Everybody hates strategic planning…at least that is what I’ve heard. Most think it a dull and boring, dry exercise in tiny details. It can be an exciting look into a company’s future.
Many years ago, I learned a technique that is very popular and is a very simple way to begin your steps towards a strategic plan for your business.
It’s called SWOT analysis. The acronym stands for:
The simple premise is that if you can enumerate all conditions that fit each of the categories you can begin to see your company or organization as a whole. You can understand that if you, “went away tomorrow” who would miss your services? You can comprehend you’re your competition’s offerings compare to yours. You can begin to be certain that your offerings and products fit your company’s reason for being.
Sure there are certainly more sophisticated planning processes, but this has worked well for me when working with clients.
The key is complete honesty with yourself, colleagues and all who participate in the analysis. The best experiences I’ve had with this include inviting each participant to list their observations under each category. Then everyone comes together to bring all their observations to the group.
Participants can then look at each item against the goal of the company and primarily the needs of the company’s customers/users. They must come first because if their needs aren’t being met, then the company will soon be out of business.
Generally work groups are then formed to create strategies to apply to each weakness, opportunity and threat.
Just realize that unlike mosquitoes, you can’t simply squash your issues.