Qualitative Benefits of Strategic Planning

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

This is the second in a series of posts about Strategic Marketing and Sales Planning

OK….so after the last post you are thinking about strategic planning but may not be convinced.  You have a lot on your plate.  You don’t need more.  BUT, you are beginning to wonder if good planning may lead to increased revenues, more targeted marketing, enhanced sales activity, etc.

Let me quickly share with you some additional benefits of good planning:

Morale builder – You will be involving some employees in the planning process.  We will get to that later.  However, by delegating some of the planning process to your team, you will lift their morale and their commitment to helping you succeed.  Planning requires a little more transparency than a lot of leaders are used to providing.  Your team will like this.  Productivity will go up!

Respect builder – The plan process will only build your team’s respect for you.  Planning is transparency.  Planning is the willingness to listen and debate ideas.  Transparency earns respect.  This doesn’t mean you become a “softy”.  You are still the boss.  You have to bring reality to the idealistic ideas of less experienced people.  The result will be a higher level of respect directed at you.

Commitment builder – When employees participate in the planning process, they begin to take ownership.  They buy into the plan.  This commitment will spread to the employees that aren’t part of the planning team.  Employees that see a plan in place will feel more secure about this small company they are working for.  Perhaps your company is struggling in the wake of the 2009 economic downturn.  Now that the economy is showing signs of recovery and recruiting efforts in the industry are up, you may have some people looking at other jobs.  The more secure employees feel about the direction of their current employer, the less likely they are to leave.

Time saver – Once a plan is in place, you will get fewer questions like, “Should we do this or do that?” “Are we attending this or that show?” “What ads should be place next month? The media reps are calling with good deals.”  All of these questions are answered in the plan.  You don’t want to go month-to-month planning advertising based on this deal or that deal.  Your advertising should tie to a strategy that ties to meeting one of your objectives.

In my next post we will start to get organized for some strategic planning.

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Getting from A to E

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

This is the first in a series of posts about creating a Strategic Marketing and Sales plan for your company.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”                                                                                 Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French Aviator and Writer

Fact is that people, businesses, athletes and teams that have a detailed plan about how they are going to achieve their goals are more successful than those that don’t. Professional carpenters say measure twice…cut once.  This is planning.  It takes less time to plan carefully than it does to saw from the hip and make a mistake that  is costly and time consuming to repair.  Some mistakes cannot be repaired.

Look at the choices of paths in the illustration above.  Which path would you rather take assuming the true distance from A to E and F to J is the same.  If you are driving a car, you know that it will take less time to follow the path of A to E and it will cost less in fuel.  OK…now you are saying “Ted…you have made your point.”  Then I ask you, “Do you have a formal written plan that articulates the strategies and tactics you will follow in 2011?”  If your company is following the tortuous path of F to J, you are wasting a lot of time, money and human resources.

Would you believe that I know a company with $50 million in revenues without a plan?  I do.  How about a company with $20 million in revenues without a plan.  The CEO as much as admitted it the other day.  Then you say, “Ted, if they are at $20 million or $50 million in revenues they must be doing something right.”  Well….one is not profitable and the other is missing its 2010 revenue goals.  They had goals without a plan.  So, as Saint-Exupery said, their goals were merely wishes.

The most difficult part of Strategic Planning is making the commitment and setting aside the time to do it.  Strategic planning will pay for itself many times over.  Make a commitment to plan strategically now.  You can do it.  The next several posts will guide you.

To do:

  • If you are the company leader…founder, CEO, COO…make the decision.  Write down the fact you will make a strategic plan for 2011 or the next 6 months…whatever.
  • If you are a functional leader….head of sales, head of marketing, etc….tell your company leader that you would like to write a plan for your area.  More than likely you will get enthusiastic support.
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