Tips for Entrepreneurs

Strategic Planning for Business Owners

by Whitney Boiteau
September 11, 2020
Commercial Account Manager - National Bank of Canada
September 11, 2020

Summary: Strategic Planning for Business Owners

Strategic planning for business owners is an opportunity for businesses and their leadership to assess where they are and where they would like to be. It requires thorough analysis, which helps to prepare for opportunities and challenges ahead.


Why is Strategic Planning for Business Owners Important?

An innovative business is nothing without a roadmap. This is a critical reason why business owners need to align their brand with a specific sense of direction. A strategic plan for business owners allows their companies to outline their goals and fundamental operations while evaluating the business in and of itself. It provides a guide for your business on how best to achieve your short to mid-term goals. There isn’t a one-size fits all approach to strategic planning. Concurrently, each plan will be tailored to your organization’s unique brand and targeted audience.

The value of a strategic business plan remains the same even if you are in the infancy stages of building a business, have a passion project, or an established organization. It is essential to continually evaluate your business model, especially as the company grows, or as evidenced by the global pandemic in 2020. Your business’s strategy needs to be evaluated and adapted when necessary. Here are some tips for creating a valuable strategic business plan.

Maintain Focus

We all remember the “KISS” acronym (keep it simple stupid). Similarly, you will want to keep the plan concise and straight to the point. It doesn’t mean that sufficient time and effort aren’t required. Instead, management should focus on the big picture versus getting caught up in the minutiae of everyday details.

Do Your Research

Before updating the company’s blueprint, you will want to do your own fair share of research. This is certainly critical for growing businesses, whose previous plans may be based on outdated data assumptions. Take this opportunity to engage with key stakeholders: employees, clients, suppliers, bankers, accountants or lawyers. Each individual may have a unique perception of the operations.

Become Realistic

Make sure you remain realistic throughout the planning process. When evaluating your business, it’s easy to get caught up in the pleasantries. Specifically, when conducting the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis), you will want to ensure there is equal consideration for the weaknesses and threats, as there is for the strengths and opportunities. Furthermore, create attainable projections for the company, look to your salesforce and review past goals compared to performance.

Build Your Budget

Let’s talk about money! Keeping the strategic goals manageable will require you to develop a budget into the plan. Budgeting helps determine the best-fit priority and timeline for each project. Will you need new financing or additional personnel? There are many considerations to ruminate. Likewise, cash flow ought to be included in the model.

Be Accountable

Create actionable goals to ensure the strategy aligns with the plan. Begin by assigning action items to team members, with deadlines, and periodically reviewing the status. This keeps everyone accountable for their role, in executing the strategic plan. Look beyond the specific goals and determine how best to attain them.

Reassess

You will want to set key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the strategic initiatives. Examples may include the number of new contracts signed per period, conversion rate, or inventory turnover. Upon implementation of the plan, you will have the opportunity to review and assess the success of each project. Use the time to determine the next course of action and whether to amend the strategic plan.

Opinions and views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of my employer

About Whitney Boiteau

Whitney is a Commercial Account Manager with National Bank of Canada. Whitney provides unique tailored financial solutions to mid-market companies across Manitoba. In her spare time, Whitney volunteers for motionball in support of Special Olympics Canada. If you would like to learn more about commercial financing, you may contact Whitney directly.

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