The right (and wrong) way to do strategic planning

Written on Nov 16, 2017

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

Your business has a strategic plan that’s likely been pored over countless times, but those well-intentioned efforts might still be missing the mark.

Meredith“If you don’t have a plan to build a sustainable competitive advantage, then you don’t have strategies, you have goals,” said Greg Meredith, business advisory practice leader for Brixey & Meyer, Inc.

Meredith presented “Strategic Planning: What does it really mean?” Nov. 10 at OSCPA’s Columbus Accounting Show. He covered the difference between strategies and strategic planning and ways to improve the planning process.

It is a mistake, he said, to view strategic planning as operations planning, goal setting or budgeting. And a list of goals your organization wants to achieve in the next 3-5 years does not count as a strategy.

The key to creating an advantage is identifying what will consistently produce more sales and higher margins over time, things every business is looking to achieve.

“To create compelling strategies, you need to do analysis and a deep dive of your market in the business,” Meredith said. “Then the second piece is to really align what you believe before you create your strategy.”

Team members might have different opinions on what their most valuable business asset is and not even realize it, he said. It’s not always the product – it could be a passionate customer base or an unbeatable location. That’s why discussions need to happen to keep the team on the same page; without them, the strategy will be disjointed.

After that, it’s all about follow-through.

“The focus on execution is really important,” Meredith said.

Too often businesses expend time and energy to create a strategic plan that ends up on a shelf gathering dust. For the plan to work, organizations must be intentional about committing to the plan and holding the team accountable.

The Columbus Accounting Show is over, but we have more CPE opportunities for you!

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