The new year is a perfect time to renew the strategic planning strategies for your business. With your year-end numbers in hand and a clear vision for your future, you can implement a successful strategic plan that will make 2024 a success.

Step 1: Define Your Vision for the Business’s Strategic Plan

Before you can build a practical plan for the future of your business, you need to know its overall vision and mission. Ask yourself (or your leadership team):

  • Why was the company was founded in the first place?
  • What is the problem you hope to solve for your clients?
  • What is the mission of the business: the thing that if you accomplished it completely, your work would be done?
  • What values are important to your company?
  • How do you define your niche in the market?

Answering these questions first, before diving into specific strategic planning strategies will help you keep the big picture in mind. Even if you have done vision exercises for your business before, you should take time revisiting your business’s vision, mission, and overall goals to see if things have changed over the past year.

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Step 2: Examine Where You’ve Come From

Strategic planning should start with a realistic and objective assessment of where the company is now.

  • How were last year’s performance metrics?
  • Did you meet your previous goals?
  • What challenges arose along the way?
  • Did anything exceptional affect your company’s performance? (i.e. a pandemic closing the business or the retirement of an executive)

Once you have this information in hand, you can measure your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and better determine where you can afford to grow, and in what areas you will need to make changes.

Step 3: Decide Where to Focus Attention in the New Year

No one can stretch in every direction at the same time. This applies to companies as well as people. You will need to prioritize one or a few top issues, rather than demanding improvement in every area at once. Your strategic planning should focus on a small number of specific targets that reflect where you are now and how to better align your employees’ performance with your company’s goals.

Step 4: Create a Concrete Implementation Strategy

Strategic planning is more than just goal setting. It requires a concrete implementation plan that you can communicate to your employees and measure your success. Without a clear implementation strategy, your strategic plan will simply be a wish for the company’s coming year. Instead, you should take the time to plan specific and clearly measurable goals, with milestones and targets for the various teams throughout the year. Don’t forget to include incentives for over-performers and budgets for training or supporting individuals who are falling short of expectations.

Step 5: Evaluate Your Company’s Progress in Meeting the Strategic Plan

A strategic plan isn’t something you prepare in January and ignore until December. Successful strategic planning requires ongoing monitoring and progress reports to see how well you are meeting your targets throughout the year. Schedule time now throughout the year to review your metrics and milestones to see where the company is on track and where additional resources may be needed to remove obstacles, improve workflows, or bolster existing personnel.

Get Help Creating Strategic Planning Strategies for Your New Year

Creating a successful strategic plan for the new year isn’t something you or your leadership team should plan to do in a one-hour meeting. Often, retaining a business consultant is the best way to create and monitor your strategic plan. By facilitating your vision and mission planning sessions, and providing objective analysis of the company’s successes and struggles, a business consultant can help your company stay meet your goals for the coming year.

David Stanislaw is an organizational development specialist with over 30 years’ experience helping small business owners create and implement successful strategic plansContact us to meet with David to begin your strategic planning process today.