The modern business landscape is an unforgiving one, and even more so if you don't have a strategic plan in place.
You may have an objective in mind for your business. You may have somewhere you want to be in five years' time, or even only in one year's time. You may have a vague idea of the kind of financing you need to get there. All of this combined might seem like it adds up to a strategic plan, but it doesn't. Your business still has no designated roadmap for achieving its goals, and no incremental milestones to help your teams find their way towards success.
There are a number of problems with this, but one of the major issues is a psychological one. With no clear roadmap leading to your goals, your team will quickly become disillusioned. Just like if you were on a journey and had no way to navigate, you and your staff would quickly become disheartened.
But this is far from the only issue. There are practical issues involved as well. Without a proper, clear strategic plan, how do you know that you are carrying out the required actions in the right way -- in the most efficient way?
The answer is, you don't. You cannot know this. Instead, your company will blunder on, making mistakes, losing money, and encountering problem after problem. What's more, a plan should be organic in the way that it grows. You should not craft a plan just because you "think you should". Instead, your plan should grow from a careful and considered response to an intrinsic need.
The solution here is to focus on discipline and to begin a regimented process of planning and documentation.
Start by considering your needs. Consider where you want your company to be in the coming years, and how you want to get there. Use this natural tendency towards growth as a starting point, and build your plan organically around this.
Next, start building your data resources. Document everything. Store your information and data in a way that can be easily accessed, queried, managed, and used in the field. Support these efforts with the right analytics platform to make sure you are not missing a thing when it comes to data.
Don't forget the communication aspect either. The communication you have with your team must grow and develop as you build your strategic plan. This communication underpins everything, and your strategic plan cannot succeed without it.
Remember that the plan is constantly growing and evolving, so you need to constantly discuss, assess, and reappraise your data and your strategies to ensure that they remain fit for purpose.