What is Strategic Planning?
The term strategic planning refers to establishing a new direction for a business and documenting the steps it takes to get there. Company leaders must be able to honestly assess where the business is today and what they need to do to get it to the place they would like it to be in the short term and long term future.
Some of the specific elements that businesses typically look at during a strategic planning session include company values, vision, mission, and growth plans. These are high-level themes that require the development of actions and measurable goals to achieve the desired changes and growth. Strategic planning is a big but necessary step for any business with concerns or intentions around remaining sustainable, solvent, or competitive.
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With a strategic plan in place, businesses deal with short-term challenges from a long-term perspective. This approach eliminates having negative long-standing issues that impact the business well into the future. Common examples of strategic planning include:
- Business Transformation
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Financial Sustainability
- Customer Insights and Acquisition
- Team Building and Hiring Strategy
- Program and Service diversification
- Marketing and Sales
- Process Improvement
- Corporate Training
Why Do Most Companies Fail at Strategic Planning?
According to an article published in Forbes Magazine, just three percent of businesses that attempt to perform their own strategic planning actually succeed with it. Further, only 33 percent of companies ever implement the strategic plan that their executives spent so much time preparing. The Forbes Magazine article also lays out these three devastating flaws:
- The team that is responsible for creating a strategic plan for the company makes it so long and complicated that people soon feel overwhelmed, and it goes nowhere. The best strategic plans are short, to the point, and include actionable goals.
- A lack of trust among members of leadership can cause some to hold back their opinions of the company’s biggest challenges. Unfortunately, that means no one addresses the issues, and they only get larger. The opposite problem can also occur where the leadership team becomes argumentative and hostile with one another to the point they accomplish little to nothing.
- A strategic plan is bound to fail when company leaders refuse to take personal responsibility or hold others accountable for what they have committed to do. This leads to a lot of frustration and finger-pointing but does not encourage meaningful progress.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Strategic Planning Consulting Firm?
A strategic planning consulting firm like Impact Branding Consulting is an outside organization that assists clients with developing a sound business and financial plan for their company. As noted in the examples above, it is often difficult for people closest to business challenges to identify them and create solutions.
Whether it stems from internal conflict, lack of planning, budget concerns, lack of implementation, lack of experience, or another common reason, few companies succeed when it comes to strategic planning. This is especially true with the business transformation and growth aspect because nearly 75 percent of companies fail to implement changes effectively. According to an article on the topic of business transformation published on LinkedIn, resistance from employees is the leading cause of transformation failure.
When a business decides to hire a strategic planning firm, representatives from the firm evaluate the company internally and externally to gain a better understanding of how it currently operates. The process typically follows a pattern like this:
Identify business needs: This includes things already stated like long-term goals, mission, values, and vision. During this first step, a strategic planning consulting firm also looks at how to best serve shareholders, customers, employees, investors, and suppliers.
Collect and analyze data: Here is where the consultants perform a SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Some other methods of collecting data include client surveys, interviewing team members, reviewing key performance indicators (KPI), conducting focus groups, examining daily operations, conducting market research, and reviewing the company’s financials. Collecting data from these multiple sources and analyzing it for trends and gaps preventing the company from move forward and achieving goals will be one of the most time-consuming aspects of the process. However, it is time well-spent as completing the next steps accurately would not be possible without significant amounts of data.
Create new strategies for business growth: Consultants use analyzed data from the previous step to determine the best places to focus on in order to create a winning strategy. Strategic changes could impact multiple areas of the company such as business processes, operations, marketing, organizational structure, supply chain, innovation and technology enhancements.
Perform a GAP analysis and review company culture: A GAP analysis is a process to compare the current business performance against the company’s desired performance level. Impact Branding uses proprietary software called The Profit Enhancer Analysis to complete this assessment which provides the company a transparent and accurate guide to determine how to allocate resources and manpower in order to achieve performance goals. This fourth step will identify current barriers to success and serves to hold leadership and employees accountable to the change.
Execution of Strategic Plan: Now is the time to put the plan created into action. The execution phase is one of the most rewarded aspects of the whole process. Now you are given the tools to implement the plan. Implementation will include the utilization of the new KPIs and timelines, implementing the new processes & systems, improving company communication, engaging with customers differently, deploying the new marketing strategy, and the other identified improvements.
What Types of Businesses Use a Strategic Planning Firm?
Most types of businesses can benefit from bringing on a strategic planning consulting firm, like Impact Branding Consulting. Regardless of your company size, industry, or tenure in operations, strategic planning will help your company achieve growth goals and perform better. Our firm serves business enterprises including transportation & logistics, healthcare, and government agencies.
Small business enterprise clients include business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C), business to government (B2G), consulting firms, and service providers. Healthcare clients include clinics, hospitals, private medical offices, long-term care facilities, and urgent care centers. Regardless of the type of business or industry, accepting professional support from the outside will benefit your company to learn how to position your brand to perform stronger, operate more efficiently, and improve profitability along with increasing customer and employee satisfaction.
Contact Our Strategic Planning Consulting Firm Today
Perhaps you have attempted strategic planning and found the process overwhelming and unsuccessful, but you know you need to bring in an expert to help turn things around because you can not allow the business to continue in this current way. We invite you to contact our strategic planning consulting firm today to schedule a discovery assessment to take the first step towards having a more sustainable and profitable business.
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