Episode 12 Show Notes

It’s the Perfect Time to Work ON Your Business.
It’s Time to Create Your Strategic Plan

A CEO’s job is not only to work in the business, but to work ON it too! A huge part of business growth is actually working on the strategies and tactics to make the magic happen for you and your company and that is why you should take your time to properly create a strategic plan that supports your vision as a business owner.

Today, Pam talks about the difference between strategy and planning, and how these two are combined to create a strategic plan that helps your business grow. Jane shares the fundamentals of strategies and tactics so you never get them mixed up again and tell you how to make sure your vision is aligned with your actions.

In today’s episode we discuss:

  • [01:28] What is strategic planning. A concept that combines both strategy and planning for success.
  • [08:01] How does a strategy become a tactic. Tactics and strategy are not the same, and knowing this can be the difference for how you’ll move towards success.
  • [09:52] The importance of understanding the interconnection of vision, strategy, and tactics. (We also have an episode dedicated to this particular topic. The link is down below!)
  • [09:24] How to create a strategic plan. A 9-step guide to making a great strategic plan. (Find the downloadable guide in the resources)
  • [15:41] Tips on how to follow your strategic plan and keep yourself stress-free in the process.
  • [19:38] How to know your strategy and tactics are aligned with your vision?

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • A downloadable guide on how to create a strategic plan, step by step:

Keap’s Strategic Plan Kit

  • Our SWAT template so you can do your own analysis and start drafting your plan. Fill the form and get it!

Thank you for listening to this episode of Flourish and Grow to CEO!

In this episode, we decided to focus on strategic planning but we also have episodes dedicated to Vision, Strategy, and Tactics as a business foundational pillar and to how to create your vision statement. You can check them out on our Podcast section or click on the links down below:

Ep. 4: Hard Work Is Not Enough. Check Your Inner Game and Vision

Ep. 11: Have You Articulated Your Hopes And Dreams for Your Business? Creating Your Vision Statement

We hope you’ve gotten some useful insights on strategic planning and so you are able to create your own. Please share it with us on social media if you do, we would love to see it!

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Pam Ivey (00:00): You’re listening to the Flourish & Grow to CEO Podcast. This is episode 12.

Pam Ivey (00:26): Are you a lady boss $50,000-$100,000 in your business and you’re ready to break through that 6-figure barrier?

Jane Garee (00:34): Have you done a great job of creating a nice life as the ultimate gig master, but know your inner CEO is calling you to greater heights? You’re in the right place if you want to create and implement solid fundamentals in your business – without sacrificing fun.

Pam Ivey (00:48): I’m Pam Ivey, I’m certified in small business management and I concentrate in the areas of training and certifying real estate assistance, coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs in online business, marketing, growth and profit acceleration, and I take men and women business owners aged 40 plus two bucket list destinations around the world for a month at a time to work, explore, and live in community.

Jane Garee (01:14): And I’m Jane Garee, known as the sales strategist for the non-salesperson, and I work with business owners who want to increase their conversion rate, shorten their sales cycle and have more impact and influence with the work they do all while having more fun with selling.

Pam Ivey (01:27): Hello and welcome back to the Flourish & Grow to CEO Podcast. We’re so excited that you’ve joined us today. We’re going to be talking about strategic planning, something so many entrepreneurs don’t actually take the time to do. They don’t step away from their business and the day-to-day activities and concerns, and really strategically plan out, especially their upcoming year. I mean, right around this time of year is the buzzword planning. So let’s jump right in. I want to let you know that strategy is actually distinct from planning while strategy looks at why certain steps should be taken a plan outlines, how to enact these steps. So strategic planning marries the two, these two concepts and it’s to determine the best possible course of action. So a strategic plan is a written document that details the direction of your business. It establishes its goals and explains how to achieve those goals.

Pam Ivey (02:40): In other words, a strategic plan is a guide to make your business grow. That’s what we’re all about here on this podcast. So strategic planning is like creating a map. There’s a destination which are the objectives and goals for your company. You can also see the best route to get there, or the steps your company must take to assure its success. Many small business owners, lack of strategic plan for their business. Typically for one of two reasons, either because they think strategic planning is only for big companies or because they simply haven’t made it a priority in the face of more urgent day-to-day concerns. But without a strategy, a business lacks the direction it needs to be successful. If you want to work smarter rather than harder and grow with purpose, strategic planning is the way to go. When you find yourself in growth mode, you need to ensure that you don’t waste resources, pursuing opportunities that aren’t in alignment with your long-term objectives. You know, those shiny objects as strategic plan can provide the blueprint. You need to stay on track to achieve your goals in a changing marketplace, strategic planning for a small business doesn’t need to be as time consuming or detailed as playing for a large company, but your plan does need to identify what you want to accomplish and how you attend or intend to achieve your goals. So, Jay and I know that you had a couple of definitions that you wanted to share with us to make it even more clear.

Jane Garee (04:16): Absolutely. Because so many people get tangled up between the difference of a strategy versus a tactic. So when in doubt, I always like to go to Webster’s in the official dictionary definition, I just find that it brings a certain sense of clarity. So here we go, strategy by definition is a plan method, or series of maneuvers for obtaining a specific goal or result. So I’m going to say that again, strategy is a plan method, or series of maneuvers for obtaining a specific goal or result. Now here’s the definition of tactic. A tactic is a maneuver or a procedure, the maneuvers themselves for producing a result, producing a result. There’s such a tiny difference between a strategy and a tactic, but what most people tend to default to doing are they tend to default to doing a bunch of tactics and think it’s a strategy. So let me give you an example.

Jane Garee (05:22): Can I give an example of this? (Pam) Oh, please do. So I have recently hired a new personal trainer. She’s kicking my booty. She’s amazing. She’s awesome. I love her. Now when I go to work out with her, what she is actually having me do is a series of tactics. So this would be the walking. This would be weightlifting. This would be yesterday. She had me on those bungee cord kind of things. So whatever I am doing with her, those are tactics. The strategy is for me to release some weight, to get healthier and to build stamina. That’s the strategy. So the tactics that she’s taking me through are for the purposes of achieving the strategy, but the strategy is not what we’re doing. The strategy is more the overall picture of what it is that we’re trying to accomplish. The tactics are the specific maneuvers that she has me doing.

Jane Garee (06:19): So what happens for most people in business is they look at the tactics and think it’s a strategy. Let me give you a concrete example on that. Some people will say, well, my strategy is, uh, getting on Facebook and building the Facebook group and doing content marketing and doing a podcast. And, and, and, and those are really all tactics. It’s so easy to get tangled up in doing a bunch of tactics that produce no results because you never fully fleshed out a strategy. So just to dive a little bit deeper into this for a minute, I have clients who cannot stand being on social media, their ideal clients, their ideal clients are not on social media. And yet they’re building Facebook groups. They’re doing content marketing on social media. Why? Because they read some sales page somewhere that was really compelling. And they attended some masterclass or webinar where they all hopped up on the benefits of being on social media and how it can create real results for your business.

Jane Garee (07:20): This is true unless you aren’t fully steeped up in your strategy, which is I need to get the most clients I can as quickly and easily as possible. So I can serve more people that is your strategy. And if that is the strategy and you don’t want to be on social media and your clients, aren’t on social media, then you have a really bad tactic. If you’re going to try and go with social media. So one of the best things you can do with yourself is really understand and identify there is a subtle difference, but a profound difference between the tactics, which is what you’re actually doing, the literal maneuvers versus your strategy, which is your overall plan for the end result that you’re trying to get

Pam Ivey (08:01): Perfect for me, that was really helpful because it can get so jumbled. But if we think about, we talked about the overall kind of way to grow your business, I know that wasn’t so eloquently said, but in previous podcasts, we keep mentioning there’s your vision, the strategy, the tactics implementation and measurement. The vision is your overall goals for the company, the strategy there, more bite sized goals to moving yourself towards the vision. So their goals, and then your tactics are the actual things that you’re going to do to reach those strategic goals, which again, support your vision. Was that clear, Jane?

Jane Garee (08:48): Absolutely. So if you take it to walk down and it says, write this down and put it somewhere top down in order vision pumps first, underneath that, as the strategy underneath the word strategy is the word tactics. So let me say it again, write down the word vision underneath vision, right? Strategy underneath strategy, right? Tactics. That’s taught down how you want to approach your business now for implementation and for comprehension. Let’s start at the bottom and go back up. So your tactics should support your strategy and your strategy should support your vision. That’s how you always want to think about this.

Pam Ivey (09:25): We should include some sort of visual with our show notes so that people really see the order in which it goes. So I’m going to create something for that. We’ll include it with the show notes. That is awesome. I love it. Okay. I think that is way clearer than mud. I actually think that makes a lot of sense for everyone. So if you want to get into the nitty-gritty that we want to go there, Jane, of actually how to create your strategic plan.

Jane Garee (09:54): Sure. Let’s do it.

Pam Ivey (09:56): All right. So there’s kind of nine steps that you need to do. So it’s not something you know, that you kind of complete in a half an hour. You need a little bit of time to do this, but I’m telling you, it’s so important for you to take the time out of your business in order to work on it, you know, away from your client work and the busy work to really strategically think about how you’re going to attain your vision. The first step is to eliminate distractions, really do this. It’s often pushed aside the strategic planning by more immediate pressing daily business. As I said, working with our clients, putting out fires, catching up on bookkeeping and so on, but we really want to make sure that the planning process receives the attention it deserves. So I really recommend, and you know, in these days of COVID, we can’t really do it, but I would normally say, get away from your office, but maybe set yourself up in a different part of your home, because most of our listeners work from a home office, get away from the distractions.

Pam Ivey (11:09): The number two step is to involve your team members if you have them. So your strategic plan will be stronger if includes multiple points of view, and it involves your team members early on, encourage open and free discussion during the planning process and make sure all your key people are on board with the final result. If you’re the only key person, cool, make sure you’re really present for this. The next step is to really know who you are, your company’s mission, vision and values will set the direction for your strategic plan. And in a previous episode, I think it was actually the last episode. We made a list and included it with the show of your values. So if that can help you, you want to clearly articulate why your business exists as a business, what you ultimately want to be known for and your core beliefs and your guiding principles.

Pam Ivey (12:08): Think your values. The fourth step is to understand your current situation. So in order to know how to get to where you want to go, you need to understand your starting point. And that’s where a SWAT analysis comes in. This is where you examine your strengths, your weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It’s a really good exercise to help you clarify your current situation and the internal and external factors that will likely be a help or a hinder to you as you pursue your goals. And again, with our show notes, we’re going to include an example, SWAT document, as well as a template that you can use to create your own SWOT analysis. The fifth step is setting both long and short-term goals. So you want to identify longer term strategic objectives, and that’s like three or five years. That’s a typical timeframe. You can even go as far as 10 years, and then the shorter term goals, what you aim to accomplish in the next year or so these goals might relate to launching new products or services, getting new customers, expanding into new markets, increasing profitability, raising your company’s visibility or anything else that’s important to your business.

Pam Ivey (13:29): Your goal should be ambitious enough to be challenging and inspiring, but not so unrealistic that they’re just unattainable. The sixth step is to create a plan to achieve your goals. Once you’ve defined your goals, outlined the tactics that you’ll use to achieve them. You’ll also need to identify the resources required to implement the strategy such as any team members that you may have your vendors, equipment, software, and so on, along with the costs involved and the impact on revenues. So the next step is to focus on execution, a well-crafted plan that ends up filed away somewhere. Doesn’t do us very good. Does it? So your strategic plan has got to include an action plan with milestones, specific tasks, responsibilities, and timelines. And of course, with our milestones and our tasks and our timelines, we want to measure on a regular basis. And this is where the power comes in.

Pam Ivey (14:32): When you measure on a regular basis. I mean, every month, even every couple of weeks, if you’re ever veering off course, you can like really quickly course, correct. So you want to keep track by evaluating your metrics against your and your ultimate goals. And finally, you have to keep in mind that you have to keep the plan flexible. Don’t become so married to the details of your plan, that you’re unable to respond to changing market conditions. Nimbleness is one of the key advantages of small businesses against larger companies. So be ready to adjust your strategy and pursue new opportunities as long as they are a good fit with your long-term objectives. So always keep those long-term objectives or your goals in mind before you think, Oh my God, wouldn’t this be a cool program, really? Check it out against your vision and your strategy. Those are the nine steps in creating a strategic plan. And again, we’ll include these steps in the show notes to make it easier.

Jane Garee (15:41): That’s great, Pam. It is amazing how easy it is to get tangled up with all of this. And I’m a fanatical planner. I really love nothing more than planning and color-coding my planners and my pens and my calendars and everything. And I will tell you, it’s still a real challenge to be able to have some fluidity between moving between the strategy and the tactics and to stay very clear on, Hey, am I working on a strategy? Is this my strategy right now? Or have I confused it? And I’m just blowing through tactics without that clearer strategy and vision in place.

Pam Ivey (16:17): Yeah. You know, talking about tactics last year in particular, I didn’t do my strategic plan like ordinarily do. And I was honestly jumping from tactic to tactic to tactic. And I found as we kind of preach, it’s really hard to gain traction that way. If you’re not working toward a goal and you’re just jumping in with tactic after tactic that, you know, really doesn’t tie in, you’re not doing a whole lot of good and you’re not getting, you’re not going to get very far with all of that effort. Oh my God. I was so frustrated last year. This year, I’m working on my strategic plan and I’m really mapping out the tactics I need to take to really meet the strategy, which is really supporting my overall vision.

Jane Garee (17:07): Yeah. Long-term vision. Yeah. You always have to keep that long-term vision in mind. So that’s, again, that vision is the first word, the word underneath that as strategy, the word underneath that as tactics. And if you feel like things are going sideways, go back to the vision. A lot of times it’s just the vision is unclear or you’ve confused yourself on what the vision is. And then for the strategy and the tactics, the key word I always think of in regards to those two. And if they’re working is alignment, because if your topics aren’t in alignment with your strategy and your strategy, isn’t in alignment with your vision, then all bets are off. You’re actually creating something. You, you may be, you probably are creating something you don’t want, you don’t need. Don’t like you don’t enjoy. And often what comes with that in is you’re creating something that’s really not that effective.

Pam Ivey (17:55): Yeah, absolutely. And you just feel like you’re going to pull your hair out. I’m telling you that it’ll make it great.

Pam Ivey (18:07): Really keep mindful. If you find yourself jumping from trying this out to build your list, as an example, to build your list, I’m going to jump on to social media. I’m going to start a Facebook group. I’m going to go over to LinkedIn and talk to a couple of people and try this. I’m going to go over to Instagram and direct message. Some people, if you find yourself like really scattered, really take a look at your strategy. Is it in line with the goals that you’ve set out in that strategy and make yourself a lot saner.

Pam Ivey (18:39): So whatever the size of your company and whatever your industry, a strategic plan can provide direction to guide your decisions. As you grow, keeping you on course to achieve your long-term objectives and ensuring that your business always operates in a way that’s consistent with your company’s mission, vision, and values and keep in mind. Well, strategic plans are important management guides. They aren’t written in stone as a marketplace changes, go back and take a look at your plan. You may realize that it needs adjustment from time to time. If you want to take your business to the next level, which is what we want to do with flourish and grow to CEO, strategic planning is it really is vital. It’s an important component to grow your business. And if you create and follow a strategic plan, you’re working on your business and that’s what a CEO does.

Jane Garee (19:38): Yeah. That all important working on your business and not just in it. Okay. So we’ve talked a lot about understanding the subtle, yet profound difference between a strategy and a tactic. So here are four points of what you can expect when you’re really clear on your strategy and then implement the tactics that will support that. So this is all about understanding your strategy, embracing your strategy, and really having a deep comprehension of what your strategy is and what it means to your business. So point number one, you will require less tactics. Whew, can I, can I get, uh, so when you fully embrace your strategy, you will require less tactics. So point number two, this means you’re going to stay out of overwhelm. Won’t have to do as many tactics. Number three, you are going to be more focused, which means you’re going to have more time to do what you’re in business to do.

Jane Garee (20:37): You do not have to be a full-time sales and marketing person, unless your business is sales and marketing. You do have to be sales and marketing. You do have to Adele, and you’re going to have to market. You’re have to client generate. However, when you fully embrace your strategy, we’ll be more focused on what your sales and marketing tactics are, which will give you more time back in your calendar, more time to do more of what you actually love, which is the reason that you have the business you’re baking cookies, your a life coach, whatever it is, you will have more time to do those actual things. And then finally, point number four, you’re going to have a lot more fun when you’re working that strategy with tactics that are in alignment and that are appropriate, you will have far more fun than just slinging around a bunch of tactics and hoping they’re all going to work.

Pam Ivey (21:22): I like the fun part. Absolutely. We need to have fun in our business because we’re out there day to day. We’re at our business more than we’re with the people we love almost so great job, Jane. I think that’s wraps it up for strategy and strategic planning today. Well, that’s a wrap everyone.

Thanks for joining us this week on the Flourish & Grow to CEO Podcast. Be sure to visit our website at flourish dot biz. That’s F L O U R I S h.biz, where you can subscribe to the shows in iTunes, Stitcher, or via RSS so you never miss an episode. You can also find our show notes and resources there too. And while you’re at it, if you found value in this show, we’d love for you to leave a rating on iTunes. Or if you’d simply tell a friend about the show that would sure help us out too. Now, get out there and flourish!

About Flourish + Grow to CEO

What does it take to build a successful business? That’s the question we want to answer for women business owners, so we can flourish and grow together from solopreneur to strategic CEO. Flourish and Grow to CEO is hosted by small business management certified, Pam Ivey and sales strategist, Jane Garee, who share their experiences in business ownership, sales and marketing to help women entrepreneurs scale their business and flourish confidently into the CEO role.

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