Taking time to step back and consider the bigger picture can be invaluable for growing a business. It can help you see opportunities for growth and develop a plan to reach those goals. Whether that plan ends up as a shelf-item or becomes a dynamic roadmap depends on how well you implement it. Successful strategic planning requires commitment from leadership and management, and it must be updated regularly to accommodate the unpredictable nature of the business environment.
The first step of strategic planning involves identifying the current position and future desired position of your practice. It’s important that this information is gathered from the inside and outside of the company, including your customers and employees. Involving them in this process can help you gain a more realistic perspective of your strengths and weaknesses and create a stronger bond between your team members.
Once the team has a clear vision of your current and future position, they can begin to develop strategies for moving from one point to the other. This is the time to discuss high-level guiding principles for the business and define specific goals that align with those principles. Strategic decisions should focus on big-picture issues and not address tactical details like which electronic medical record system is best or what training will be required for your staff. The goal is to take action that will have a significant impact on your practice’s environment and maximize the potential for success.
This strategic-planning stage may also include identifying opportunities to expand your market share or grow into new markets. It’s essential to evaluate these ideas carefully and weigh the pros and cons of each before deciding on which of them to pursue. Be prepared to say “no” to any projects that don’t fit into your overall vision or that will require too much of a sacrifice in your other areas of business.
During this phase, you should also set yearly objectives that connect with your strategic goals and establish business metrics or KPIs to measure progress toward them. The resulting list should be prioritized so that the most critical or time-sensitive objectives are addressed first.
Strategic planning should involve the entire organization, from the owners or board of directors to the management committee to key managers and employees. This way, the people who are responsible for overseeing implementation can ensure that the strategic plan is being carried out and that there are no major gaps between the vision, mission, values, goals and initiatives of your business and its broader industry.
The final phase of strategic planning is establishing how the plan will be updated and how frequently stakeholders will review and adjust goals. Ideally, the strategic plan will be reviewed quarterly or annually to allow for quick reevaluation as the business environment changes and new opportunities arise. This is also when a balanced scorecard can be created to provide a snapshot of performance against the plan. This is an excellent tool for providing transparency in the organization and demonstrating to employees that the organization’s leaders are accountable for reaching their goals.