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The Alternative Board Blog

How To Write a Surprisingly Easy and Effective Strategic Plan

Feb. 28, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
how-to-write-a-strategic-plan

While it is true that writing a strategic plan is often a tiresome process, with the right knowledge and a clear strategy model, it can be surprisingly easy.

Strategic planning always takes time, but the reward is completely worth it. If written and executed properly, it will realign stakeholders with your company's objectives. New circumstances arise constantly, and strategic plans change as the business climates change. A strategic plan isn't definite – both internal and external changes affect it.

Often called strategy development, strategic planning requires strong attention to detail and an experienced planning team.

Core Elements To Include In Your Strategic Plan

Before learning how to write a strategic plan, you should first learn about the core elements to include in it:

Vision Statement: You shouldn't start working on a strategic plan without a defined Vision Statement. It will help in setting strategy towards achieving the most important objectives of your business. 

Company values: Your values represent the way you behave as a company as you work on your goals. Some good values include being compassionate, accountable, innovative, and passionate.

Focus areas: Focus areas are the crucial operations and processes you'll focus on as you work toward achieving your vision.

Strategic objectives: Strategic objectives represent your high-level goals. It's important to define them and align them with your focus areas.

KPIs: KPIs define the ways you will measure your company's progress in achieving business objectives.

Projects: Projects represent the things you do to achieve your business goals. They are very specific and time-sensitive.

Where Are We Now?

The first step of writing a strategic plan is looking at your current position. You need to think about where your company is now and check if your fundamental values are still in place if you want to learn how to write a strategic plan.

The three important elements to observe:

Mission statement: Every business needs a mission statement to describe and define the company's purpose. You may include various things in your mission statement, but it should clearly say what your organization does and why it exists.

Guiding principles: Your guiding principles define what your business stands for and what you believe in as a company. Revise what values and beliefs guide the daily activities and interactions among management and employees.

SWOT: Another essential element for creation is your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). You need to be aware of each element so you can create a strategy that improves your overall success.

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Where Are We Going?

When wondering how to write a strategy plan, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is, "Where are we going?"

It will help you get a clear vision of where your company is headed in the future and what you want to achieve. The future may be hard to predict, but several elements can help you get an insight into possible outcomes based on various indicators, such as:

Sustainable Competitive Advantage: Every business should work hard on creating a sustainable competitive advantage that will set their company apart from competitors.  Think about the best aspects of your business. How is it unique? What can your company do better than any other company?

Vision Statement: A clear vision of what your organization will look like in the future is necessary for creating a good strategy. It will give everyone a path to follow.

How Will We Get There?

Determining how you'll reach your vision is the most important part of a strategic plan, and it's also the one that's most time-consuming. Since there are many ways for you to travel from the point where you are now to your future vision, it takes time to find the right one. Picking a certain route will define how slowly or quickly you reach your final destination, so it's very important to choose wisely.

When brainstorming ways to achieve your vision, you need to consider various elements, such as strategic objectives, strategy, short-term objectives, action plans, scorecards, and plan execution. Each of these elements is vital for the future success of your strategic plan, and each requires attention.

You need to define both long-term and short-term goals clearly and cover every aspect of planning when looking for ways to optimize your operations.

How To Set Priorities In Your Strategic Plan

If you're wondering how you write a strategic plan without knowing the priorities, the answer is – you don't. You must set your strategic priorities first, and that often takes time. There are three areas to look at when setting priorities in your plan:

Current situation: Think about which aspects of your business are doing great, and which aspects need improvement. Recognize what's holding you back from reaching your objectives.

Future perspective: Knowing your current situation isn't enough for creating an optimal strategic plan. Since no one can predict the future precisely, it's best to gather a team and talk about team member's visions of the future of your business.

Value proposition: Your value proposition is a group of the most distinctive reasons why your customers should be interested in your product or service.

We've covered the basics of how to write a strategic plan, but if you want to learn more, contact us today to set up a strategic business plan consultation. Our business advisory services have helped numerous organizations reach their objectives faster and more efficiently.

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Written by The Alternative Board

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