In the ocean of startups there are various factors determining their rise and fall: attitude, timing, background, or product to name a few. But the one factor that can truly prepare you for the storm is: A Strategic Plan.
Optimism is a necessary quality to have, but how you use that optimism will determine whether it becomes an asset or a liability. Thinking that you want to be the best or the most utilized is valid, every startup needs a mission that can motivate and propel them forward. But the question is: how do you get where you want to be?
This is where a strategic plan is paramount, because this sits you down and encourages you to ask yourself the tough questions, such as: what specifically is the mission? If the mission is part of the 10-year plan, what is the goal within the 3-year plan? How do I breakdown that plan into mid-tier goals and more immediate scenarios? What must be done to execute the plan?
The purpose of asking yourself all these questions is to instil a high degree of specificity into your plan. Instead of working under broad-strokes and just going with the flow, this exercise focuses your efforts and energy into the what can be immediately achieved. And so you can have control of the flow of progress.
Being as specific as possible opens your eyes to a wide variety of crucial factors. It helps you define your objectives and your strengths as a company, evaluates your place in the market and your competitive advantages, while also identifying who are your possible competitors. It encourages an assessment of your resources and how they should be optimized, and it can prepare you for potential opportunities and risks.
A strategic plan creates focus and it is this focus that reveals not just the priorities, but also the pathways that you must take in order to achieve your goals.
Charting out all the necessary steps and distributing the tasks among the team are only part of the course. Once the plan goes into effect, it is crucial to establish an environment of accountability with timelines, milestones, and reporting of procedures where you’re meeting regularly with your team discussing goals and progress, as well as any roadblocks.
Always circle back to the strategic plan in place, but give yourself the opportunity to stop and reflect. Assessing progress and connecting with the team in open way can inform the planning of what comes next and determine if any adjustments need to be made. Because even though you may have accounted for most possible scenarios in your planning, the unpredictable may still occur.
Having a detailed, thought-out and grounded strategic plan is one of the prime factors that will determine your pathway to success. A strategic plan can increase confidence in your mission, focus your effort on the tasks and practices that matter, while also preparing you to weather even the unpredictable. When the storm hits not only can you survive it, but you can rise above it.