What is Strategic Planning?
Strategic Planning is more than keeping a calendar, staying organized, or even being intentional in our daily work. Strategic planning is understanding your ultimate goal – you’re end game – then seeing the big picture and all of its possibilities, then mapping out every move and contingency so you can blow that ultimate goal away. Listen to the podcast here: Episode 15
When I sit down with clients, I work through several categories in their business. We review them all in an intensive on a quarterly basis or some clients choose to laser in on one strategy. Either way, taking time to plan very intentionally, how, you will execute your strategy, will free up so much time for you.
The first time I sat down and planned out all my content for the month in one day, I was amazed at how else I was able to use my time more for relationship building, product development, and working on the back end of my business, like making things as automated as possible.
I’ve found that when I do not set aside the time to be strategic in my business, I am rushed to get out content, my schedule is more hectic, and I feel like I’m battling a never ending list of tasks. As the CEO in my business and a solopreneur, I will never escape the tasks, but I can get the tasks out of the way, so that the largest and most productive days I have (Saturdays) are spent on strategy.
So what does that mean? Strategy? At Vim and Vigor, it means understanding what my mission and vision are for my business and from that, understanding what my core offer is – Strategic Planning – and all the things that are going to draw people to that core offer. From there, I can then plan how I make that offer visible, what kpis and metrics I measure, what my customer experience should look like, and how I will operationalize the entire package.
If I didn’t strategically plan, then I would simply post whatever came to mind, and while it might be fun and whimsical, or even interesting and educational, and we should do that periodically, but if that is all I ever do, without having front of mind how it leads back to my core offer, then I am less likely to accomplish my mission. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just accomplish my mission – I want to blow it away.
So, over the next few episodes, I’m going to give you a sneak peek into the quarterly strategic planning I do for Vim & Vigor Business Operations Consulting.
In this episode, I’ll focus on KPIs, Financials, and Product Development
Strategic Planning Includes Reviews Key Performance Indicators and Metrics
If you missed the episode on KPIs and metrics, go back to episode 12 where I go into great detail about the difference between a KPI and a Metric, how to use them and there’s a fantastic download on how to measure them.
The first thing I do is gather up all my numbers from the previous month and enter them into my measurement dashboard. Then I compare those to the targets I’ve set for myself. I look at monthly and when appropriate, annual trends to see if I need to make any adjustments. If I’m not making any headway in one of the categories, I create an action item to dig deeper.
That might mean that I work with a peer or coach to understand if my targets are realistic, or if there are other organic reasons why I am not growing in that area. Was it a fluke, did I not execute on the plan I set for myself last quarter, etc? Did I not have any engagement on my social media? How about the competition? What did their engagement look like comparatively?
I also look at metrics that performed great, particularly if they’re seeing growth month after month. I create a note or action item to continue doing what I’m doing in that area. At some point, that will taper off and, if there are higher priorities at the time, I’ll coast on that plateau for a month or so before making it a higher priority to do something new.
It Includes a Financial Review
More than just a metric review, I also deep dive into financials.
Do I need to update my budget based on recent spending?
What bad spending habits am I forming? Quick example: When I did a deeper dive into some bad spending habits, I realized I was falling for the annual payment plan for tools I wanted to try. For example, I’ve yet to come across one tool that does everything I need in my business from invoicing to project planning. I need multiple tools to keep my business running. Once I fell for the popularity trap and purchased a tool because a guru said it was the only tool they needed for x,y,z and, I’m in luck, I can use their handy affiliate link to purchase it. Bottom line, I ended up paying for the basic service on an annual basis, because I could save money in the long run. But you know what? That guru was paying for the thousands-of-dollars-per-month service, so of course it as the only tool she used for x,y,z. I ended up with a tool that was not right for me for an entire year because I didn’t stop to vet it against my strategy and business needs. Probie mistake!
During my financial review, I also take a look at my contracts, service agreements, terms & conditions, invoice reconciliation, receipt tracking, and make any quarterly tax payments.
This is also a good time to check in with your bookkeeper or accountant so they can provide you with a review and report of your income statements, profit & loss statements, and your balance sheet.
Before we go, I want you to grab the show notes for the download for the FREE Strategic Planning Pre-Work Checklist. This checklist is awesome and will help you get organized so you can make the most of the time you set aside for your quarterly planning. Here’s the download: Strategic Planning Pre-Work Checklist
Strategic Planning Includes Product Development
This is my favorite part! I LOVE product development. Whether it’s creating a new freebie or opt-in, a new course, an e-book, or whether I’m adding a service, I love thinking about how I am going to best help people who need the planning, organization, and accountability skills and behaviors I have.
I mentioned in the intro, that I have core offers. Mine are my hiring plans and my strategic planning services. I know that my products, like my podcast, my courses, and my freebies, need to lead people to those services. So, once a quarter, I gather all the data. I review the questions I receive, study the questions in the groups where my ideal clients hang out, and what I’ve read in other blogs. Then, I can focus on how to best revise and refine the products I have, brainstorm new products, services, and develop new ways to deliver to clients and potential clients.
This is an opportunity to ask my email list how they’re doing and what they’re currently struggling with.
This is also a fantastic time to sit back and ask, “How are my services unique? Do my hiring packages look like everyone else’s? Is my approach to strategic planning fresh or does it look cut and paste from any other OBM or DOO’s?”
That’s it! Next week, we will talk about Visibility, Operations, and Team Growth. AND of course, you definitely want to check out last week’s episode on Mission, Vision, and Values. Without them, your strategic planning efforts will only go so far. And there’s a difference between organized chaos and strategic planning.
There’s still time to join the waitlist for my new mini-course: Ditch the Buzzwords, Craft Foundational Mission, Vision, and Values that Transform Your Business. If you sign up for the waitlist, you’ll get a sweet discount. Sign up today: MVV Waitlist
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I value your time and I’m so very grateful you spent a portion of it with me. If you think you might be ready to walk through strategically mapping your business so you can increase your visibility, reduce your stress, hire better, and grow a bigger vision, then let’s talk.
Don’t wait any longer to schedule a free call to see if Vim & Vigor is the right plan for your business. If you’re not sure where to begin, my website has a short quiz just for you. It all starts by visiting my website at vimandvigor.biz
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