The post-COVID world is a chaotic one: supply issues, freight delays, record levels of inflation, and staffing shortages. It’s the perfect storm of a business owner’s worst nightmare: planning around any one of those factors is challenging, let alone all of them combined. Here’s how and why a strategic plan can help you navigate these turbulent times.
What is a strategic plan?
Business strategy consists of a set of plans, actions, and goals that specify how a business will compete in a particular market. Thus a strategic plan focuses on how you will achieve defined initiatives to develop your business.
It’s been shown in many studies that firms that engage in strategic planning are more profitable and successful than those that don’t. Indeed, companies that don’t engage in meaningful strategic planning are often bogged down by internal problems and a lack of focus – which could easily lead to failure. So investing in a strategic plan is time and effort well spent.
But I’ve already got a business plan…
You may have prepared a business plan for the bank, or for your own purposes – but this is a very different document to a strategic plan.
- A business plan is written at an operational level. It may cover your mission, vision and values, as well as your sales and marketing plan, and a high level operational plan. In short, the business plan focuses on how a business is run day to day. Business plans are often written for external stakeholders, such as banks.
- A strategic plan includes a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). As well as including your mission, vision and values, it also identifies business goals, corporate directions, and strategic priorities to achieve them. KPIs (key performance indicators) are specified for measuring progress. In other words, the strategic plan focuses on how you’ll achieve specific initiatives to achieve your strategic goals. Strategic plans are for internal use: they are a powerful way of unifying a team to work towards a common vision and strategic goals. It’s a good idea to include your team in the strategic planning process: they will have ideas to contribute, and it gains their buy-in to the plan and its action points.
The world has changed: has your strategy evolved
Here are some of the ways the world has changed since COVID – and all of these factors are likely to influence your strategic plan:
- Shifts in consumer preferences: people are more comfortable with buying online, and the ecommerce landscape has matured.
- Digital transformation including the rise of cloud-based solutions.
- Continuation of remote working or hybrid work arrangements.
- Increase in video meetings, live streaming, and video in general.
- Remote delivery of healthcare services, education, etc.
- Supply chain and freight interruptions and delays.
- Domestic labour shortages, and significant changes to Employer Accreditation for New Zealand companies wishing to recruit migrant workers
- Inflation at record levels, with a corresponding cost of living crisis. This will likely affect consumer spending patterns for some time.
The impact of these changes is wide reaching – and will impact us all for some time yet. So it’s absolutely vital your business addresses these shifts in its strategic plan.
How do you create a strategic plan?
Stephanus Duvenage is the Strategy, Planning and Transformation expert at Empower Business – check out Stephanus’ background and skills.
Next step: free one-hour review with our
strategic business expert
Contact Empower Business for a free one-hour consultation with Stephanus to review your strategic planning needs.