How You Know if You Have a Strong Strategic Plan

We’re often asked by CEOs, “How do I know if my company has a strong strategic plan?” Followed by, “If my company doesn’t have an effective strategy, how the heck do we go about getting one?”

In the world of strategic market planning there are hundreds of theories, but, luckily, there are a few tools you can use to check your strategic plan quickly. We’ve included here a handy set of references that will help you benchmark your strategic program and also highlighted a “before and after” case study of a middle-market business-to-business company.

Moving from best efforts to best practices

Typically, company strategic plans rely upon the best instincts and efforts of the leadership team. This process could be termed an “in strategy.” Gut instincts are often employed to determine an organization’s most important decisions. If executives guess right, all is well. But if they guess wrong, disaster can result.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are three best practices that will help guide your company to success:

Best Practice #1: Make sure your leadership team is fully aligned on what the company’s top-three strategic initiatives are, and working as a cohesive group on achieving them.

Best practice #2: Make sure everyone in your company understands your value proposition and can state it in a simple sentence or two. An example might be, “Our company invented the XYZ product that can save your company up to 50 percent on your energy costs during the first year.”

Best Practice #3: Ensure your company has an objective brand asset valuation. This means you know what your brand’s strengths and weaknesses are against your top competitors. We are not talking about your logo or website. Those are not your brand. Rather, your brand is how others think about your company as a distinctive organization and its association with what they need.

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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