What is a Strategic Plan?
Strategic planning sounds more complicated than it is. A strategic plan is a document where you list your goals and how you are going to achieve them. It’s kind of like a quick reference guide to your medium and long term goals.
SMART Principle stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time. This the way you break down each goal into actionable pieces.
One of the biggest challenges we face when creating a business document, such as a strategic plan or a business plan, is that we don’t know what it should look like. We’ve created a two goal strategic plan which you can use as a model for your strategic plan (Click to download the PDF).
You’ll notice, in our example, that each of the goals has an Objective, Goal Manager, and Category section. The Objective is the broad stroke which will have a series of specific goals. The Goal Manager is the person who is in charge of the specific goal. The Category let’s you break down and organize your goals by department or areas of your business i.e. financial, marketing etc.
The way to think of it, is each of your categories could have multiple objectives. Each of your objectives could have multiple specific goals broken into SMART Principles. Your strategic plan may consist of one goal, or 50, depending on your business.
Be specific when setting your goals. Many people set broad goals for themselves and their businesses. When broad goals are set you don’t give yourself enough information on how to achieve your goal, you won’t know when or if you’ve accomplished your goal, and more times than not, you will completely forget about it. When setting a goal include as much information as you can to define the outcome you want to achieve.
When setting your goals make sure that you include how you will track your progress. List the programs and specific tools you will use to track your objectives.
Achievable and Assignable
This is the biggest part of your goal. In this section you will list all of the resources and actions that are required to achieve the specific goal you have listed. You will also assign these tasks to specific people who will be responsible for achieving the task. Pretty much, this section of your goal planning becomes a to-do list.
Goals must be realistic, which isn’t to say they can’t be difficult. Once you have defined your specific goal and all of the tasks that must be completed to achieve that goal, it’s time to re-exam if the goal is realistic.
This is perhaps the most important part of the goal setting process. Setting a time frame in which you want to accomplish a goal will help you focus your attention, set your priorities and help ensure that you stay on target. Businesses are going to have multiple goals in a strategic plan and setting a time frame in which you would like to have each one completed will allow you to organize and prioritize your strategic plan.
Any goal worth doing is worth writing down. A strategic plan is an easy to read document to help keep you on track.
Don’t give up on the plan if, and when, you get behind. Re-evaluate and adjust your timeline. If you have any questions about setting up a strategic plan contact us.
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