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Elate puts everything you need to build your Strategic Plan right at your fingertips. From setting your long-term vision and annual goals to tracking quarterly objectives, it’s never been easier to create a plan that helps you reach your goals.
Rather than working out of dozens of spreadsheets or endless presentations, Elate helps you build a simple, intuitive plan that can be easily shared with team members.
Having a plan is the best way to ensure your business achieves its goals. But making this plan, putting it into practice, and tracking how well it’s being followed is a huge task. In fact, 61% of businesses say they struggle with implementing regular strategic planning.
That’s why we’ve created this handy guide for learning all there is to know about making, implementing, and following up on your own strategic plan. Keep reading to find out how to take your business to the next level with its strategic planning process.
The strategic planning process is the series of steps a business takes to develop the best strategy to meet their desired short- and long-term goals. When you add the word model to the end, a strategic planning process model means creating a prototype that the business can use to inform its decisions.
You can also think about a strategic planning process model as a blueprint for your company to follow to get where it wants to go. To make this blueprint the most useful, you want to look at what the company is already doing, what resources are available, and what the company would like to achieve in the future. By combining all this information in one place and setting aside time to truly strategize the best way to achieve the desired result, a company has the best chance of achieving their overall vision.
Now that we know what a strategic planning process model is, we can focus on how to make it happen. These are some of the most common steps an organization will tackle when developing their strategic planning process model.
Setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely) goals that align with the mission of your company is the first step in strategic planning.
Here’s an example to show how this might work for Runners Are Us, a hypothetical Software as a Service (SaaS) company that tracks runners' activity and recommends personalized running plans. Runners Are Us would start their strategic planning process model by listing all relevant metrics for measuring their performance. This can include things like:
They would then look at past performance and what other similar companies are doing to create a template for how to set their targets. This set of rules they use as a template for making goals could be that customer satisfaction should increase by 5% each quarter until it reaches 90%, that annual recurring revenue should increase by 10% each year for the next three years, and so on for each metric. Using a good strategic planning software, like Elate, can make it easy to track specific goals like these and regularly check in on them to make sure you’re on track to achieving your goals.
Understanding what goals are important for your business will help you focus on what should take time and resources.
Looking at our Runners Are Us example again, in the last step, they may well have listed 20 different metrics to track and goals for each of them. But if they try to equally focus on 20 high-level goals all at once, they won’t be able to devote enough energy to any one of them to make a big difference.
But Runners Are Us has a mission statement of “Data-driven running plans so every runner can have their best race.” With that mission statement in mind, customer satisfaction may be the most important metric for ensuring they are aligned with their mission, while annual recurring revenue might be the best way to see if they are growing as desired.
Once you have goals set for your business, it’s important to begin the process and follow the progress of the plan.
Continuing with our Runners Are Us example, let’s focus on customer satisfaction as their main goal. To manage and track customer satisfaction, they would need to send out regular surveys to collect customer feedback, incentivize customers to fill them out, quantify and record responses, and schedule at least quarterly review sessions to talk about the results. This tracking and managing step can be made easier with the right tools, like Elate, which keeps all your important goals top of mind with easy-to-understand graphics and at-a-glance progress reports.
We’ve covered the basics of strategic planning, but there are a few other concepts you might run into in this realm that are important to understand.
A strategic framework is what allows you to choose which goals to focus on. It provides the context of what’s important to your business and makes sure that those critical principles are integrated into your goal-setting and planning process. This strategic framework model can help you categorize your goals (as in, these metrics are about creating our best product and these metrics are about making sure it’s delivered to customers in the best way).
A best practice is to first choose your strategy models, then frameworks to apply to those models. You can apply more than one framework to your overall model, since most businesses have multiple principles that are important to them.
Strategic alignment means making sure everyone involved in your business knows what the overall vision is, and what specific goals are in place to achieve this vision. A business could have developed the best strategic plan, but if only the CEO knows what it is, they are unlikely to achieve much. Detailing your goals for employees and any other stakeholders through monthly, quarterly, and annual review meetings can help promote transparency and strategic alignment.
The steps we laid out earlier give you a basic idea of what goes into strategic planning. But there are many ways to carry out these steps. Here are some specific types of strategic planning that businesses use to put this theory into practice.
We’ve covered a lot around the topic of strategic planning, now let’s go through some concrete examples to give you a better idea of what this looks like in the real world. If we wanted to draft a conceptual model for creating a strategic plan for a company that can be applied broadly, it might look something like this for OKR strategic planning:
Now we’ll return to our hypothetical Runners Are Us SaaS company from earlier to go through a specific example.
Strategic planning tools help bring your strategy to life and make your company’s strategic planning process easier. At Elate, we think of Strategic Planning in three phases: Build, Execute, and Review. This means that tools for strategic planning should help facilitate how you build your strategy, execute your strategy, and review your strategy to evolve with the changes to your business. For those looking at a solution to bring strategy to life, it’s important to evaluate a solution that can provide the following:
The very best strategic planning tools are ones that can work together between all of these platforms to seamlessly create a simple, unified approach. At Elate, we have created an end-to-end strategic planning platform that allows you to more intuitively build your strategy and execute. We offer integrations with all the favorite tools you’re already using, to get everyone on the same page to achieve your business's overall goals.
Elate keeps fast-growing companies setting great goals, following through on them, and reviewing their plans as they go along. We help you visualize your most important metrics for success, and share what’s happening with everyone. When you’re ready to take your strategic planning to the next level, request a demo to see how Elate can serve your goals.