Frequently Asked Questions
MA33 Strategies will help guide you on the Strategic Planning Process and then work with you to assure that your Strategic Plan is fully and faithfully implemented. Our most extensive approach is to perform a Comprehensive Strategic Review, diving deep into the company to assess the current state of your business and develop a complete plan to move forward. We can also perform a more abbreviated Strategic Appraisal that will identify key objectives and create a plan to achieve them.
Once your Strategic Plan is established, MA33 Strategies will work with you to assure that you have a consistent process to monitor your progress. The path to sustainable profits requires discipline and persistence. We will help keep you on track.
MA33 Strategies can also help you overcome other obstacles to success. Most small or mid-size companies don’t have all the resources they need to meet all of their challenges. By engaging us on a fractional basis, you can expand your capacity and enhance your team without a long-term commitment, freeing leadership to focus on the areas where they can do the most good.
For many business owners and executives, the most salient benefit of a Strategic Plan is peace of mind. Plans relieve anxiety by putting problems into perspective and focusing on solutions.
Your Strategic Plan is the roadmap for your business. It defines the direction of your company, articulates your vision and objectives, and establishes the actions necessary for success. With it, you will know where you going and how you will get there. Without it, you risk wandering aimlessly, wasting time and resources, or worse running off the road altogether.
Your Strategic Plan focuses on the foundational purpose of your business, taking a high-level view and looking ahead as much as three years or more. The strategic planning process compels you to carefully define success and how that success may be measured.
Companies with a strong Strategic Plan realize many benefits, including:
- Sharpening the direction of the business to sustain or improve performance;
- Aligning all company resources towards the achievement of defined objectives;
- Building an environment that encourages honest discussion of sensitive issues;
- Generating a common and consistent framework for decision making;
- Creating a context for budget and personnel decisions;
- Improving information flow to support data-driven decisions; and
- Increasing overall confidence in the direction of the business.
There is no inappropriate time to fashion a Strategic Plan. Companies should develop and maintain Strategic Plans whether they are startups or mature; growing or stable; expanding or contracting; large or small. A Strategic Plan can be created at any time, without regard to the calendar. In fact, if you do not have a current Strategic Plan, the best time to start is now.
Many companies engage in strategic planning only when faced with a transformative event – change in leadership, sector disruption, new competition, or economic downturn. Still others wait for an internal crisis such as an unexpected financial shortfall, departure of key personnel, or loss of a critical customer. While those are surely good times to begin, businesses that have a Strategic Plan already in place are better able to foresee, avoid, or at worst quickly adapt to challenges. So again, the best time to start is now.
An effective Strategic Plan is the result of a process focused on the unique circumstances of your business, and requires the full commitment of leadership and an investment of time. As no two companies are identical, nor are any two Strategic Plans. The best Strategic Plans are the product of the company’s leadership team, informed by the input of other key stakeholders including ownership, managers, supervisors, and line employees. While companies may attempt this on their own, it is often more efficient to work with an outside facilitator able to encourage candid dialogue and keep the process centered and moving forward.
Business success is always in the rearview mirror – the result of past actions and circumstances. The approach your company had five years ago, last year, or even last month, is not guaranteed to yield the same result in the future. Doing what you have always done – without a hard look – poses incalculable danger. No matter your past or current achievements, your future success depends on having a Strategic Plan.
A Strategic Plan is an investment that, when properly implemented, will deliver impactful returns. It is not something more to do, it is something that will enable you to do more, better.
All companies are constrained by limited resources: time, talent, money – or all three. A Strategic Plan enables businesses to direct those resources more effectively toward the precise activities needed to achieve the most critical objectives.
A Strategic Plan also promotes efficiency by delivering a consistent message to all – owners, managers, and employees. It builds morale and engages stakeholders across the company. And sharing common goals and cognizable measurements of success motivates the workforce, encourages their efforts, and maintains their focus.
Large companies dedicate entire departments to strategic planning. But most small and mid-size companies don’t have the resources to support that approach. And it can be overwhelming for an owner, CEO, or other executive to take on the responsibility of developing a Strategic Plan for the company’s future while still attending to all of his other duties.
Oftentimes, the best solution is to retain a skilled facilitator. A facilitator can help your team work together better, focusing its energies and ultimately developing a Strategic Plan that can lead your business to sustainable profits. An objective third-party can organize the process and prepare your team, manage the group dynamics, moderate disagreements, and achieve consensus.
Don’t overlook the importance of the right company culture. To achieve sustainable profits, everyone from ownership on down must be committed to the Strategic Plan. Successful execution depends on across-the-board engagement.
The most successful companies create an environment that engages the entire organization through consistent communication and transparency. The path to sustainable profits is much smoother if the whole team is working toward a common purpose.
We can help you build a culture of responsibility, authority, and accountability, where everyone knows what is expected, is empowered to do the job, and is held accountable for results.
The seven rules for an effective Strategic Plan are: Be Selective; Be Purposeful; Be Frank; Be Realistic; Be Bold; Be Perpetual; and Be Persistent. To learn more, request our Free Report – The Seven Rules for an Effective Strategic Plan.