Developing A Business Strategic Plan – Winston Rowe and Associates

A strategic plan is a roadmap to grow your business.

 

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary is important since it will help other key constituents, such as employees, advisors, and investors, quickly understand and support your plan.

Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a brief description of your business. Your elevator pitch is included in your strategic plan since it’s key to your business’ success, and often times should be updated annually.

Company Mission Statement

Your company mission statement explains what your business is trying to achieve.

Goals

They key is to first identify your 5 year or long-term goals. Next, identify your one-year goals; that is, what you must achieve in the next year for it to be successful and to put your company on the right trajectory to achieving your 5-year goals.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Great businesses understand their metrics and KPIs. By tracking your KPIs, you know exactly how your business is performing and can adjust as needed.

Target Customers

In this section of your strategic plan, you will identify the wants and needs of each of your target customer groups. This is important in focusing your marketing efforts and getting a higher return on investment on your advertising expenditures. This is because the more you can “speak” directly to your target customer wants and needs in your marketing, the better you will attract them.

Industry Analysis

Your industry analysis doesn’t have to be a comprehensive report on what’s going on in your market. However, you should conduct an analysis to ensure the market size is growing (if not, you might want to diversify), and to help identify new opportunities for growth.

Competitive Analysis & Advantage

Similarly, to your industry analysis, your competitive analysis doesn’t have to be a thorough report listing every detail about every competitor. Rather, in addition to defining who your key competitors are, you should list their strengths & weaknesses.

Most importantly, use this analysis to determine your current competitive advantages and ways to develop additional advantages.

Marketing Plan

In addition to your strategic plan, I recommend you develop a comprehensive marketing plan describing how you will attract prospects, convert them to paying customers and maximize your lifetime customer value.

Include a summary of your marketing plan in your strategic plan.

Operations Plan

Your operations plan helps you transform your goals and opportunities into reality. In this section of your plan, you will identify each of the individual projects that comprise your larger goals and how these projects will be completed.

Financial Projections

The final section of your strategic plan is your financial projections. Your financial projections help in multiple ways. First, you can use a financial model to assess the potential results for each opportunity you consider pursuing.

You should develop your complete strategic plan each year, and then update it monthly as actual results come in and you gain more clarity and intelligence. While you will rarely achieve the precise goals established in your strategic plan, scores of research show that you’ll come much closer to them versus if you didn’t plan at all. So, develop your strategic plan today, and achieve the goals you desire.

 

Why on-the-job training is becoming the new college degree

Why on-the-job training is becoming the new college degree

Apprenticeships, once considered an “old-fashioned” training pathway limited to very specific trades, are gaining ground today as a highly effective and efficient route to a rewarding career.

According to a recent survey, 62 percent of Americans believe apprenticeships and other on-the-job training programs make workers more employable than a college degree.

About seven in 10 U.S. adults say learning a specific trade is better for finding a job than a bachelor’s degree (68 percent) and that college degrees aren’t worth as much as they used to be (69 percent).

A majority disagree that completing an apprenticeship will limit one’s future employment options (71 percent) and that earn-while-learning programs generally lead to a lower salary than occupations requiring a college degree (60 percent).

Today, the apprenticeship model is expanding to include a much wider range of career pathways.

Structured coaching relationships and mentor-ships in many corporate businesses embody the spirit of apprenticeship: an experienced worker passing on his or her knowledge, skills, and expertise to a worker new to the field.

What apprenticeships bring to workers—and companies

Most people would prefer to learn by actively doing something rather than by passively hearing it. (This is one shortcoming of the current learning model prevalent in America’s college culture, where 75-minute lectures and copious note-taking are often the order of the day.)

Today’s younger generations, whom I call the Why Generation due to their innately inquisitive nature, live for experiences.

To them, experience is everything. A learning-by-doing model plays to this strength and can engage Generations Y and Z at a much deeper level than lecture-driven methods.

Learning by doing isn’t a new concept. A quote sometimes attributed to Benjamin Franklin (himself once an apprentice to his brother in the printing trade) says: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

According to educator Edgar Dale, over a two-week period we remember only:

10 percent of what we read,

20 percent of what we hear,

30 percent of what we see,

50 percent of what we hear and see,

70 percent of what we say and write, and

90 percent of what we actually participate in.

Workers who don’t just learn, but actually experience their field will be infinitely better equipped to succeed in the work they’ve chosen. They will also benefit by completing their training at a fraction of the cost of many other post secondary training pathways.

Businesses that invest in apprenticeship training programs stand to reap the incalculable advantage of a carefully trained, skilled workforce that can deliver exactly what their ever-evolving market requires.

Apprenticeships also give firms the opportunity to start building a foundation of employee trust and loyalty in a world where 43 percent of millennial and 61 percent of Gen Z workers plan to leave their jobs within two years.

Making apprenticeship a path to the future

While recent survey results are encouraging, there is still much work to be done in high school guidance offices, in public awareness, and in legislative action to promote apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are for anyone who wants to learn by doing, avoid significant educational debt, and get started in a rewarding, high-demand career. And with an increasing number of companies joining the apprenticeship movement, this once-old-fashioned training pathway is fast becoming a route to the future.