By Charles Alvarez , Contributor, the Price of Business Show. * Sponsored
Strategic planning begins with your deciding exactly what you want to accomplish in the key areas of your business life. Once you know your goals in each area, you can then decide upon the best steps you can take to get there.
The GOSPA Model
You can use the GOSPA Model as a guide for strategic planning. These five key thinking tools form the basis for successful business operations.
Begin With The End In Mind
The first letter, “G” stands for Goals. These are the ultimate results that you want to achieve. Your goals are the end targets that you aim at throughout your business year or planning period. Your goals are your sales, profits, growth rate, market share, or percentage of return on assets, equity, investment or sales. Goals are always measurable. What are yours?
Steps on the Staircase
The second letter, “O” stands for Objectives. These are the steps you will have to take to achieve your goals. They are like the rungs on the ladder to get to the top.
Your business objectives can be specific rates of return from advertising, levels of sales of certain products and services, number of items shipped and billed, monies collected and cost levels for certain activities. A lower defect rate or a higher sale amount per customer can be objectives on the path to achieving the main corporate goals. What are your interim objectives?
How to Get There
The letter “S” stands for Strategies. These are the different approaches that you can take to achieve your objectives and reach your goals. For example, achieving a specific level of profitability will require producing and selling specific quantities of products or services to a specific market in a specific way. There are many different ways to go about accomplishing these objectives. The way you choose is your strategy, and may determine the success or failure of your enterprise.
Do you produce, market, sell, deliver yourself, or do you outsource some part of the process? Do you sell direct, via retail, direct mail, catalog or Internet? Do you charge more, charge less, up-sell, cross-sell or discount? Do you enter certain markets and abandon others? What is your strategy? Is it working?
Planning For Success
The letter “P” stands for Plans. These are your blueprints for achieving your goals. Your plans are composed of step-by-step lists of exactly what you will do, day by day, to get from wherever you are to wherever you want to go. Plans are always broken down by sequence and priority.
Some things have to be done before others can be done. Some things are more important than others in achieving the goal or objective. When your plan is organized by sequence and priority, you can accomplish much more in less time.
Business life consists almost entirely of projects, one after the other. A project can be defined as a multi-task job, a job made up of many small jobs, each of which has to be done properly to complete the larger task. Your ability to plan, organize and complete multi-task jobs, ever larger and more complex, is the most important single element of your success, in any field.
Develop a Bias for Action
The last letter in the GOSPA process, “A”, stands for Actions. These are the specific tasks that you are going to complete to carry out the plans to implement the strategies to accomplish the objectives to achieve your goals.
Every important task must be clear, measurable and time bounded. It must be assigned to a specific person who is qualified to perform the task correctly, on time and on budget. What gets measured gets done.
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