Often small businesses choose tools and technology without knowing their overall strategy, people, and processes. This is problematic and costly. To grab an axe and run into a burning building without accessing the weak points, who needs saving, and where the exits are is not heroic: it simply creates more work for the folks who clean up the rubble. And no one wants to end up in rubble. The MPWRSource Methodology of using strategy first then plans then people then process and lastly tools and technology makes sure that you start your mission off on the right foot.
Who Needs a Strategic Plan?
According to Small Business Trends, only 46% of small businesses have a strategic plan in place. Astrategic plan is the roadmap that guides the strategic direction of a business. Without a strategic plan, businesses become reactionary and often act without a clear focus or mission. Without a strategic plan, all shareholders are left confused about the overall mission and vision of the organization and often do not have the necessary action plans.Without a plan of action, all your efforts can seem haphazard and are ultimately, a gamble. No need to be Dr. Strange to see that most outcomes without a strategy in place will end up a failure. Without a plan, you’d be like the Joker, just a dog chasing cars, unsure of what to do if he ever caught one.
Before developing your strategic plan, you first need to perform a review of your business. MPWRSource offers a FREE Business Review that can get the ball rolling, or you can sign up for a complete business diagnostic. A FREE business review reviews your goals and objectives and perceived SWOT and comes with a simple action plan. A diagnostic and action plan (DAP) involves a deeper assessment that probes into operations, people, processes, and technology. The DAP also comes with an action plan.
A complete business diagnostic reviews your organization’s:
Financial position and goals
Current and future goals and objectives
Perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
Assessment that probes into operations, people, processes, and technology
Think about when you paint a room.
In order to paint a room well, there is far more entailed than simply rolling paint on the walls. There’s prep work involved: selecting the correct color requires painting samples of color on various walls to see how it looks in your particular context and light, taping all the edges, throwing down tarps, making sure you have the proper brushes, and having wet wipes on the ready for the inevitable slip ups. You will always be tempted to skip a step. Maybe you think, “Nope. I am not going to try out paint samples. I saw this color on Pinterest and Grape Mist is the perfect greige for my bedroom.” Well, I hope you like purple, Karen, because you just painted your bedroom violet. So now you must decide if you just live with results that don’t make you truly happy or begin again. And unless you are the Flash, doing something twice takes extra time and money.
Don’t paint your business into a corner of just living with a status quo that does not meet your clients’ needs or develop growth.
A Business Plan is NOT a Strategic Plan
You may be thinking that you did all this years ago when you first began your business. However, as markets evolve, our strategies must evolve as well. Sometimes we must take a second pass to make sure our plans set us flying in the right direction. Or, in the words of Agent Carter, “All we can do is our best, and sometimes the best we can do is start over.”
A thorough analysis of your business will result in the ability to create an action plan. This action plan will outline the steps you need to take to improve the overall health of your business and may include marketing, communications, and sales. A free business review also includes a quick review of a business’s resources because few supers operate entirely alone—Batman has Robin and Alfred, Spiderman has Ned in a chair behind a computer, and Iron Man has Pepper Potts.
A thorough review of your organization will sort out your organization’s priorities, strengths, and adversaries. If growth (revenue generation, for example) is deemed as a priority, your strategy should reflect this. To determine what tactics are necessary to reach your business goals, you should seek to know things like market research and opportunities.
Included in a thorough analysis of your organization:
Market research and description
Identification of potential new business(es), products, and services
Definitions of target markets
Insight to market opportunities
Insight into company
With the knowledge of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, target markets, and greatest allies, your next super move will be to craft a battle plan with your new insights.
After all the necessary research is complete, you will begin to craft your Strategic Growth Plan. A Strategic Growth plan will outline for you the tactics your business needs to take knowing that Batman was right, “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” The strategy gives you a good lay of the land and gives you the big picture. Whereas a growth plan is more tactical.
Perhaps it’s world domination you are after, but your Strategic Growth Plan will have all the research from the strategy step as well as things like marketing and sales plans.
For example, a good Growth Strategy outlines the overall missionor growth goal of the business, which includes S.M.A.R.T. goals. The Growth Plan outlines how a business will increase revenue through actionable tasks with key performance indicators. (Planning is one of our superpowers. Our plans have plans.) The strategy is the “who”, “what” and “where”, and the plan is the “when” and “how”. The purpose of MPWRSource’s strategy is to drive growth, which includes increasing revenue and ROI for clients through a variety of means. Therefore, the Growth Plan often includes boosting brand awareness and sales qualified leads through inbound and content marketing strategies and plans. The tactics used to implement these strategies and plans include blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, graphic design, social media, videos and podcasts, and content scripting all to help promote the brand and generate sales qualified leads. Finally, the Growth Plan outlines the sales process and sales game plans.
Having this information ensures that you are not only an expert in what you do, but also become an expert in your market, i.e., the whom you are doing all the things for. After all, it is Captain America’s love for his country and its people that compels his heroism.
We recognize that these plans are a vital aspect to a small business’ ability to succeed, designed to be actionable growth strategies that empower your companies’ greatest asset: its people.