How to update your strategic plan
Read time: 3 minutes
A strategic plan is extremely important for creating a strong, growing and profitable business. It’s your road map for implementing and achieving your vision. It clarifies your long‑term goals and the steps necessary to attain them over the next two to five years.
But strategic planning is not a set‑it‑and‑forget‑it exercise. Businesses need to revisit their strategy, monitor progress against milestones and adjust to changing conditions. That means your strategic plan needs to be revised and adjusted regularly.
The evaluation and review of your strategic plan is an opportunity to take a step back, assess and evaluate the state of your business and industry, and re‑align your vision, goals, priorities and action plan.
Revising your plan
With your management team, you need to decide how and when your strategic plan will be reviewed and what information you will need to do so. Your observations, along with financial and operational data, will allow you to identify areas where your strategic plan needs to be adjusted.
When reviewing your strategic plan, your management team should take the following steps:
- Ensure your company’s projects and activities are within the parameters of your vision, strategy and objectives;
- Review both internal and external factors that may require changes to your strategy or affect your ability to achieve your objectives; and
- Identify potential scenarios and develop contingency plans to help you stay on track toward reaching your goals and fulfilling your vision for the business.
When to review your strategic plan
The nature and needs of your business will determine the timing and frequency of your strategic plan review process. For example, if your market changes rapidly, you might want to review your strategic plan more than once a year to keep pace. However, regardless of the interval you decide upon, you should be disciplined and ensure it happens regularly.
Generally, a strategic plan review should also happen when you’re doing the following:
- Starting a new business
- Preparing for a new venture such as a product launch
- Facing substantial changes in your business environment (market, economy, new regulations, etc.)
How will it benefit you?
Reviewing your strategic plan regularly will help you:
- Revise/re‑align the purpose of your company and set realistic goals
- Adapt quickly to a changing environment
- Better overcome short‑term problems
- Become more forward‑thinking and visionary
- Measure your progress and find ways to improve
- Build a consensus in your company about where your organization is heading
- Increase productivity by ensuring that employees know where they're going and what's expected of them
- Capitalize on your strengths
- Overcome your weaknesses
- Take advantage of business opportunities
- Defend against threats to your organization
Strategic planning is an essential part of your work as an entrepreneur. It provides an in‑depth look at how your business operates and helps you define your vision and mission and generate a plan for achieving your goals over the mid‑ to long‑term.