Six Steps to Strategic Planning Success – The Introduction

So you turned your dream into an idea. That idea made its way into a plan. You executed your plan into a successful 90 day start-up. Maybe you even survived the first year or two. Your business is growing. Now what? All of your hard work and risk is for nothing if you do not have sustainability. To maintain your momentum, you need vision. Long term vision is what keeps your dream alive. Long term vision is what keeps you innovating and competing. Your success is guaranteed to attract competition. Innovate or die. The Introduction section of your strategic plan is where you evaluate where you are now. You will consider your existing core values, objectives and challenges. This is best accomplished through the following short checklist:
  1. Introduction
  2. Goals and Objectives
  3. Mission Statement Evaluation
  4. Existing Challenges
Remember that a strategic plan is often for internal use only. This is not something that you would share with people outside of your business. Use the introduction to evaluate your own knowledge about your operation. Consider including a short timeline noting how you got to where you are. Did things work out as you expected? What things happened that you did not expect? Your goals and objectives should start with the goals you created in your original business plan. Have your goals changed? What factors have forced you to reconsider some of your objectives? Refer to you original business plan. Rewrite your mission statement in its original form. Take a moment and read it out loud. Is it a statement that you can both write and speak clearly and with passion? Is it still consistent with where your business is headed? There will be plenty of time to project the future. Now is the time to examine your existing challenges. Consider the top three hurdles keeping your business from achieving its mission. How are those hurdles keeping you from reaching your goals and objectives? Use the Introduction section of your strategic plan to evaluate where you are today. This is you looking inward in what you have created. In the following five steps, we will work through the traditional SWOT method for strategic planning and much more.
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