Many people consider the process of strategic planning to be an intimidating one. Some businesses see it as something they should do but don’t want to. While others take pride in their capacity to develop excellent plans. In either case, the procedure might seem overwhelming. In fact, 90% of businesses are unsuccessful within two years after launching because they didn’t have a thorough strategy.
This is why a well-developed strategy is critical to achieving business success. The five steps that every business owner needs to think about are listed below by Kendrick Lamont Elkins.
1. Define Your Purpose
How important is it to define your purpose in business? Well, in today’s competitive environment where people are constantly bombarded with messages from every direction, it is of utmost importance. It seems like everyone has their own idea of who they want to be. And it seems like no two people ever agree on what that person should look like or what he/she wants out of life.
Thus, in order to create a strategic plan, you first need to have a clear understanding of what your purpose is.
- What do you want out of your business?
- Why did you start your business?
- Who is your ideal customer?
In order to answer these questions, you may need to ask yourself some tough questions about what you currently know vs. what you don’t know. You should also think about your company’s goals and how they fit into your overall vision for the future.
2. Identify Your Market Segment
As marketers, we often get caught up in the minutiae of day-to-day operations without thinking strategically about our long term goals. This can cause us to miss out on opportunities to create new revenue streams, increase sales, or improve customer experience.
There are many different ways to define your target audience, including demographics, psychographics, lifestyle factors, etc. Just remember that before starting any project, it’s crucial to identify your target audience and their unique needs and wants. This will allow you to build and execute a plan that aligns with those priorities.
3. Research Your Competition
There are two types of rivals in business: direct and indirect.
- Direct competition occurs when two or more companies compete directly against each other.
- Indirect competition happens when companies don’t compete head-to-head but rather offer similar services or products.
In short, you’re not going to make any money if you don’t know what you’re competing against.
You might think that research alone would be enough to give your business a competitive edge. After all, research is cheap and quick, right? However, you need to go beyond that. You need to dig deeper into your competition and uncover their weaknesses. This way, you can develop effective strategies to beat them.
4. Develop Key Strategies
Now that you’ve done your research and identified your competition, it’s time to develop your own set of strategies. You’ll want to think about the following four aspects of your business: product/service offerings, distribution channels, price points, and promotion efforts. The more time and effort you put into them, the better the results will be, points out Kendrick Lamont.
Once you’ve developed your own unique approach, you’ll need to figure out whether or not it makes sense to implement those same tactics in your competition’s playbook. If you decide to copy someone else’s strategy, be sure to tweak it to suit your company’s specific needs.
While some companies choose to go through the entire process of strategic planning, others start with a detailed analysis of their current situation, identifying problems and opportunities, and then develop strategies to address these issues.
5. Execute Your Plan
The time has finally come to carry out your plan. Start by implementing your strategies and monitoring your progress. As you work through your plan, keep track of your successes and failures. When things aren’t working, try to determine if there was something you didn’t understand or missed the mark along the way. By keeping track of these details, you’ll be able to improve your strategy over time.
In short, strategic planning is one of the most important elements of any business. By taking the time to plan ahead, you’ll be able to better position yourself in the market and ensure long-term success. By following these five steps from Kendrick Lamont Elkins, you’ve got a great chance of developing your own business strategies!