We discussed recently how important it is to set goals. I will explain here how to apply these goals to your business by formulating and implementing a strategic plan to move your business forward.
Your strategic plan should include your goals, a framework (your plan), an analysis or assessment of the problem at hand (what your goals are trying to achieve, and why), the actions necessary to complete those goals (remember to set micro-goals and action items to break up the process), and a method of monitoring and evaluating your process (feedback).
Step 1: Setting Goals
Your plan begins with goals and a framework – this part involves getting the objective and steps onto paper. This is the brainstorming step, when you figure out everything you need for each stage of your goal-achieving process. Make sure your goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Step 2: Analysis
In the analysis or assessment step you decide what problem you are trying to solve, why you want or need to solve it, what you need to do in order to achieve success, and how you plan to measure this success. This will give you a clear idea of your vision and mission, which will help when planning your solution. Don’t forget to use your SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Step 3: Action Items
This is where you figure out the exact steps that you need to take to achieve your goal and solve the problem at hand. Micro-goals and action items will help you here – they will allow you to take small steps to move closer to your overarching goal and will help with delegating activities and responsibilities to each of your team members.
Step 4: Implementation
This is the fun part of your plan – putting your goals and action items into motion! In the implementation step, you follow the plan set forth in your micro-goals, make progress, and move toward achieving your goals and solving the problem.
Step 5: Evaluation
Finally, you need a method of monitoring and evaluating your process, your progress, and your success. This can come in the form of feedback, both giving and receiving, and in performance reviews. It is important to evaluate as you go so that you can continuously reformulate your strategy in order to ensure that you are accomplishing your goal as efficiently as possible.