• Sara Mays

Strategic Business Planning in 6 Steps

Updated: Feb 9, 2018

It’s tax season and you're trying to determine your profits for 2017. It’s a perfect time to look back on the year and to plan for 2018. Did you reach our business goals? If you didn't, why? Did you stray from our plan? Did you HAVE a plan? All too often when we speak with business owners, they admit that they never had a plan.

When is the last time you visited a new city? Did you use GPS or a map? I would venture to say that you wouldn’t start a journey without a plan and the tools to help you get to your destination. When you plan a vacation, you determine arrival and departure days, which hotel you’ll use, which sites you’ll see, restaurants you’ll eat at, etc. It takes a lot of planning to have an enjoyable, fiscally responsible vacation. Chances are, you’ll take some wrong turns, experience unexpected weather, and other obstacles. They may frustrate you, but if you have a plan, you can modify it to get you back on track. The same goes for business, having a plan, a strategy, IS your road map and includes the tools you need to be successful.

Sales, deliveries, orders, markdowns, meetings, expenses, and managing staff, ALL while trying to meet and exceed sales expectations. It often feels overwhelming because it is. When you feel like the tail wagging the dog, you have bigger issues. It’s time to take a hard look at the next few months and beyond to develop a strategy to propel your business, this year and every year to come.

Some symptoms to look for that may indicate a lack of a solid strategic plan include:

- Owner/leader feeling overwhelmed and/or working too much

- Low employee morale

- High employee turnover

- Low sales

- High shrink

- Lack of employee awareness (daily/weekly goals, company focus, company strengths and weaknesses, values)

Some critical components to consider when developing a strategy:

Step 1: Clarify who YOU ARE - specifically your values. This ensures that all decisions that you make within your business are aligned with you as a person and as a leader.

Step 2: Identify areas to focus. Let’s be honest. Running a business is a LOT to handle. Many things need your attention. Take the time to evaluate what is really worth your efforts.

Step 3: Leverage your current strengths and successes. Don’t forget who you are, and stay focused on what it is you do BEST and what your employees do best. Let everyone “play” to their strengths.

Step 4: Anticipate threats including competition, staffing changes, real estate, and road construction your area. Consider how you can mitigate these risks.

Step 5: Measure those areas of focus that were established in Step 2 to ensure sustained traction.

Step 6: Hold yourself and your leaders accountable.

Ultimately, the success of your business and your overall well-being are in your hands. The more you plan, the more efficient and seamless things tend to be. The choice is yours. You can be successful, have a better work/life balance, or you can continue to open your doors every day and “hope” it goes well.

The Retail Coach Consulting Group can assist you with all of this. Our goal is simple: to help business owners establish simple, executable, impactful business plans and strategies to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, and position you to be consistently focused on the things that will help you GROW your business.

Damond Windham

Principal Consultant

The Retail Coach Consultant Group-Cincinnati