When it comes to your business, you’re probably planning a lot of different things – your next marketing move, your newest product, or making an acquistion. But not many businesses spend time planning out how to achieve goals.
In fact, a lot of people leave this critical step out during their visions.
After all, when most people hear terms like “strategic planning” or “tactical goals,” they don’t exactly jump with excitement. But if you understand both – and the differences between each one – you’ll have a clear understanding of why they’re so important to your business and your vision.
When it comes to strategy in the business world, it refers to the thinking process involved with planning to make a change, take some action or organizing a process.
Strategy offers a clear definition of future goals and why you should aim to achieve them.
During the strategy planning phase, you’re figuring out why and what you will achieve in these goals. As a business owner or upper management chief, you’ll be leading the way toward what your values and philosophy will be, and how each person involved in your operation should act.
Your high-level strategic goals will be specific to certain elements, including time, any competitors and the current condition of the market. It should also answer one key question:
How do we achieve our vision in the current market, regulatory and competitive environment?
Once you answer this question – and consider all other factors – you’ll be able to determine which market segments you should pursue, as well as which relationships and customers. You’ll also be able to organize your structure and priorities better.
So where do tactical goals come into play?
This is the part of the plan that involves some serious thought and planning. Tactics are the movements, changes, and actions you make to implement your strategy.
They consist of everything that needs to be done, in what specific order, and by who and with what tools or resources.
A model that is often successful is using S.M.A.R.T. Goals:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
There may be several tactics involving different people and departments – yet the goal is the same. To help you reach your objectives, you may even decide to bring suppliers aboard. Either way, with your tactical goals in mind, you’ll need the involvement of your entire organization.
Tactical goals should be focused on a quarterly basis with current resources and market structures part of the evaluation of their ability to be accomplished.
Turning Goals Into Actions
One approach to creating tactics from your strategic goals is to use a repeating "How?" exercise for your goals.
Goal: Increase revenue by 10%
How? Increase leads by 30% and increase close rate 10%.
How? Get a targeted marketing strategy in place and executed consistently as well as put focused time into proposals.
How? Hire a Sales Leader and have them hire a marketing agency.
How? Create a budget and assign leadership the task to find candidates.
An exercise like this can help you decide which actions you need to take on a day-to-day basis in order to achieve your goals and set realistic S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Both of these – SMART tactical plans and high-level strategic goals – are critical to your business’s vision and success.
One of the key aspects to tactical plans and SMART goals are to determine how they will be measured, asssigned, and held accountable.
And perhaps one of the most important steps will be this one:
How To Get Started With Tactical Execution
Ask yourself where you are now and envision where you want yourself to be in one month, six months and a year. This way, you’ll be able to perform relevant research and come up with a plan of attack. In order to fully take advantage of any opportunities you’ve discovered in your research, make sure you define your strategic objectives along with the tactics you need to make them happen.
Last but not least, don’t forget to include other areas of your organization – like marketing, sales, and customer service – in your plans. They’ll bring fresh ideas to the table and help you overcome any risks or concerns along the way.
When you’re ready to switch gears to the tactical planning process, it’s time to dissect your strategic goals. Then you can jump into action in order to reach those strategic objectives. Tactical planning is created by people who get the work done each and every day. They know what to do, when it needs to be done and what it’ll take to get them there by creating a tactical plan. Here, you’ll want to ask yourself: How can the strategic goals be achieved within the limits of my current resources and authority?
In short, strategic and tactical goals are critical to your business’s mission. It’ll weed apart the day-to-day responsibilities you need to tackle in order to reach your success.
After all, there’s no point in take a road trip without a map - you need a clear idea of where you’re going and how you’re going to end up there.