For small, medium, or even large businesses, having a well-written business plan helps to keep the business on track, and have control over the business. Just like how important a business plan is for business owners to stay focused on executing action plans to reach a set objective within defined timelines, having a strategic plan is also important.
Dafiji Consults, a consulting agency that provides support and innovative solutions for projects and businesses, held a live session with Taiwo Ajetunmobi on Strategic Planning for small and medium enterprises.
Taiwo Ajetunmobi, a partner at Passion Incubator, is an expert in Business Development, Go-To-Market Strategy, Future-of-work, and many more. In this conversation, he discussed how to how to create and infuse strategic plans as a small or medium business owner. Here are some of the takeaways.
What Is Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning, for businesses, is the process of defining a strategy, or direction and making decisions on allocating resources to pursue this strategy, and like Taiwo Ajetunmobi said,
“As a business owner, strategic planning is all about being deliberate about where you want your business to go.”
Most business owners these days feel they don’t need to have a strategic plan, maybe because they are making the business work without one, or maybe it is because of the mindset they have towards running a business.
A strategic plan doesn’t need to be complicated for it to be effective, instead it should be simple and specific. Simple enough for a 6-year old to understand, and specific to the different teams and job roles in a business.
Benefits Of Having A Strategic Plan
In a small business where the chances of shifting focus to another booming sector are high, strategic planning helps to narrow your focus as an entrepreneur, conserve energy, as well as maximize results. Having a laid down strategic plan helps a business owner to identify the goals for the business, in order not to waste time doing other things.
Just like in this COVID-19 pandemic where many uncertainties have been born, many crises have been noticed in businesses. Some businesses during this pandemic have operated at a loss, while others have had to be shut down even. In events like this, a strategic plan helps business owners to weather through the storm.
“Irrespective of the crisis, because your business is grounded in your strategic plan as a business owner, you can turn your business around so it can thrive.” – Taiwo Ajetunmobi
Having a strategic plan also gives room for staff to grow, and cuts off people who are time wasters and would hinder the growth of the business.
How does this happen?
When a business owner notices that a particular person doesn’t align with the strategic plans, it just makes it easier to identify them and let them go.
How Do Business Owners Create Strategic Plans?
The first thing business owners need to do in creating a strategic plan is to employ the SMART framework, that is, setting clear goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Apart from the fact that setting goals in business provide direction and a clearer focus on what is important, it also helps to give clarity in decision making.
Articulating objectives, that is, smaller goals that are specific for teams in the company and highlighting the key results that should be gotten from the objectives is the best stage in creating a strategic plan. The OKR framework, that is, Objectives and Key Results framework would help to align and connect teams and their members to the overall company vision and goal.
Using these methods, an effective strategic plan can be drafted. So, now that you have a good strategic plan in place as a business owner, how do you translate it to the different teams?
How can Business Owners Translate Their Strategic Plans into Teams?
In the daily functions for the different teams, a business owner needs to ensure the strategic plan is grounded. For example, the role of the tech team may differ from the marketing team in the strategic plan to achieve the common goal, so they have to be interpreted specifically. And just like Taiwo shared,
“Consider the overall strategic plan for the business, then translate it to each of the key teams in the company, such that it is specific to a particular team.”
Another thing to do is to communicate the strategic plan constantly and consistently. If the team members don’t see the reason behind having the strategic plan in the first instance, they may not put in their best to make it work. So, emphasizing the plan in simple terms and answering questions like, “What do we want to achieve with the plan”, “Why do we want to achieve it”, and “How are we going to achieve it” helps tackle this.
Strategic planning in small and medium scale businesses is very important as it helps to guide day-to-day decisions, as well as evaluate progress and change approaches when moving forward.