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Every manner of business, whether large or small, can engage in strategic planning.

Larger companies tend to be more likely to engage in strategic planning, not because it is more meaningful to them but because they hire professional management teams that appreciate the remarkable impact achieved through the use of a strategic plan.

Wouldn’t you want your business to be profitable and your employees to have higher morale?

What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is the process of documenting and establishing a clear direction for your business.

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It is built on assessing where you are as a business and where you are going. It gives you a place to precisely outline your mission, vision, and core values.

Your strategic plan also captures your long-term goals, and the action plans you will use to reach them.

A well-written strategic plan will play a critical role in growing and scaling your business. It tells you and your employees how to best respond to upcoming opportunities and challenges.

So how do you use strategic planning to grow and scale your business?

1. Include the Right People

In most cases, businesses restrain from sharing information on their strategy and planning out of the fear that it could end up in the wrong hands. Keeping a tight circle on who you have your strategic conversations with is alright, provided it does not keep the information from flowing to the right people.

If your information flow is blocked by your top management, the people that are closest to the customers may not get a feel of your business strategy and plan. Since they interact closely with your customers, they get the most information on their preferences, problems, and potential solutions.

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Your strategic plan should inform how all decisions are made within your organization to ensure the desired objectives are achieved. So letting in your employees who are not necessarily in the top management is critical.

It will help you avoid having capable employees who are unwilling to share their opinions since they do not feel included. You should consider including as many people as possible in your strategy and planning, provided you can trust them, and they can think strategically.

As you include more people in your strategic planning process, you do not only widen the circle of information but create a high level of rhythm and performance within your organization.

It allows all the contributing stakeholders to evaluate how each individual role and task is building up to the overall goal.

2. Collect the Factual Data

Business growth is made up of numerous dynamics that every business must keep up with to enjoy steady growth. You need to find a way of accessing pertinent market data that is essential in shaping your strategic action plan.

From the external market forces, your business will be better placed to face the competition in the industry.

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You should also capture and mine internal data within your business. Establish a reporting channel so that information flows on different segments such as customer and product categories.

As you survey the participants of your strategy, you will be able to gather information and rank the strategic issues based on urgency and priority.

Business growth is all about timing and strategy, both of which thrive on factual data that in effect spur your business to grow.

3. Invest in Talent

Your employees have direct contact with your clients; they represent your business image to them. You need to hire people who are inspired and motivated by the value proposition of your organization.

Of all the resources, your employees are the greatest assets, so you need to make sure you get the right ones for your business.

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If all your employees are in tune with your strategy, your business will rapidly scale up the walls of success. Since you need to acquire data from them and share your strategy information, you need to assemble the right team.

It would be better to only hire a few employees, pay them well and establish a true connection. This way, your business strategy and planning will achieve its highest potential.

4. Keep Your Competition Close

As you work out your business strategy, you need to constantly take a look at your competition. The interaction of market forces affect the growth rate of your business, and the effect of such forces is evident in the business dealings of your competition.

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It is likely that one of the competitors in your industry is excelling at something that your business is struggling with. Looking towards similar businesses will help you discover new, unique ways in the market through which you can inform your growth strategy.

5. Establish Your Value Proposition

To enjoy longevity and sustain your business growth, you need to understand what sets your business apart from your competitors.

Why do customers come to you for a particular product or service?

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It is key to identifying what makes you different, credible, and relevant in the industry.

Once you figure out your selling point, use it to gain more customers as you seek to grow towards your plan. You need to establish the special benefit only your business can provide and capitalize on it, giving it maximum attention. It is the most effective way through which you will keep adding values and growth to your business.

6. Define Your Ideal Customer

Specialization is key in making you a master in your industry. Instead of targeting general customers, your business needs to solve a problem for a certain audience. You need to ensure that your target audience works along all the decision making in your business strategy.

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Identifying your ideal client base will help you deliver on your value proposition. As you revert back to this audience and commit your best efforts to yield customer satisfaction, you will be in a better decision to adjust the course of your business strategy to stimulate growth.

7. Identify Your Key Indicators

Changes need to be measurable. It is the surest way for you to measure the level of effectiveness achieved from the stipulated action plans within your business strategy.

Identifying the key indicators that impact the growth of your business will give you direction on which aspects of your business could use more time and resources.

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Strategic planning involves a set of actionable points, with each step dependent on the previous one.

Establishing the points at which your business achieved set goals within stipulated timelines and budget will come in handy in determining the most effective business strategies incorporated in your plan.

It will also help you track your progress since the overall success is dependent on the individual milestones, giving you room to make adjustments whenever necessary throughout the implementation process.

8. Substantiate Your Revenue Flow

Business growth is primarily defined by your revenue streams. Identifying various revenue streams in your business and their overall effect on performance will help you determine which ones to keep and which new ones to introduce.

What are your current revenue streams? Do they make your business profitable enough?

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It’s at this point that your business can identify the potential for new revenue streams. Business strategy is all about profitability and sustainability, and your flow of revenue shows how sustainable your business is in the long-run.

As you incorporate changes in your business, you need to evaluate their worth since not all great ideas or cool products have wonderful; revenue streams attached to them.

You need to understand and differentiate your revenue streams to keep your business on the right trajectory.

9. Identify Your Strengths and Focus Your Growth

Focus on your strengths and capitalize on them to the best level possible before spending so much time and energy trying to improve on your weaknesses. Capitalizing on your strengths will help you establish your growth strategies.

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Now that you are making the most use of your strengths, target your growth areas. Your strategy should identify specific areas of growth to ensure all forces are pulling towards the same end goal.

The common focus of your strategic growth could be in increasing your employees, expanding your location, and extending into new regions. Though your plan will encompass multiple initiatives, you need to focus on major aspects and let the resulting growth affect more areas of your business.

10. Organize Your Business Around Strategic Objectives

From your strategic planning, you need to have several overarching objectives that will serve as a script for the entire team. It is some form of vision map to ensure that your business stays on course through the entire implementation stages.

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Your actionable plan should have delegated responsibilities and deadlines. Organizing them in objectives ensures they will remain alive even beyond the completion of the said action items.

Clear objectives will help your business to scale through the walls of utter success and achievement.

Conclusion

Whereas growing your business through strategic planning is not a one-size-fits-all kind of process, it is the most effective way for you to scale up and achieve high sustainability.

You must adapt your strategy and planning to refine the strengths of your business and be a better suit for your customers.

Your data should inform your strategic decisions as you specialize in specific aspects of growth, key indicators, and revenue streams to create a personalized growth plan.

Through these ways, you will understand your business and your customers, which will naturally lead to growth for your business.

About the Author

Eugen Spivak is a multi-award-winning author, business strategist, and a business coach. Eugen is the founder of the Canadian Institute of International Business, an organization focused on a better way to learn business!

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