Strategic Planning starts with the end in mind
It is a disciplined, yet agile action plan carried out by management that includes collecting data and using that data to make informed choices that will strengthen business operations. It helps you identify your core values, the vision you want to ensue, where you can make a difference, and what you will have to do to succeed at it. It allows you to then observe which of those desired values are currently in practice, and which need to be modified or restated so that they align with your vision.
Although the process of clarifying and executing your strategic intent may be a systems approach, it is also about applying your intuition and creative brain to finding new directions and growth opportunities for your company. Effective organizational leadership has always demanded that we listen, learn and adapt well to change, but today, new technologies and global pressures have increased in scale and at such speed, that we are forced to be more nimble-minded than ever. We can never again live our business lives assuming that tomorrow will be the same as it was today.
Your goal is to complete a new strategic plan each year and update it monthly, or whenever you have new data to input. There are many different directions you can take to reach your desired destination, but remember that our changing business climate will undoubtedly shift your pathway, numerous times. As a leader, you must become experimental and agile, conscientiously listening and hearing with ever-increasing frequency.
Our Unpredictable World makes Normalcy an Illusion
We have to be prepared to abandon long-held assumption of what's normal and learn a more dynamic, adaptive approach to business success. This is a manager's primary objective and possibly the most important thing you'll have to learn. Your responsibility is not to work 'in' the business; it's to work 'on' the business. Unless there is absolutely no other possible alternative, you should not be working behind the reception desk, conducting a service in the treatment room, or stocking inventory. You must be a leader with presence, yes, and being a hands on manager is admirable, but these two soft skills must be carefully balanced with your demanding hard skills. That means ensuring your strategic plans are in place, moving diligently and methodically towards your goals.
Make it a Living Document
It's also important to consider that any plan that goes into a drawer, is useless. Strive to make it a living document with 'capable' results, and keep it in front of your staff! Don't be afraid of anyone on your team challenging conventional wisdom. Saddling a business with archaic business strategies and unworkable plans is a death sentence. A functioning strategic plan is fluid, and even 'tentative' in some respects, because of the need for regular testing, validation and proof that you are still on the right track.
10 Steps to Clarifying your Strategic Intent
Your Strategic Plan doesn't have to be a 100 page dissertation, but it does require that you dissect pertinent data so that you can articulate your vision. Here is a basic outline of the contents you may want to consider including, as you turn your vision into a plan.
Every single one of these steps is covered in detail, in our New Edition Online Spa Management Course of Study, coming soon.
1. Management/Executive Summary- A summary of who is in charge, grounds the plan and assigns accountability
2. SWOT Analysis(Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). This will reveal your best directions for growth
3. Industry Analysis- Know what the industry is doing now, including current growth stats and growth opportunities
4. Competitive Analysis- Know your current competitive advantages to find ways to develop even greater advantages
5. Target your customers- Identify your best prospect's wants and needs so you can achieve your best ROI on all initiatives
6. Marketing Plan- Define how you will attract new prospects and most importantly, convert them into paying customers
7. Financial Projections- Forecast how many new customers you'll need to generate the revenue needed to achieve your goals
8. Compile data and evaluate results- Current and historical data collection, coupled with studying and recognizing patterns, will provide you with good coverage of the facts
9. Identify your goals- First identify your longer-term, 5 year future goals. Then set the short-term, 1 year goals that will enable you to meet them. Continue to work on this 'backwards' pathway to ensure you stay on target. This methodology allows you to adapt your plan as you observe changes in the business environment
10. Make your Statement- Turn your values and visions into goal statements. Ensure you and your employees know your 'elevator pitch' and aren't afraid to use it!
10 Steps to Organizing the Structure of your Plan
This is assigning specific strategies and tactics to your plan of action
1. Map out your initiatives- When will each project start and who will lead the charge?
2. Identify the ground rules and policies- To stay on track these will need to be in writing and re-stated verbally on a regular basis
3. Develop approval processes - Although management/executives ground the plan and hold accountability, you may assign tiers of responsibility for approvals
4. Set Indicators: Decide which KPIs will be tracked to best monitor the success of the plan ongoing
5. Determine major and minor players involved- Identify the types of people and professionals you'll need to have onboard, or bring onboard, to achieve your goals
6. Identify your allies- Decide how they can/will participate. Building a network of support staff and allies to help carry your organization is a key part of your strategic plan
7. Define resources needed- Both human and financial. Processes need to be performed by capable humans, which requires budgeting
8. Information handling - Decide on how information will be collected, compiled, tallied and analyzed
9. Establish evaluation processes- Including KPIs, milestones and employee performance
10. Understand negative implications - Consider consequences of failure and even the need for a Plan B.
Watch for our upcoming, much anticipated Spa Management educational announcement.
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