The key to any strategic plan is to gain a greater understanding of why you do what you do and how you want the future to look.

Step 1: Start with Why

What drives your business? Your purpose.

So let’s start by asking the most important question… why are you in business? 

Defining your “why” should always be the first of all the essential steps of strategic planning. Each of us ultimately wants a range of things from our lives and businesses, but at the end of the day they will all fall into a few catch-all statements:

  1. Being healthy
  2. Happy family
  3. More freedom
  4. Feeling fulfilled

We need to know what that is because that is what keeps you focused in the darkest moments.

Step 2: Determine your target market

All good businesses provide some kind of solution.

In the most basic terms, your business will be built on the thing you want to solve. Do you want to make the best muffins in the world, do you want to develop technology that makes clean water or do you want to help people with their marketing.

Whatever it is you do, you are solving something the other party can’t or won’t do themselves.

Who is your core customer?

When you challenge the thing you do and connect it with the problem you WANT to solve you have the foundation of a business.

Think about it, does your 8-year-old daughter have the same needs as your 80-year-old grandmother. No.

Their needs are different, they communicate in different ways with different comprehension. Their ability to consume your product will depend on their circumstances and needs.

If you can visualise your core customer in human terms you can match their needs and your solution.

What is your target market?

Your target market is the specific group of people at which your product or service is aimed.

To pinpoint your target market, you’ll need to start by analysing data about your customers and competitors. Here’s how to do it:

How to determine your target market

  1. Analyse your existing customers
  2. Know your product’s benefits
  3. Investigate your competitors
  4. Segment your audience
  5. Refine your research

Step 3: Identify your “secret sauce”

Identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats.

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique used to help you identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition or project planning. While a little old school, it is a very simple process that you and your team can use to check in on the current status and focus on where you need to go.

Remember, dig deep and be open, there are always nuggets of gold hidden within your business.

What is your secret sauce?

We believe that every business has 3-5 elements that make them, them. It might be simple things like the way you look after your customers, your charging process, unique features of a product… but it’s the way they come together that can set you apart.

Where do you sit in the mind of the customer?

Key objectives of brand positioning include relevance, differentiation and credibility/attainability, as described here:

  • Relevance is priority #1. Customers must find the brand appealing. If not, the brand won’t make it into the consideration set, regardless of how differentiated or credible it is.
  • Differentiation is critical and the key driver of positioning success. The brand must be unique vs. competitive offerings. Your ‘Secret Sauce’.
  • Credible and attainable is the final measure. If you cannot credibly provide the offering, the customer is left with an empty promise.

Step 4: Find your strategic opportunities

What are your strategic opportunities?

The more focused and effective we are the more likely we are going to be able to stay the course and deliver the result we want.

What to action and what to ignore. The focus of any good strategy is learning what not to do as well as what to do.

Step 5: Create a framework for accountability

Change of status – what is the result you are looking for?

It could be financial freedom, operating in different countries, more time with family or simply to sell your business.

Remember if you are clear on your outcomes you will create awareness around how and what got you there for future goals.

Step 6: Develop your 4 core objectives and measurable results

Choose to focus on no more than 4 core objectives with a maximum of 3-5 key results that will help us drive the delivery of the core objective.

The key actions that you will take, when, and who will deliver them to move you closer to your goal. The results may be delivered over days, weeks or months, even years. They must be a catalyst that keeps you on track towards success.

Author's Bio: 

JohnSmith is a writer, website created to provide the latest information in all fields: economics, culture, society, health, technology ... If you see interesting articles please share them. Thank you! Admin: