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Developing a strong strategic plan is a vital component to the success of a business. If developed correctly, a strategic plan is a document, or series of documents that clearly define the goals, direction, and action points towards a profitable business. Strategic planning allows managers to take a step back and look at the company as a whole to determine where they are, where they want to go, and most importantly, how they will get there. Here are a few things to incorporate when creating a strategic plan.

Begin with your vision and mission statement.

Possibly the two most important aspects of a business and more specifically, a strategic plan, are the vision and mission statements. A mission statement is crucial because it defines who you are as a company. It lets your customers know what you do, how you do it, and who you do it for. A mission motivates your employees and provides them with value to their work. Focusing on your mission statement goes hand in hand with reaching your vision statement. Both aspirational and inspirational, a vision statement offers a clear projection of your business goals. It provides a direction and purpose behind the work you do and where you are headed.

Next, determine your core values.

What words describe your core values best? Establishing your core values will help you stay on track to follow through with your vision and mission statements. They should express the beliefs and behaviors of an organization and its employees. The core values of a business fall heavy in line with how you act to reach your goals and are crucial for maintaining a positive reputation among those both outside and inside of the business.

From there, complete a SWOT analysis.

It’s best to prepare for several different outcomes when creating a strategic plan, and a SWOT analysis can help you do just that. By evaluating your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, a business can determine key areas of which to focus. The analysis provides an in-depth overview of the business internally and should be done periodically to strengthen overall productivity.

Finally, determine your financial needs and set short-term and long-term goals.

To finalize your strategic plan review your organizational structure and budget. It is critical to determine if your budget allows for the actions you will take within your strategic plan because if not, adjustments will need to be made. Once your financing needs are met, set short-term and long-term goals that are specific and measurable that will carry out your vision statement and will ultimately lead to success.