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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Elavon versus Cisero's dispute could have major repercussions

News

Industry Update

Will PayPal hit critical mass with recent deals?

Zappos.com hit with breach, lawsuit

Visa says PIN unnecessary for EMV in U.S.

A European perspective on U.S. EMV

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

N.J. unclaimed property ruling favors prepaid, sort of

nFinanSe, InComm wrangle over reload network

Views

The CPP exam - before, during and after

Steve Norell
US Merchant Services Inc.

Big changes ahead

Brandes Elitch
CrossCheck Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Putting the right tools into your tool kit

Bill Pirtle
C3ET Credit Card Consortia for Education & Training Inc.

Strategic planning nuts and bolts

Vicki M. Daughdrill
Small Business Resources LLC

Give your goals some oomph!

Adam Moss and Jeffrey Shavitz
Charge Card Systems Inc.

Turn no into knowledge

Jeff Fortney
Clearent LLC

Are your marketing materials compliant?

Peggy Bekavac Olson
Strategic Marketing

Company Profile

CSR - Compliance Solutions and Resources

New Products

A mobile app for Windows

Aircharge Windows Mobile
Cynergy Data LLC

Inspiration

You, too, can become a CPP

Departments

10 Years ago in
The Green Sheet

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Miscellaneous

2012 Calendar of events

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

February 13, 2012  •  Issue 12:02:01

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Strategic planning nuts and bolts

By Vicki M. Daughdrill

It's a new year. The economy appears to be improving somewhat, evidenced by job creation, improved manufacturing output, increased construction spending and the continuing rise in the stock market, despite some wildly fluctuating periods. In January 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index stood at 9,015; in January 2010 it was 10,583; in January 2011 it was 11,697; and in January 2012 it rose to 12,397.

Businesses have spent the last two years holding the course, maintaining the status quo or simply staying afloat. Now is the time to take a focused look at your company and develop a strategic plan for the next three to five years.

The economy is predicted to continue to grow slowly in early 2012, making this an ideal time to position your company to take advantage of the anticipated economic uptick.

What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is the formal evaluation of the company's future course of action. It is a process that answers four questions:

  1. What do we do?
  2. Who are our customers?
  3. What is our distinctive competency?
  4. What tactics will we employ to fulfill our mission and reach our goals?

A strategic plan is an outline or road map of future plans. It is a process - not a document - to help companies focus on the areas of their businesses that generate the greatest level of profitability and achieve the most success at reaching their goals. Frequently, a strategic planning session will result in a document a company can use to guide its actions and measure and evaluate its success.

The strategic plan should be reviewed, revised, updated and amended on a regular basis, depending on market conditions, the economy and the owner's personal situation. It should never be intended as a fixed document that cannot be adjusted or modified.

The benefits of strategic planning

Business owners and managers sometimes are so absorbed with day-to-day business operations that they fail to focus on the company's ultimate objectives. Conducting a strategic planning process can help decision makers see the big picture and develop longer-term strategies.

While a strategic plan cannot prevent business failure, it can provide a recipe for success and a foundation for the company's business, a definite "must have" in today's commercial environment.

There are countless benefits to conducting strategic planning sessions, including the following:

In addition, many financial institutions now require a strategic plan be submitted as part of the loan application process.

Components of the process

Strategic planning includes an understanding or development of a company's mission and vision, recognition of its ethics and values, and identification of its strategic direction. The planning focuses on analysis, planning and identification of tactics.

A mission statement is a powerful tool to clearly define your company's reason for existence. It is the articulation of how your dream is going to become a reality. It sets the tone, defines the path you will follow and acts as a guiding principle for your company.

Your mission statement tells your customers exactly what your company stands for, believes in and what you intend to achieve (for more information, see "Creating a mission statement," by Vicki M. Daughdrill, The Green Sheet, Jan. 10, 2005, issue 05:01:01). As for vision, the big-picture concept focuses your thoughts, feelings and actions toward realizing that vision (for more information, see "Creating your business vision," by Vicki M. Daughdrill, The Green Sheet, Dec. 13, 2004, issue 04:12:01).

Additionally, recognition of your company's core ethics and values is essential, as they drive the business culture, establish priorities and determine what strategies will be employed.

Developing a strategic plan

There are several methods for determining which strategic planning process will work for your company. These include organizing objectives by hierarchies, utilizing the "top rank objective," evaluating goal congruency, and setting short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.

Once you determine which method best suits your company, the next step is conducting the strategic planning process. Here is a simple, step-by-step guide to assist you in starting the process for your company.

Yogi Berra said, "If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else." By developing a strategic plan, you can be sure you know exactly where you want to take your company, identify the goals you want to meet, and establish the strategies and tactics necessary to attain them.

Vicki M. Daughdrill is the Managing Member of Small Business Resources LLC, a management consulting company. E-mail her at vickid@netdoor.com or call her at 601-310-3594.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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