Strategic planning as a part of your business routine
If you are a freelancer or a small company owner, you probably realize how important planning is. The best way to become successful in business is to introduce a well-thought action plan, which will help you set particular short- and long-term goals. Making spontaneous decisions, which do not go in hand with the mission, visions and values your company represents, may be, on the other hand, disastrous.
Read our article to learn what are the most common methods of planning, what exactly strategy planning is and how can a SWOT template help you in achieving your goals.
Different methods of planning
Strategy planning should be at the core of your business activity, no matter if you are a freelancer or a bigger entrepreneur.
Depending on your needs and the size of your company, you may rely on different kinds of planning, of which the strategic one is the most common.
Check out what it is and what other types of planning can be important in your business:
- Strategic planning. This kind of planning involves preparing a long-term plan which is focused on all aspects of business. It sets some achievable goals and provides a way to measure the final results. Strategic plans are mostly conceptual.
- Operational planning. This is a very detail-oriented plan which defines what departments and teams should do to reach company goals. It allows employees and managers to learn what their specific obligations should be.
- Action planning. It is a kind of planning which focuses on daily activities. It can be introduced through detailed timetables and other kinds of organizational information that boost the efficiency of workers. The aim of action planning is also to keep employees motivated. It is also a great way to organize the work and assign tasks.
- Tactical planning. This kind of planning is based on a previously developed strategic plan. It divides a bigger plan into smaller ones and explains what actions should be taken to meet its parts. It focuses on day-to-day activities, but in a broader perspective.
What is a SWOT analysis?
As you can see all kinds of business planning are, at least to some extent, based on strategy planning. The easiest way to prepare business strategy for freelancers and small companies is to perform a SWOT analysis.
It is a kind of strategy planning framework that helps you look at your business from different perspectives. Its goal is to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that you or your company may face.
How to make SWOT analysis? – preparing business strategy for small companies and freelancers
The biggest advantage of a SWOT analysis is that it focuses not only on your expertise and experience, but also includes some possible obstacles and risks which are beyond your control. In order to perform a SWOT analysis you need to take into consideration four key elements:
- Strengths – these are the advantages that you can offer to your clients. Think of all strong points of your business and list them. Try to answer the question of what makes you better than competitors.
- Weaknesses – in this part, think of your weak points and all areas of your business that need improvements. Be honest with yourself and try to analyze all possible deficiencies in detail.
- Opportunities – these are specific industry and market conditions that can offer benefits to your company. Focus on market trends, upcoming events that may affect your activity, some possible changes in regulations, etc.
- Threats – try to find all external factors that can have a negative influence on your company. Depending on the nature of your business, think of your competitors, changing market conditions, new restrictions and technology development.
SWOT analysis template – where to find it?
If you want to perform your own SWOT analysis and prepare a business strategy for a small company or your freelance activity, you can use one of the SWOT analysis templates available online. The templates were prepared for all freelancers and business owners who want to prepare a strategic plan. They will help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and present them in an interesting way. You have the possibility to choose among different SWOT analysis templates prepared in various file extensions, so you can choose the one that suits your needs best.
Are still wondering whether you should prepare a strategy for your freelance activity or a small business? Don’t hesitate! A well-though business plan will inspire you to work more efficiently and reach your business goals. Download one of SWOT templates available online and get to work!