What is a strategic plan?

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A Strategic Plan is a blueprint of activities, strategies and workplans for your organization or business which is designed to allow you to reach your goal in the most sensible, efficient and cost-effective way. Strategic Plans are best created by following this very simple 4-step approach:

1. Set a MISSION STATEMENT

The mission statement is a condensed, pocket-sized version of your whole plan. It should summarize very clearly who you are, what you want to accomplish and how you're going to go about it. It shouldn't be a big, page-long explanation. It sho uld be, as the name implies, a "statement".

Some believe that the ideal mission statement is exactly nine words long. We don't.

2. Identify GOALS which will guide you to the mission statement

Goals are derived from the mission statement. Anything in the mission statement that seems to imply that your organization should be "somewhere" by a given time requires a goal.

For example, if your mission statement declares that your organization will be "the major provider of consulting services on Vancouver Island", then one of your goals should be to "increase market share of consulting services to XX% by the year 2001".

3. Determine the OBJECTIVES which will let you reach those goals

Objectives are just something that let you attain your goals. Without an objective, the goal would just be floating in space, never to be reached. They give you a method of advancement towards your goal, and subsequently, your mission statement.

4. Create WORKPLANS that let you complete the objectives

Workplans aren't always included in Strategic Plans, but they are quite helpful. Unfortunately, they're also quite time-consuming.

A Workplan is a detailed outline of specific actions that need to be conducted to fulfill the objectives set out in the plan. They address specific issues and basically need to answer the following questions:

  • What needs to be done?
  • How will it be done?
  • Who will do it?
  • When will it be done by?
  • Workplans should be virtually self-sufficient. That is, you should be able to tear one out of a strategic plan, hand it to someone, and they should know exactly what needs to be done without having read the whole strategic plan.

    Steve may be reached at penfold@coastnet.com.

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