Many times when a business is trying to create a strategic plan retroactively, they don’t look to the future of where they want to be because of the future is the last place they want to look for answers. Many times too much is going on and deadlines pile up and that causes a strategic plan get skewed in its goals and vision as you’re trying to fix the fires now. Creating a great strategic plan starts with looking to the future.
When creating the strategic plan, ignore everything that is happening now in the company and look forward into the future about three years out. This doesn’t mean that you go find the closest magic mirror and actually look into the future, but what does the business look like in an ideal world where everything goes right. The reason you shouldn’t go too far into the future is due to the fact that industries change and the way business looks will be vastly different three, five, ten years down the road, and trying to predict that is close to impossible.
Find the company a purpose, or a set of ideas/pillars that the company stands for. This can also be noted as a mission statement or the vision of the company. These are things that you can outline the plan forward with so that way the path is more clear cut, rather than trying to figure it out as you go.
Having a purpose in place, start to drum up ideas on what the success looked like in three years. What goals and milestones were on the road to that success? What got the company there? Seeing the end goal can show you the path between the present and future and give you the goals in between.
Narrow It Down
Now that you have all those goals outlined for the company, find the few that are the topmost priorities and rank them on how they are related to the purpose of the company, how easy the goal is, the excitement behind the goal, how the goal will affect the value of the company, and how the goal makes the company better.