The Benefits of Strategic Planning

Brent Szalay

"Creating a strategic plan will give your business a road-map to grow and achieve whatever it* is you're chasing; growth, more time back, less dependancy on you, etc."

There is nothing more I love than working with passionate and aspiring business owners to help them achieve their goals (and make them that bit happier). The way I go about this is to introduce them to my – Strategic Business Planning Process.

The planning process gives your business a clear vision and roadmap to get there, with a framework to monitor your performance. Helping you stay focused, while also providing you with the information to make quick decisions to realign, if you’ve gone off-track.

Step 1- Visualise Your Dream Business
How? A workshop to discover (or even rediscover) your vision and ‘why’ you do what you do (your purpose).

  1. Vision
  2. Purpose
  3. Values
  4. Your target client
  5. Market position
  6. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Step 2: Current State
Analyse your business’ current position by answering the following:

  1. Identify strategic issues to address
  2. Conduct a SWOT Analysis – Get your team to fill out a simple survey
  3. Define market opportunities and strengths
  4. List main threats & weaknesses

Step 3: Strategies & Priorities
Develop strategies & priorities that will allow you to realise your vision

  1. Use your SWOT analysis to set priorities.
  2. Identify Strategic Objectives and set SMART goals.
    • List 5 long-term objectives – to be achieved in 2 years
    • List 5 Short-Term Goals – To be achieved in the next 12 months
  3. Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for you and your team. The trick in to ensure they’re measurable and can be reported on.
  4. Prioritise objectives into actions with timelines over the next 12 months

Step 4: Management Reporting
Translate strategy into management reports to measure performance:

  1. Design a financial model for up to 3 years in order to test strategy
  2. Design 3 way forecasts for the next 12 months
  3. Summarise KPIs into a dashboard report

Step 5: Resources
Align resources to ensure you have the people & money to achieve your goals

  1. Capacity Planning
    • Assess people & organisational structure
  2. Budget
    • Align a Cashflow budget with a 1 year plan
  3. Staff Rollout
    • Communicate strategy to your team, or better yet include them in the process

Step 6: Execute the Plan
Don’t rely on your memory, plan your implementation and follow up

  1. Set calendar reminders to complete action items
  2. Diarise accountability meetings quarterly and measure progress


Step 7: Re-Discover
This isn’t just a one-off process, as your business evolves your strategic plan needs to with it:

  1. Update your strategic plan annually
  2. Hold an annual retreat and return to phase 1

I get really fired up about strategic planning because, from experience, I know it works. A business can change very quickly when the owners are fired-up, passionate and focused. Their energy becomes contagious and re-invigorates the team, leading to a better working environment and greater business performance.

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So, what it* is you’re aiming for?