Every business has certain sales and customer service initiatives that they are hoping to put into practice over the course of a period of time. Most businesses have some form of planning process that they go through each year. Some have well defined objectives and action items and others have many great ideas that remain only that…ideas. A lack of ideas is rarely the problem in designing and executing new plans. Brainstorming and team discussion amongst sales and service teams is a very important step in creating clarity and direction, however now your team must take those discussions and turn them into results…..but how?
At X5, we work with state of the art strategic planning software called Stratpad. Stratpad has enabled us to help our customers build strategic business, sales and service plans and create a roadmap for future initiatives. Two significant starting points in creating any plan, is to look at both the narrative and the numbers involved in making your plan a reality.
The narrative section of your strategic plan focuses on your company or department as a whole and describes where you are currently and where you want to go. The narrative breaks down your business and outlines its key areas including the problems your products and services solve for your customers, competitor strengths and weaknesses, the current sales or business model, existing revenue opportunities/streams, opportunities for expansion as well as your ultimate aspiration statement – the long term aspiration and direction of your business.
The numbers section of your plan outlines specific projects over the next one to eight years that will help you realize the discussion you have outlined in the narrative. Projects assist you in thinking about what you need to experience success, when you expect each key activity to start, when you feel it should end and who is responsible for achieving it. Key dates and financial considerations including balances, required loans, current assets and equity investments are all included in this section and direct the viability of your decision making.