( read )

9 "Must-Haves" for Your Strategic Business Plan

By Sean M. Hugo, CPA

An excellent strategic business plan has several key components that contribute to its overall success. Any business looking to withstand a competitive market while retaining its edge must create a strategic plan that incorporates these elements in order for maximized success. 

Though we understand that each business has its unique needs, here are some of our recommendations gained from our years of experience of working with businesses in various forms.

1) Establish a baseline business profile

The first step in any successful business strategy is identifying what makes your business thrive and where the growth opportunities may be. Consider and describe who your target customer is, and build on that for the rest of the strategy. Moreover, also consider the unique features of your business and what advantages and disadvantages rest with your new venture, product or service.

2) Research your venture thoroughly

The key question to answer at this juncture is, "what unique needs does my venture fulfill?" This will likely require careful and deliberate research to understand the market, and how best to position yourself to really stand out from the crowd. Successful ventures build on needs in the market, and develop a strategy accordingly to justify why they are critical for others. 

3) Develop and maintain marketing plans

Another successful component of a business is its marketing, and what that conveys to others in the industry. Build and develop marketing plans that will survive the initial stages of a business, and propel you towards success. These plans must include full, detailed descriptions of targeted promotional campaigns, along with implementation timelines.

The marketing plan must also consider market conditions, the nature of your customers, as well as your competitors, sales potential, and projected results of your promotional campaigns.

4) Develop and maintain staffing plans

Businesses are only as successful as the employees at the helm, so it is essential to have the right team in place. Identify who the key players are for your business, and what is needed to build on the venture. For example, are there specific skills, attitudes and expertise needed? What is the true cost of a full team and how will that factor into early business expenses? These are just some of the questions to explore when developing a staffing plan.

How Does Your Business Measure Up Against Others in Your Industry?

5) Create management plans

This also includes managing yourself, which might not seem like as much of a priority. However, these management plans must include full descriptions of the management system and timeline as it stands for implementation, and where there are gaps that will likely need improvement as the business continues to grow.

6) Keep an eagle eye on your finances 

Finances tend to be the messy part for many business owners, but it is incredibly important to keep an eye on fiscal operations - especially in the early phases. Creating a robust financial plan will help ensure that you are on track to meet your growth. This includes tracking projected startup costs, operating costs, revenue, profits, and break-even analysis for the first 3 to 5 years.

7) Maintain your financial plan

The financial plan is possibly the important component, simply because it is what most people will want to know about. Creating a projected financial plan will allow you to effectively predict upcoming problems and be on the defensive rather than the offensive. The perspective gained from a strategic business plan is honestly invaluable and could make a significant contribution to your company's success - as well as help you get the funding you need. In fact, most lending institutions and private investors will not even talk to you without a solid financial plan.

8) Identify operational costs

One of the more overlooked aspects of a strategic business plan is the actual cost to operate the business, as counterproductive as it sounds. Take a good look at your building and equipment costs, as well as vendors and cost estimates. Ensure that you have identified any unneeded cost from this aspect, in order to keep operational costs at a minimum while you are establishing a new business. 

9) Formulate company milestones

This includes timelines for upcoming products, and services currently in development. Not only will this give you a more holistic view of your venture as it stands but will help you grow for the future. This will be essential when developing other plans, such as marketing because you will have a clear vision for what is in store for your business and the best route to get there.

Ultimately, having a great idea and products is not enough to thrive in increasingly competitive marketplaces. Let us assist you in developing a powerful strategic business plan that drives your business to the level of success you deserve.

We've helped large, small, and medium businesses excel, and our success stories prove it. Contact us today to learn more.

New Call-to-action