Creating Next Year’s Strategic Plan? Keep These Tips in Mind

By Ruby Sahiwal

If you’ve started creating your 2020 strategic plan, you might have concrete goals you’re planning to include, but you may also be struggling to determine what else you should include. Check out these 10 considerations that you should keep in mind when you’re putting together your latest plan.

1. Have an Analysis of This Year’s Metrics On-Hand

Unless you know whether you met your 2019 goals and overcame the year’s challenges, you won’t be ready to forge a path for 2020. You can use the 2019 data to create a GAP analysis, comparing your actual performance with your desired future performance, and use the insights from this to help outline your 2020 plan.

2. Evaluate Whether Your Mission and Values Have Changed

When you envision a “strategic plan,” you may be thinking of financials, but you can’t outline your upcoming goals and processes without a clear knowledge of your company’s mission and values. If you haven’t created a mission statement, now is the time to do that. Reassess your firm’s values and put everything in writing so that everyone who reviews the plan will be aware of where you stand and where you want to go.

3. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Once you know your mission and how you did in 2019, you can analyze where your strengths were, as well as your weaknesses. Suppose your sales spiked after implementing a social campaign, but you didn’t get any organic leads via SEO searches. You can put “social” in the “strengths” column, while “SEO” might be a weakness. Knowing where you stand in each area can help you determine what to tackle in the future, and whether you might need to bring on outside help to solidify these areas.

4. Include Benchmarks and Deadlines for Your Goals

It’s not enough to set a goal that you hope to hit $100 million in sales by Q3 of 2020. You need to be able to identify the benchmarks that will get you there, along with deadlines on when you’ll meet the benchmarks. Keep in mind that this doesn’t just include your 2020 goals. Your strategic plan should also include a projection of your long-term goals, and what you hope to achieve over a longer period, such as five or ten years into the future.

5. Identify Who Will Handle Each Aspect of the Plan

Creating a plan is a great first step in achieving your goals, but it isn’t the endpoint. Ensure that the plan is actionable, and share details about who will take on the roles identified within it. For instance, if you’ve determined that 2020 will be the year that you create a sales team in the entire Midwestern region of the United States, link that goal to a person who will be in charge of identifying and hiring the staffers to fill those roles.

6. List Your Target Customers, Along With Their Needs/Wants

It’s essential to know who your target audience is, as well what the members of that group are looking for. If, for example, your company helps small businesses grow their walk-in customer base, it won’t be worth your while to target businesses that only have a web presence. Narrow down the field right from the beginning, and after determining who your customers are, find out their wants and needs. What areas of concern do they have that you can help them address? Knowing these facts can help you speak directly to them in your 2020 marketing and sales plans.

7. Identify Competitors and Analyze the Industry

You should know what the market size is for your industry, and you should also be able to identify your competitors. If you’re unable to determine who your competitors are, then assign someone to take on this task, because it’s very important to know. Once you are aware of the industry landscape and the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you’ll know better where you fit into the marketplace and what you can offer that others can’t.

8. Determine Who Will Monitor the Plans

Once you establish your 2020 plan, you’ll need someone (or multiple people) who will be tasked with ensuring that it is being followed. Establish in writing who will oversee the program and how the progress will be reported. Will you have monthly in-person meetings with the staff members responsible for implementing it? Will department heads submit reports? This should all be clearly spelled out.

9. Identify the Resources Required to Meet Goals

As you put together your plan, you’ll certainly come across some areas where you have goals but don’t have the resources to meet them. Perhaps you’ll need to contract with a marketing agency, or you might have to invest in a physical office presence in another city. Outline what these resources are, as well as potential costs to put them into place.

10. Share the Plan With Stakeholders

This step seems obvious, but many businesses will share the strategic plan with those who helped put it together, but not with other people who are named in it. If the staff accountant has benchmarks to meet as part of the 2020 plan, then that person should have the opportunity to read through it. The strategic plan is a framework but not necessarily the final say, so you should invite others to contribute their thoughts when relevant.

 

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