Creating a Strategic Plan For Your Small Business?

Creating Strategic Plan

As you know, running a small business is not an easy task. So many changes, so few resources, and the result may be chaotic. With so many things happening at the same time, it is easy for small business owners to get stuck in the daily operations and just forget about creating a strategic plan.

Take Your Business to the Next Level through Strategic Planning

However, when you want to take your small business to the next level, you need to make sure that you have a well-detailed strategic plan. This is where you create your business’ vision, mission, and values of the team. In addition, you need to make sure that you also include your financial targets (quarterly, annually and five years into the future). Ultimately, your strategic plan will serve as a guide for everyone in the business to know the direction and goals of the company as well as its culture.

Do You Have a Strategic Plan?

Most small businesses do not have a strategic plan, and even fewer business owners deploy their plan. They lack the essential steps of fleshing out the details of the plan, taking action, monitoring and updating the plan on a regular basis.

In case you still don’t have a strategic plan for your small business, it is time to create one. So, how can you start?

Since a strategic plan needs to combine a lot of different information, I will share with you the main topics that need to be included.

Ready to start?

#1: Articulate Your Vision, Mission, And Core Values:

The first thing you need to do to start creating your strategic plan is to define the vision, mission, and the core values of your small business. Note that it is important to make your vision clear. After all, this strategic plan is meant to be used by everyone. And it is extremely important that everyone who works within your company is aware of your vision and main goals.

With this in mind, start by defining the purpose of your business. Why do you exist? How is your business going to make the world better? Then you can proceed to your mission. This should be the way you see your business in 2 to 5 years from now. Make sure that you make your mission inspiring and bold.

Last but not least, focus on the core values or how you expect the work to be done. Be sure to be very explicit about what you value in your employees, customers, and vendors as well as about what you want your customers to experience.

#2: Define The Strategy:

As soon as you complete the previous step, you already know more about your company and your goals. So, it will be a lot easier to think about the different strategies that you can adopt to take you there.

In order to decide on the best strategies that should be a part of the strategic plan, you should also take a closer look at the strengths of your business. You should then focus on these strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in your business. Then define the strategies from your findings.

#3: Defining Priorities:

When you are creating your strategic plan, it is important to define priorities. So, how can you do this?

One of the best things you can do is to use your vision of your business and link it to your quarterly and annual priorities. Please notice that it is also important to ensure that your quarterly priorities will take you closer to your quarterly results. Besides, both quarterly and annual priorities need to be in the same line.

#4: Target Customers And Industry Analysis:

When you are creating your strategic plan, it is important to make a special note regarding your customers as well as your industry. After all, when you define your goals you need customers in order to reach your goals. So, take a closer look at your competitors and discover their strengths as well as their weaknesses. This way you can think about how to reach new customers that you have been missing so far.

In terms of the industry itself, it is important that you know if it is a growing or a shrinking industry. This will help you define the most likely scenarios for the demand for your services or products, for example.

Summary

While it may take you some time to create a strategic plan for your small business, you can be sure that it is worth every cent. If you do a good job of creating and deploying your strategic plan, both you and your employees will have a better perspective about your business, where it stands now, and where it should stand in 2 to 5 years from now. Here’s an article about developing and deploying a strategic plan in an entertainment company.

 

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Top Ten Strategies to Retain Your Employees

Top Ten Strategies to Retain Your Employees

With our robust economy, unemployment levels are at record lows. To find and retain your employees is one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses. And costly! Experts estimate that it costs between $10,000 to 1.5 times their annual salary to bring on a new hire. Here are the Top Ten Strategies to Retain Your Employees and grow your business.

Top Ten Retention Strategies to Retain Employees

What can business owners do to keep their employees? Here is a top ten list.

1. Keep Your Vision, Values, and Mission in Front of Your Team

There is a saying that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Once you have clarity of where you want your business to be in five years, what your company does for customers, and how you want your employees to treat each other and your customers then make sure you reinforce your VVM at least weekly in your meetings and other communication. Having a compelling vision keeps employees excited, and more importantly, keeps YOU excited!

2. Encourage Your Employees To Grow Within and Outside Your Business

Offering promotion from within is a powerful motivator to your employees. To demonstrate that you are preparing them for promotion, find ways to train them.  Some examples of this can be implementing a training program or using outside resources and tools (such as workshops, books, online courses, etc.). Doing this can create a powerful incentive for your team members to stay over the long haul. Something as simple as creating a book of the month club can work wonders.

3. Involve Your Employees in Your Strategic Planning

Once you have developed your plan, bring your employees in and share your vision, values, and mission with them. Enlist their ideas and input in brainstorming sessions to create actions for the plan and then assign the employees with the ideas to carry out the task. This creates buy-in from your team.

4. Encourage Employees to Be Creative

Many companies say they value creativity but they don’t have any initiatives to support creativity. Below are some possibilities:

Offer rewards for creativity. Recognize and reward employees that contribute ideas that you implement.

Provide a private and public way of sharing ideas. Some employees don’t want attention and others do. This can be as simple as a suggestion box for private comments and a meeting forum for public comments.

Develop a fun working environment. Foster a caring and fun working environment to encourage spontaneity.

5. Deploy and Reinforce Your Values In The Workplace

The Golden Rule in the workplace when fully deployed can create a great sense of belonging and loyalty. A culture of respect can be fostered by implementing many of the following strategies: feedback, recognition, encouraging creativity, collaboration, and so on.

It is essential to empower your team members with kindness and thoughtfulness and to reinforce those values when practiced(and confront team members when not practiced).

6. Catch Your Employees Doing Something Right

Leaders tend to focus on problems and sometimes employees can get burned in the process. Stephen Covey wrote about making “Emotional Deposits” with people. If you build up their “Emotional Bank Account” then you position them to make a withdrawal when you need to provide constructive criticism.

Make it a point to look for positive acts from your team members and build up their accounts. Tell others about what you “caught” your employees doing.

7. Offer Competitive Compensation

Many business owners are stuck in the past with wages and are losing their employees to their competitors.

Your team members need to be able to cover their cost of living, and to feel like they are doing good, rewarding work. Research what a competitive salary would be for your employees and start paying them what they’re worth. If necessary, raise your prices to give you room for pay increases.

8. Resist Changing Things Too Quickly

Changes are constant can also be very stressful. New initiatives and system changes in your company should occur, but forcing too much change too soon can cause good people to leave.

When changes are necessary, involve your employees in the process. In the same way that you involve employees in planning, get their input and ideas on how to make the changes.

A thought to remember with leadership: leaders determine “the what” and employees determine “the how.”

9. Maintain a Clean and Safe Environment

Your employees spend 1/3 of their day in your facility; you want that time to be positive. You want to maintain a safe and comfortable working environment. Conduct a walkthrough of your facility and write down issues that need to be improved. Ask your employees for input with this. Or bring in a friend to give you a “fresh set of eyes.”

Cleaning house should not be limited to clutter. That can also include dismissing employees that are harassing, causing distractions, or not cooperating.

10. Provide Your Employees With Technologies and Tools That Set Them Up for Success

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook new technologies and tools that can make your employees and your business successful. Check with your industry association to learn about the latest offerings.

Conclusion

In summary, let your employees know that you care about them. Listen to them, pay them well, promote them and involve them in your success. Now that you have read and implemented these top ten strategies to retain your employees. Which of these work the best for you?

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The #1 New Year’s Resolution: Your Business Travel Plan

Your Business Travel Plan For Your Business

If you are like most entrepreneurs, you give little thought to planning. You are great at helping others get to their destinations, but what are you doing to get to yours? What is your travel plan for your business?  Think of business and life planning like planning a trip; you first need to decide on your destination. In the same way that you write out a travel itinerary, write out your plan.

Begin your business travel plan with a personal mission statement:

Your Vision.

Where do you want to be in five years?  Where do you want to end up?  “We should begin with the end in mind,” says Stephen Covey, author of one of the greatest self-development classics, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People or else we may “climb the ladder of success, and then realize it is leaning on the wrong wall.”

Your Values.

What do you believe about ethics, spirituality, morals, customers, employees, vendors, community, etc.? How do you behave toward others? How do you treat your fellow man? What do you do to make the world a better place?

Your Mission.

What will you do today to achieve your vision and live by your values?  Your mission should transport you from where you are to where your vision is. In other words, it should narrow the gap between your present condition and your future aspirations.

Your mission statement provides daily direction, purpose, and a sense of personal power. It helps you to know what makes you a unique, valuable, important individual. If you do not have a personal mission statement, set aside some quiet time to answer the questions above, and write out your own statement. Then review it every day and decide on one action to get you to your destination!

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