Due to the fact that those in business have so many things to keep on top of and so many balls to juggle in the air, it can be easy to lose sight of the objectives and goals of the business.

The creation of a business strategic plan is a chance to focus on these goals and objectives to that you create a framework for the business itself. The strategic plan will also serve as a platform on which you can build your business on. It can also act as the catalyst for change and instigate improvements throughout the business.

The strategic plan is different from a business plan, because the business plan is much more detailed and much more likely to focus on the facts and figures about the business. In the strategic plan you only need to have the core principles and objectives.

However, the strategic plan needs to be attainable. If your business is very small it is unlikely to reach the top of its league within a couple of years from its conception. So stay realistic.

Core Content

The Vision:

Every strategic plan should start off with a vision. The vision is where you want to be in 3-5 years time, in terms of size, turnover, staff team etc. Although the plan as a whole needs to be realistic, the vision section is your chance to dream. Where do you want it to be? What are your dreams?

The Mission:

The mission is what your business does. For example “to produce, develop, market and sell dairy free products to meet the needs of customers who do not or cannot eat dairy products”. Although this is very short, it encapsulates the basic elements of what the business does. It also succinctly demarcates the customers into two groups; those who cannot eat dairy products and those who will not eat them on ethical grounds.

The mission statement should not be too long, but if the mission were simply to read “to sell dairy free products” then this is too short and there is no element of developing and producing new products for the ‘dairy free’ market and there is no acknowledgement of the customer base.

The Values:

The values of the company should be outlined. The values relate to how the organisation is governed or managed and how it relates with regard to society as a whole.

Society includes all stakeholders, staff, customers, management etc and is a way of defining how the company seeks to manage itself.

Objectives:

The business objectives need to be highlighted. These are the end results that it wants to achieve in the medium term and the longer term. Short term results are not usually included in the objectives.

The objectives relate to all the requirements that have been set down by the stakeholders and should also address issues relating to growth, to profits, markets and technology.

Strategies:

The strategies are how you will achieve the mission, the values, the objectives etc. They detail just how you will achieve what you want. You should use a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis to make this happen.

Goals:

The goals are the ways by which you will measure the effectiveness of strategies outlined to meet the company’s objectives. For example if your objective is to increase turnover by 50% within 5 years then you will set a number of goals to achieve this objective. Goals give you the yardstick against which you can measure how well you are doing.

Programmes:

Programmes are the ‘nuts and bolts’ that set out how you will implement more detailed plans to ensure that your strategies, goals and objectives can be met. The programmes are always more detailed and always contain plans such as time scales, budgets, performance goals and targets etc.

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