Having read a few of these in my time and having written many business strategies myself, I thought now was the right time of year to set out some of my tips on how to achieve your vision in 2017.
It may seem obvious but setting out key business objectives to achieve this is the first step.
They can be bold and broad in nature and may take a few years to achieve, or short-term, easy to achieve quick-wins. Both are acceptable and can be adapted as circumstances and market dynamics dictate.
The next step is to look at the activities that are needed to support your objectives, and they should be both measurable and quantifiable. This is where you can break things down into a one-year time frame, and start to look at the measures you need in place. Make sure both your activities and objectives build on your team strengths; understand your weaknesses, capitalize on your opportunities and recognise your threats. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis is therefore a very useful tool to make sure you are aware of all of these. Some plans will need additional resource and a certain amount of investment, critical considerations that have to be factored into the plan or it will fall apart.
Then comes resourcing. Identifying the right people with the right skills who understand what is expected of them and what they can do to achieve the results will bring the plan alive.
I believe that taking an inclusive approach to strategic planning is a great way of bringing the whole business together to deliver the strategic vision you have shared with your colleagues. If they are involved in the planning process and give input around the setting the key measurements of success, it makes it a more enjoyable process and more likely to succeed.
Obviously nothing is ever easy; curve balls appear and can push a hole through the strategy, and you may need to tweak the plan in line with market events and changes. You may have to change the direction to get there, but that is all part of the process: adapting to change.
For me, keeping your strategic plan live is essential. It contains your ambition and your door to the future, but more importantly it needs the whole business behind it to drive it through.
With the festive season approaching the temptation may be to wind down. However, by getting your strategy right in December you will set yourself up for a productive and ambitious start to the new year.