‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.’ – Benjamin Franklin

Every time I jump in my car to drive to a new destination, I have two options.The first is to start driving and hope for the best. Unsurprisingly, that rarely ends well.

The second is to make a plan. The good thing is I can use the navigation system in my car to help.

I first program my desired destination, or where I want to go. Using GPS, the system then figures out my starting point, or where I am now. Once it has these two points, it will calculate the best route and it will tell me how to get to my destination.

Travelling through the journey of business is similar to driving a car. You must first determine your destination. You must first ask yourself, ‘What do I really want? or ‘Where do I really want to go?’

You do this by creating a strategic plan. 

A strategic plan will allow you to be in a position to control outcomes. Why? Because you have a clear direction and focus. This control will allow you to manage change and put the necessary steps in place to achieve what you want done. Why? Because it’s an on-going process, not something you do once and then just forget about.  A strategic plan will provide you with better awareness of what’s needed and therefore the opportunity to influence the future. Why? Because you are living it every day. All your business decisions should be based upon your strategic plan. If they aren’t, your likely to veer off track and end up somewhere else (that is, not where you wanted to be).

A good idea is just that – an idea. A strategic plan can turn that idea into reality. It’s the ‘how to’ in the process, while the idea is the ‘what’. The strategic plan gives you clarity in not only the ‘what’, but also the ‘how’. It’s when the business gets real and actually starts to do things that you want and that’s what makes a difference.

You will lose valuable momentum and lead time if you are reactive rather than proactive. The strategic plan helps you establish what needs to be done and when, so you can take the right actions when necessary, rather than waiting for opportunities to come to you (or running around fighting fires as they flare up). Ultimately, you’ll be able to achieve your goals faster.

So how do you create a strategic plan? Just as when you’re plotting your path to a new destination, your strategic plan should cover:

Where are you going?

Where are you now?

How will you get to your destination?

The foundation of your ideal strategic plan will confirm your purpose, your goals and your objectives (where am I going?). It will ensure you understand the current state of play (where am I now?). It will encourage you to analyse the current environment and finally, it will set the right path to success (how will I get there?).

Do it and you won’t look back.


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