Are you looking for direction to keep your business moving forward? Strategic planning is often pushed aside as it takes time to work on your business rather than in your business. Whether you are a sole operator fitting work around a busy life, a staffed business or volunteer organization ready to go to the next level, a strategic plan provides you and your team the direction it needs to stay on track and propel forward in today’s marketplace.

A strategic plan is a valuable guide for your employees, your leadership and stakeholders to know where you’re going and why you’re going there. Strategic planning should involve key teammembers; it is important to have input and buy-in at all levels. Reserve time and space; eliminating interruptions improves everyone’s focus during the brainstorming process. A strategic plan that is well communicated gives you access to greater productivity, culture, empowerment, and overall effectiveness.

I am often asked, “Why should I bother with a strategic plan?” I think of a strategic plan as a compass. You can have a ship, crew, fuel and cargo and a destination however if you don’t have a compass to guide you in the right direction you may become lost, take longer or just plain sink. These same principles can apply to a business.

Strategic planning:
• gets your team on the same page and aligned with your organizations vision, mission and goals
• can maximize your organization’s resources to avoid wasting time and money on projects or activities that are not important
• helps understand industry trends and scenarios that could impact your organization in the coming years
• identifies and evaluates the best way to accomplish your goals
• develops an implementation plan to keep you and your team on track and accountable for deliverables
Your annual operations plan should align and propel your strategic plan. A great strategy is most often re-evaluated on an ongoing basis (quarterly or annually, for example), rather than being a static document just sitting on a shelf. Keep your plan flexible so you’ll be ready to adjust and pursue new opportunities, keeping in mind that they should align with your long-term goals and objectives.

Jolynn Green is Executive Director of Community Futures Central Island. You can count on us for sound practical advice, personalized business coaching and tailored financing that supports your business goals. Jolynn can be reached at or 250-591-7499.