Three Basic Rules of Strategic Planning

The marketplace has finally come to understand that there aren’t going to be any special bullets handed out in the near future for developing new business or building an existing one. This, in part, helps explain why so many businesses express the view that, “Things will be a little bit better in 2012 than last year.”

Many business owners have taken ownership of their company’s direction and are finding improved results by doing so. To get your strategic plan on the right path and your organization on the same strategic page, there are three basic rules that you must follow:

  1. Create a cohesive strategy that delivers the top goals you’ve established;
  2. Provide ample room and opportunity for everyone in your organization to contribute their best ideas; and
  3. Find new ways to produce an improved customer experience with your products and services.

These three basic rules will do more for your organization than a 300-page report on what’s wrong with your company and how to fix it.

The last rule is particularly important given the massive amount of new content on the Internet being posted each day that provides customers with more choices than ever. This often causes confusion for customers when trying to distinguish one product from another, which highlights a profound need that should be at the center of your strategic plan:
You need to establish a rock-solid relationship with your customers by opening up the lines of communication and promoting two-way interactions whenever and wherever possible.

Short-term sales/marketing tactics can increase the results of a strategic marketing program, but short-term success can quickly build a ‘blind spot’ when it comes to seeing your customers’ true needs.

A recent example we noted is a company that sold its products successfully because there was no real alternative to its products. However, while those successful sales were being posted, the company’s distant competitor introduced an alternative product—at a much lower price point—and overnight the successful company’s sales plummeted.

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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