time, understanding their significance and working towards making progress on these factors will ultimately help you scale faster and with less resistance. Getting clear on your long-term limiting factors gives you insights into the capabilities that you'll likely need to develop over the next few years to address those issues. Developing capabilities often takes time, which is why it is imperative that you identify limiting factors early on.
3. Your key strategic decisions.
As a business owner, you make decisions every day, and they won't all be good ones. Some will waste energy and resources (like your time, focus, money, or customer's attention) and ultimately end up causing more harm than good.
All too often, business owners get so caught up in the day-to-day adrenaline of running their business that they forget to step back and think through their strategic decisions. So, when you begin your strategic planning, take some time to go over your key strategic decisions and decide whether they were or are the right ones for your business at this juncture. It is much easier to pivot than to try to dig yourself out of a hole years down the road.
Once you have a good handle on your short-term and long-term limiting factors and review your current strategic decisions, you should be in a good place to start planning out the year ahead. Write out the three main objectives that you would like to accomplish by year's end, and then break it down into quarters to make it easier for you and your team to achieve your goals.