The third quarter officially ends on September 30. As the 2023 business year edges closer to its conclusion, companies must begin to look ahead to 2024. Now is the time to use a strategic plan template to plan for 2024, mapping out goals, objectives, and strategies to create actionable targets.
Entering a new year without a defined plan creates uncertainty and chaos for businesses. For startups and small businesses, the strategic planning process guides next steps and eliminates the ‘what’s next’ confusion. Yet, all businesses must outline their strategic plan to prepare for the future and define their sales goals, revenue projections, and perhaps even overhaul their processes.
What is a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan outlines all the objectives of the company. The plan analyzes the internal processes of the company and its external (or outward) focus. When creating a strategic plan for the upcoming business year, owners and managers should create goals and objectives related to:
Setting a clear vision
Outlining targets (quarterly, yearly)
Creating a marketing strategy
Compiling a comprehensive issues list
Strategic plans create a focused understanding of the year ahead. However, even the best plans don’t remain static throughout the year. Needs change, projections change, and the plan must pivot at times. According to a blog published by Harvard Business School, a study of Harvard Business School grads who started a business found that more than 90 percent who created successful strategies changed the direction outlined in their original plan.
A Company’s Strategic Plan Consists of…
Every strategic plan encompasses numerous goals, objectives, tactics, and defined targets unique to each business. The overall vision must be clear. What is the main driving goal for 2024? Define it, and expand on how to achieve it.
Set Clear Targets
Targets must be realistic and motivate the team to work towards greater results than the prior year. When setting larger goals, break actions into smaller, manageable targets achieved through definable and measurable steps.
For example, setting a year-end (2024) $1 million revenue target requires managers and owners to facilitate clear quarterly benchmarks. In each quarter, define revenue goals for departments, team members, and the company as a whole. Companies must exist in a 90-day world, as they work to meet each significant and meaningful quarterly benchmark.
Consistently Achieving Micro Goals Leads to Macro Results
Harvard Business Review reported that almost all employees are clueless about the strategies of their company (95 percent!). Each team member must understand the steps to reach their targets. For the company to succeed, each team member must know their role and their importance to the greater goal.
Yet, the company also should consider a very important question: why should employees care about these strategies and macro visions? While goals and targets must be measurable, actionable, and managed into micro-focused benchmarks, they also must incentivize each stakeholder.
How does the company move team members to perform? Businesses cannot simply set goals, snap their fingers, and expect deliverables. Employees need to understand the whys behind their company; goals must be communicated. In addition, employees also need to have an incentive to care. Many companies develop bonus structures and other programs to motivate employees to work towards the macro-focused goal.
Creating a Strategic Marketing Plan
Developing 2024 strategies requires a marketing plan. Team members must know their role in each focused strategy for the company, but the end user—the client or customer–also plays a crucial role in this success. Marketing plans enable businesses to reach out to their key audiences using a variety of focused tactics.
Want to boost sales for a particular new product? Create a marketing campaign that allows customers to preview it at stores or that provides free samples.
Offering a new service? Highlight it via social media or through digital advertising. Use public relations to promote the service on a news program, a radio show, or a partnership with an influencer.
Marketing plans look different for every company. Some businesses hire a digital marketing agency to manage messaging and outreach. The agency develops a comprehensive marketing plan for the company and outlines the most effective and impactful strategies and programs to meet the company’s overall goals.
How to Develop a Strategic Plan
All companies can and should create a new strategic plan each year. This plan develops the business objectives for the year and helps team members understand their role in hitting sales and revenue targets.
Outline the Vision
Before writing the yearly plan, outline each specific section. Identify the vision for the year. What is the main company objective? Not all companies focus on profits and sales. Some want to increase productivity; others want to retain more employees.
Develop Actionable Goals
Next, begin to map out between three to seven actionable goals to hit the identified vision. If the company wants to improve employee retention, what are the quarterly steps for achieving that goal? How will the goal be measured?
Create a Marketing Plan
Incorporate a marketing plan that supports the goals. For a company that wishes to improve retention, the marketing plan focuses on internal communication and strategies. Through monthly newsletters, employee programs and celebrations, and other strategies, the company could work to improve the culture and increase team satisfaction.
Understand the Issues
Each strategic plan must address the issues or objections that the company needs to overcome. Why is company retention suffering? What are the necessary steps to resolve the issues and improve employee happiness?
Make an honest and comprehensive list of all the known issues. Honesty is the emphasis for this step; companies must step back and assess all weaknesses and issues. Only then can leadership create an effective, measurable, scalable strategy to move forward.
Strategic Planning Consulting Services
Not every small business, entrepreneur, or startup desires to tackle the creation of a strategic plan. Local business leaders trust Tabetha to help them break down the issues, set measurable goals, and write a plan for the future that enables their business to grow and flourish. Contact Tabetha to schedule a consultation or to learn more about the EOS business organization model.
How The Entrepreneurial Operating System® Helps Entrepreneurs Succeed
The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a proven system that helps businesses clarify, simplify and achieve their vision.
An EOS Implementer like Tabetha helps business owners build a strong foundation for their business to grow on top by implementing the key principles of EOS®: strategy, execution, and control. Tabetha will guide you through every step of the implementation process to help your business goals, ideas, and plans come to fruition.
What are you waiting for? Schedule a call with Tabetha Sheaver today. She has the insights and years of experience to help take your business in a new direction.
Tabetha Sheaver is a CEO, certified EOS Implementer®, project management professional (PMI), and an award-winning business success partner. She helps CEOs regain control of their companies with organizational change management strategies. Helping entrepreneurial leadership teams to be open, honest, and healthy. Tabetha’s experience and insight have made her an in-demand public speaker and presenter nationwide.