CORPORATE STRATEGIC PLANNING TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IN NIGERIA
There is a saying that goes thus ‘’if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”. When running any kind of business, having a road map or a blue print is very important. Growing and expanding your business means taking certain decisions that will affect the operations of your business. Creating a corporate strategic plan is a key component in the growth and expansion of a business.
Corporate Strategic Planning is a business approach or systematic approach to determining the goals to be achieved in the foreseeable future. It is simply the processes involved when a business top management reassesses its current strategy procedures by looking for opportunities and threats in the environment and by analyzing the business resources in order to identify its strengths and weaknesses. It also involves defining your business purpose mission. Technology is rapidly bringing change to the systematics of a business and business management is being more complex, corporate strategic planning will help small businesses to foresee and react quickly to these various market changes and opportunities and identify the areas that the business is lagging behind in. In summary, corporate strategic planning is crafting a strategic plan that will serve as a blue print foundation for a small business.
Effective strategic planning for small businesses begins with observing and amending the foundational aspects of the business such as the
- Developing a mission statement
- Developing a Vision
- Establishing organizational core values.
It also goes further to identify some broad based goals and objectives for the year. Once all these goals and objectives has been identified then it is time to apply to move to one of the important part of corporate strategic planning which is the SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This enables small businesses to analyse their current strategic position.
- Strength: This has to do questions relating to what has been working well for the business?, what value do we bring to clients and customers?, what distinguishes my business from that of my competitors, what have we been doing really well?. The business must ensure that they keep on capitalizing on anything that will help with their relevance in the industry
- Weaknesses: This has to do with questions relating to what procedures are we implementing that is not making a difference?, what do our customers dislike?, What procedures need improving?, What is hindering our sales or a particular product or service that we render?, is there an upcoming recession that will slow the business down?. The business must identify its various weaknesses in all areas and begin to work towards eliminating them as soon as possible.
- Opportunities: This has to do with questions relating to what new procedure or product or services can the business adopt?, What needs to be improved or changed?, what can we start doing?. The business needs to be fully conscious of its environment and the trend to fully grasp any opportunity that passes by.
- Threats: This has to do with questions relating to what is threatening the business such as competitors, technology, economic changes, financial threat, government policies e.t.c
Small businesses must learn to build on their strengths, work on their weaknesses, capitalize on any opportunity and avoid any threat as possible. After implementing the SWOT analysis, small businesses must identify the Key Results Area (KRA). That is the areas in which the business must achieve success in order to grow and prosper.
The business objectives and plans can be grouped into these Key Results Areas (KRA) in order to make it easier for the business to prioritize and process objectives, allocate resources and function well in all areas. Some examples of KRAs are increasing the revenue of the business, surpassing the competition, capitalizing on emerging and modern trends, improve efficiency and productivity, improve advertising and promotions, improve customers and client’s relationship, and create a safe environment for production etc.
Business owners must take into consideration some few things in order to ensure that they maximise their corporate strategic planning to full capacity. The following are corporate strategic planning tips for small business:
- Organize your corporate strategic planning objectives with an actionable plan
After the small business has drafted out the various corporate strategic planning objectives, they should be illustrated in a document or a vision map that should be distributed to all levels of staffs involved. Many businesses hold strategy planning sessions without even carrying them out. It must be of high priority that these objectives are enforced, carried out and implemented in order to ensure progression and growth of the business
- Involve your team members
A business corporate strategic planning will become stronger if it has multiple points of view from different people. So this can be done when business owners ask from their team members or employees. It will be very easy to buy them into your vision and implement it knowing that they will become accountable if the responsibility is shared among them and it will also make them have assay regarding the corporate strategic planning objectives
- Eliminate distractions
Corporate strategic planning is often pushed aside when there is pressure from the daily business. Businesses must ensure that they are not carried away by the daily work and the corporate strategic planning process receives the attention that is needed. Without eliminating these various distractions, it will affect the corporate planning procedures. It is impossible for business owners to focus on corporate strategic planning without being surrounded by their normal daily activities. Business owners can do well by setting up a neutral place by away from your office will give it the attention it deserves
- Gather the data
Having access to pure and raw market data is one of the many challenges that small businesses face. For small businesses to know where they are going, they have to know where they are right now. Small businesses must ensure that they gather all the needed information that will help in building and executing their various plans. Businesses should gather their facts both internally by assessing their strengths and weaknesses and externally by assessing the opportunities available and the threats that may hinder their progression
- Build or create your plan
Once the business owners have identified their various objectives, they will need to formulate their plans in order to achieve their goals. The plan will consist of the measures, processes, and the required resources needed to achieve the corporate strategic planning objectives. They include the costs, staffs, facilities, source of credit, inventory to implement the objectives or even credit facility provision
- Make your plans realistic and measurable
Businesses must ensure that while making the corporate strategic planning objectives, they are realistic, measurable and achievable. Decisions and plans made should be based on robust, reliable and intelligent information and not on emotions. Small business owners must ensure that no matter the plans or objectives they formulate, it must be something that is attainable.
- Keep your plans flexible
Business owners must ensure that after drafting their plans, they put into consideration the changing marketing or business conditions. Small businesses must be ready to adjust their strategies and pursue new opportunities as long as it fits into the long term objectives. This is one of the advantages that small business has in competing with large companies.
People are the ones that implement and get things done. Business owners must ensure that the plan has some specific people responsible for the execution of some of the stated objectives or else the work will never get done because nobody is responsible for it. This will also reduce the burden on the business owner.
- Align the corporate strategic planning procedures
The corporate strategic plan must blend in with everything else. Business owners must ensure that while preparing their plans and objectives, they align it with things like their financial budget, operational plans, and government policies and any other related information or policy that needs aligning
- Focus on execution and execute it relentlessly
When formulate the corporate strategic planning procedures, business owners must ensure that they meet with their team members every month or quarter to review the strategy and action plan procedures. It must include responsibilities, timeline, and the team member’s needs to hold themselves accountable for achieving the results
- Understand your business
This is a very important tip because the business mission statement, vision and organizational core values will set the direction for the execution of your corporate planning procedures. This also has to do with understanding why your business exists as an organization, your core beliefs and principles and what you want your business to be known for.
- Understand your current situation
In order for small businesses to assess their current situation, they need to apply the SWOT analysis mentioned in the introduction above. This will enable them know their current stance and the internal factors and external factors that will either help the business or cause harm to it. It also allows businesses take the appropriate procedures needed to pursue their goals
- Adopt corporate strategic planning as a process
Whether small businesses meet monthly or quarterly to review their corporate strategic planning procedures, they must ensure that it is a repeatable process. They must adopt it as something that should be repeated every now and then.
- Get feedback
After drafting and implementing the corporate strategic planning procedures, small business owners must ensure that they get feedback from their employees, professionals and even their mentors. Requesting for a feedback brings in multiple and invaluable insights on the plans that you are set to achieve.
- Set both long and short term goals
Small businesses must ensure that they identify the short term strategic planning objectives which is around a year and the long term strategic planning objectives which is usually between 3 to 5 years. These goals might relate to expanding the business, launching new products or services, raising the business visibility, increasing profitability and any other thing that is relating to your business. The goals should be challenging and inspiring but not unattainable
- Make an avenue for reviewing and monitoring your goals
Small businesses must ensure that they are not executing blindly. They must regularly review and modify their corporate planning objectives in order to make sure that they are focused. This is allow small businesses to which objective or plan they are lagging behind in. Small business owners must also ensure that they establish and build a strong monitoring process that ensures that responsibilities taken are done at the due time. Business owners should schedule weekly meetings in order to review their progress on the performance.
- Apply the use of deadlines
One way to increase to productivity when making plans is the use of deadlines. Deadlines forces one to work harder and more effective because of the time constraint. Setting and achieving objectives without a stipulated deadline will lead to procrastination and lack of motivation. Small business owners must ensure that they apply deadlines to their long and short term corporate strategic planning objectives in order to get things done more effectively and track their progress overtime
- Chart your future
After the corporate strategic plans are in place, the business owner must chart the future of the business by taking into consideration important issues like the man power, finance, sales, technology and marketing
In conclusion, many small business owners lack a corporate strategic plan for their businesses. This happens a lot because small business owners think corporate strategic planning is for the large companies and it does not apply to them. Corporate strategic planning for small businesses should not be too difficult or time consuming but the plans you make needs to identify what you want to accomplish in the years to come
About the author
Onamakinde Dare Daniel is a highly motivated accountant with knowledge in Accounting, Taxation, Management, Audit, Costing and Research. He is keen on tax matters due to its ever dynamic nature.[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]