Every business needs a plan; therefore, you are encouraged to create a business plan. Then you need a way to ensure that that plan is implemented, this is where strategic planning comes into play. Strategic planning, in simple terms, is the process of taking your business plan and making it into action items. Identifying what you'll spend time accomplishing in order to meet your business plan objectives.
You need a few tools as you start to create your strategic plan, they are:
o Personnel roster – know who is on your team and what their skillsets include. You'll create jobs for personnel, and need to know what job is best suited for that individual.
o Calendars – make measureable milestones. At the end of this process there should be a timeline with clear milestones as ways for you to measure the success of the process.
o Time – allow yourself, and your staff, time to develop this plan. Many organizations make an event out of strategic planning by having an office retreat, or conference, and spend at least 8 full hours working on it.
o Creativity hat – this is an opportunity to think outside the box. If you've had an idea that you've wanted to try, now is the time to share and brainstorm more innovative ways to reach your target market.
o Open mind – this goes hand in hand with being creative. All ideas should be considered as this fosters sharing.
o Physical tools – there are some actual tools you should have around the room during a retreat, such as: paper, pens, poster pages, marks, tape, and the mission statement should be posted everywhere.
– Your mission statement is a key element to accomplishing anything for your organization. Every staff person should clearly know the mission statement. It should be reiterated in every activity. So, have it posted clearly.
While it is not mentioned as an essential component, it should be, there should be a facilitator present. The facilitator should be a non-staff person as they will be the most objective. Their job will be to keep the conversation moving forward. They are not there to control the conversation, but to ensure that everyone gets an opportunity to join in and share. It should be a safe place for people.
Strategic planning can happen whenever you deem it necessary. If you take time to do this before you start looking at next year's budget, then you can possibly add new ideas into your funding process. This will give your strategic planning more of a business development approach, and your creativity and new business strategies will really come into play. Now, if you decide to do your strategic planning at the beginning of a new fiscal year, you may not have the opportunity to manipulate the budget; therefore, you'll have to make sure your new business development stays within your allotted budget for each department. As you can see there is no right or wrong time to do strategic planning, and no one will say you can only do it once a year. However, as I've already mentioned, it is imperative that you keep in mind that strategic planning is directly tied into your budget.
Here's a resource that I found that may be helpful as you are walking through this process: http://www.mystraticplan.com/resources/how-to-write-a-strategy-plan/ . If you need a referral for a facilitator, please contact me as I know several.