Fundamentals of Strategic Planning

For entrepreneurs and business owners the process of starting a new business or project can be daunting. For every successful new business, there is an even greater number of others that have failed. Whether you are starting a project or a small business, creating a solid strategy for your venture is a fundamental part of the process if you want to succeed. What does it mean to develop a business strategy and to implement/execute that strategy successfully?

What is a Project/Business Strategy?

For a project or business, a strategy is typically a blueprint that a business follows in order to achieve success. The blueprint might outline who they are as a business, define who they want to reach and how you want to reach them, and identify the market in which they wish to enter.

In order to properly execute a project or business strategy a business must also have a plan for implementation. An implementation plan consists of accessing/gathering the resources (funding, marketing, research, etc.) necessary to properly execute a strategy. If a strategy is the outline, an implementation plan consists of the details necessary to reach the objectives defined in the outline. The ultimate goal of an implementation plan is to help a business to move your project/business forward successfully.

Strategic Implementation Process

A strategic Implementation process is designed to drive your project or business forward successfully. Some of the key components in a strategic implementation plan include:

  1. Detailing your objectives: What is it you hope to achieve with your project/business. Concretely defining who you are as a business and what you hope to achieve will help to give you a direction to follow.
  2. Creating timeline: Mapping out a timeline in which you hope to accomplish certain milestones will help you stay organized and on schedule during the implementation phase.
  3. Gathering resources: Any successful project or business must have access to the necessary resources to sustain the process. Resources include money, time, and staff, etc.
  4. Allocation of team roles: Your business/project is a team effort. Knowing the best role for each of your team members can help to make your team more efficient and successful.
  5. Define your expectations: You should set your expectations in quantifiable and qualifiable terms. Using the right metrics to measure your success can help your team to understand the areas in which they do well and the areas that need improvement.
  6. Create a plan B: No strategy is perfect and there are inevitable pitfalls and setbacks all businesses experience. Knowing how to handle a setback includes having a plan of action at the ready to handle it when it comes up.
  7. Check-in: Checking in with you team’s progress and having an open dialogue with them will help to keep yourself and your team in the loop. A schedule should be implemented (monthly, quarterly, etc.) in which you will meet with your team and keep them up to date with your business’s/project’s progress.

Example: Starting a Website

What is Your Website?

Say you are an entrepreneur who hopes to captivate the internet with a new website. In order to build a quality website that stands out from the rest you need to develop a proper strategy around it. For starters, first you must ask yourself what kind of website it is that you want to build. Who are trying to reach? What products/services are you trying to sell? Knowing who your audience is and what market you want to enter will steer the trajectory of your website building strategy.

Build Your Team

After finding the purpose for your site you must begin building a team. Building a quality website takes time and effort and hiring a skilled team will help you through the process. At minimum you will need graphic designers, software programmers, marketing experts and content specialists. A team of experts will provide you with valuable insights into what features work and what will make your website unique and popular.

Design Your Website

The next step is to create your website’s design. When designating the task of website design to your team, it is important to know what features you want your website to possess. Having a solid layout that clearly details what your site needs will build a framework for your team to follow and help you to set your site’s goals.

After mapping out your site layout comes the creative part of website design. This is the part where you and your team decide what the ‘feel’ of your website will be.. In this part you should take into consideration what you are marketing on your website and who are you marketing to. If you want a site that appeals to a younger audience, for example, you might want to draw up a design that has a modern feel, one that is simple and sleek. Regardless of who your audience is, your website should be easy to navigate for anyone, content should be easy to access, and the purpose of the sight should be easy for anyone to understand.

Create Content

Content is an important aspect of a website that can help keep your brand relevant. Having engaging content will help build your website’s audience and familiarize them with your brand. Your webpage links should work, headlines and articles should be easy to read, and videos should play seamlessly. Having a social media presence will also help you to connect to your audience across various platforms.

Update and Maintaining Your Website

Your website should have a site map. A well-made site map will organize your website’s pages into an easy to understand blue print for search engines. A site map will allow search engines to best optimize your content, track updates to your site, and send traffic your way.

After your website is complete you must make sure to maintain it. Even the best websites experience hiccups and it is important to stay on top of them. If your site goes down unexpectedly being quick to address it will save you time and resources.

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