It’s that time of year again... The smell of printer ink and anxiety pepper the air. People put on their game faces and psych themselves up to go head-to-head with the competition.
Nope, we're not talking about your fantasy football season. We're talking about annual strategic planning.
That’s right. At the beginning of each fiscal year, businesses often make an important decision about their go-to-market plan. Will they grow? Maintain their position? Or lose ground to competitors?
If you’re in the “let’s grow!" camp, then you are probably starting to consider how to achieve your goals for next year. And growth doesn't happen by simply updating your business plan. It’s about identifying and prioritizing new initiatives. It’s about dreaming a little. Maybe a lot.
At Vennli, we know that today’s businesses can't only depend on their annual strategic planning to provide company direction for the entire year. Disruptions and shifts in the marketplace can happen at a moment's notice. In order to keep up with an ever-changing competitive market, strategic decisions need to be made quickly throughout the year.
Nonetheless, many companies continue to undergo some sort of annual planning cycle that often corresponds with their budget cycle. One advantage of annual planning is that it’s an opportunity to rejuvenate organizational strategy, refresh leadership perspectives, align team objectives, challenge the status quo, and redirect course if needed. It’s an opportunity to consider growth opportunities that are aligned with the organization’s mission and determine priorities for the foreseeable future.
For example, the 2021 KPMG CEO Outlook Study revealed that chief executives were not simply focused on getting back to “business as usual" post-pandemic, but instead ready to take a fresh look at their business—reevaluating their overall mission and goals in the process. This not only included plans for digital acceleration and increased supply chain resilience, but also a deeper focus on employee satisfaction and well-being in order to increase retention of their most valued employees.
To tackle big objectives such as these, leaders need data to make confident decisions. Without data, only anecdotal evidence is available, and no one wants to make decisions about the future of their business based on one-off examples and gut feelings.
Strategic planning requires data about the current state of your company:
- Business and Competition: What’s going on in the market? What are competitors doing? How do we benchmark against others in our industry?
- Company Performance: How did we perform to goal last year? What went well? What could have gone better? Look at a complete picture of financial, quality, and operational metrics.
- Value of Offerings: What pain points or problems do we solve for customers? Why do they choose us? What is our competitive advantage and how are we differentiated from competitors? What could we do better?
Strategic planning also requires insights about the future possibilities:
- Market: Are there any industry trends that could impact business? Are there trends outside of the market that could impact business? New entrants or competitors? New regulations to prepare for?
- Opportunities: What unmet customer needs exist that could represent opportunities for innovation? Are there opportunities to neutralize or mitigate a competitor’s strength? Are there opportunities to further differentiate the value of our offering? Are there unique opportunities within certain customer segments?
When teams come to planning sessions with the answers to these questions using real-time, customer-driven insights, you now have a data-backed strategy and can focus on building your growth plan:
- Direction and Strategy: What are you opportunities for growth? What is your growth goal? How will you reach that goal? What will success look like?
- Organizational Readiness: What processes, systems, and talent do we have or need to drive growth? What resources do we have or need?
Are you ready to grow your business? Vennli can help you quickly gather the data and insights you need.