How To Optimize Your Long-Term Strategic Plan in 7 Steps
Major Points of the Article
Long-term strategic plans are very important to help your business grow.
They can create clarity and structure around your goals for you and your team.
To optimize the plan and avoid skewed thinking, an external advisor can construct this plan for you.
Why is a Long-Term Strategy Important?
Long-term strategic plans are often seen as a waste of time or ineffective by many business owners. However, those businesses that do succeed and do exceptionally well, always have a five to ten-year strategic plan.
Such success comes from these plans as they help the company (and its workers) to work towards the overall growth goals. It creates an understanding of the how, why and when certain actions need to be implemented. Only through this greater understanding (and action) can everyone within the business help you to succeed and grow.
A long-term strategic plan helps with business growth as it covers your larger goals that take a long time to achieve/implement. Over time, with monitoring, these large goals can be achieved which are usually centered around your business improvement, expansion, diversification, acquisition, or selling of the business.
As these plans occur over a long period of time, they can be used for risk management. It involves exploring future possibilities while creating actionable plans to reduce the risk if certain outcomes occur. Additionally, the goals can be tracked against the plan's targets while it is in action to monitor the growth and mitigate risks as they occur. On the other hand, it can be used to evaluate growth plans to assess which ones are less risky, providing the ideal ROI you are looking for.
As you will know, budgeting is very important, especially when having to pay employees and debt. Within the plan, cash flow projections can be used to determine or avoid any future cash flow issues. Furthermore, you can use the strategic plan to know how much cash will be required to implement certain actions/ventures, and then in the future, you can avoid potential loans.
Testing is a great element within your strategic plan, as you will know how to test campaigns, products, services, and more... for the level of success you are looking for before expanding on the opportunity. This can minimize future potential costs and maximize your profitability.
What is a Long-Term Strategy?
A long-term strategic plan is a comprehensive plan for the business that outlines the goals for the future. Usually, the plan is comprised of many smaller goals that help you to eventually meet the ultimate objective.
Essentially, your plan should be viewed as a valuable tool to communicate the company's vision, market share growth, brand equity, profitability, trajectory, stakeholder satisfaction, and more... But most importantly, your plan must be realistic in what can be achieved.
How to Optimize Your Long-Term Strategy
Identify Goals The first step to optimizing or creating your long-term strategy is to identify the long-term goals. Goals that you want to achieve in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, and from there what are the smaller goals that will eventually lead to its overall success. You should include goals such as areas to improve, new initiatives you want to implement, and (possibly) expansion goals. These should be realistic and measurable in order for you and your team to be able to manage them.
Create Action Plans These are how you plan to achieve your goals - a stepwise process that you or members of your team will put into play that will lead to accomplishing the overarching goals.
Develop a Timeline After you have outlined your goals and action plans, you will need to schedule them across the timeframe you would like to achieve them in. However, not all plans should start on day one. The importance of this step is it enables you to potentially stagger or start certain steps to optimize the outcome while avoiding potential cash flow issues. For example, a particular product or service may have seasonable sales. By constructing your plan to be ready for these sales, you can maximize the potential revenue.
Adjust Sales and Marketing Plans As you will be improving your business, this will also include adjusting your sales and marketing plans to optimize the returns. Such changes are necessary as how you did business before might not work in the future. Consider aspects like your target audience, competition, the scale of the opportunity, and more. If you are selling into a new region or demographic, consider what changes will you need to make and can your operations handle that level of sales.
Communicate with Your Team This is the most vital component of the strategy. Communicating the plans to the team helps them to understand why and how they will be involved in the future. It also helps you and your team align towards the common goal. Additionally, they can become quite excited by the potential growth opportunities it will provide for their own careers.
Revise Your Plan This will give you the opportunity to seek feedback, find errors, review opportunities, and even find potential new ones. Seeking feedback is the most important one because as a business owner, you will sometimes have a skewed view of how the situation really is. By having an external advisor review or create this plan it can avoid any myopic views or internal misconceptions.
Implement Your Strategy Now, you are ready to implement the long-term strategy. If your strategy is comprehensive, easy to understand, and realistic, then it will be easy to follow and accomplish. Make sure to have regular meetings to evaluate your team's progress as this will create accountability increasing its chance for success. It can also help with communicating the progress.
Bonus - Repeat As the plan is being implemented, you will need to assess and track its progress. Is it on track, is it not? Doing this can help you determine if your plan is working or if it needs some improvement as revising the plan can make it even better.
So when was the last time you created or reviewed your long-term strategic plan? If it has been a while or you need that external view from someone else then you should speak to Paradelta Strategy. We are a business strategy and brand equity-building company that specialises in reviewing and improving your business. Over the years, we have helped businesses across Australia to grow and expand, nationally and internationally, and grow significantly in profits. To get assistance with your business, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a no-obligation discovery call here.