How to develop a strategic business plan for a new venture

by Jenny Bowes | Jul 01, 2021

time icon 4 mins

A key aspect of launching any new business venture is planning – but truthfully, many would-be entrepreneurs aren’t sure where to start.

Business planning has had a revamp in recent years. The old business plan has undergone a massive makeover that reflects the contemporary pace of modern business. Now, your forecasts and proposals can be much more sophisticated and yield better results. When the OKR method is included in this process, you’ll have all the tools you need to get your new business venture off to a strong start.

So, how can you put a strategic business plan in place for a new venture, and where’s the best place to begin? We answer this question in this article.

What is a strategic business plan?

A strategic business plan goes a few steps further than a traditional business plan. Business planning previously focused mainly on numbers. However, a strategic business plan takes a holistic approach, encompassing business values, vision and a variety of goals concerning your business’ philosophy, ethos and methodology.

It also focuses on how best to use and optimise your existing resources in a controlled manner.  It’s essential to account for incremental growth so that you don’t exhaust your current resources too quickly. Of course, when setting up a new business venture you don’t have previous data to work from – so a strategic business plan will use industry insights and competitor analysis to shape your organisational objectives.

Why use a strategic business plan for a new venture?

New business ventures are exciting. They leave you buzzing with the prospect of fresh opportunities approached with abundant enthusiasm. It’s easy to get lost within all the excitement that comes along with starting a new business, but getting down to the nitty-gritty is even more important for fledgling companies. That’s where strategic business planning comes in.

This will help you to streamline your business planning process so that you boost your chances of long-term success. We’ve covered some of the other main benefits below…

How can strategic business planning benefit your new venture?

  • Focus

Focus is key when starting any new venture. Without a clear idea of where you’re headed and how you’re getting there, you’ll likely hit some bumps in the road. Many business owners also cite time management as one of their key challenges. Overwhelm can lead to a scattergun approach, which in turn, impairs productivity. If you can clearly see where you need to focus your time, money and efforts at each stage, you can be confident that nothing is being overlooked as you progress.

  • Proactivity over reactivity

When you anticipate the good and the bad, you’ll be prepared for whatever life throws at you. Business can be unpredictable and external influences are not always under your control. However, forward planning for unexpected events enables you to prepare for any unfavourable scenarios before they occur. This allows you to act accordingly and minimise any negative impact. The same can be said for positive, yet unanticipated occurrences such as a steep rise in sales. 

Creating a strategic business plan puts you one step ahead of the game and significantly increases your chances of success!

  • Increased efficiency

Streamlining is key for new ventures. Many new businesses waste a significant portion of their resources during their first few years, simply because they’re unable to adequately manage them. Operational efficiency is key for any new business especially as it grows and evolves.

  • Improved resilience

Markets change and events occur that are not within your control – take Covid, for instance. But, with strategic business planning, you can increase your long-term resilience by building a more adaptable and flexible organisation. 

Things to consider during the strategic business planning process

Strategic business plans are comprehensive and incorporate multiple elements. Therefore, you’ll need to gather some information and consider various different aspects of your business (both now and how you want it to look in the future) before you begin.

To start with, consider the following elements:

Your vision and values: Who are you, what do you do and most importantly, why? What makes you different? What do you stand for?

Your industry and competitors: Who else is doing what you do, and how do they do it? What’s their market share – and what should yours be? How are you contributing to, or evolving your industry?

Your clients and customers: What does your ideal client or customer look like? Who are they, what do they do? Creating an avatar for your ideal customer can be useful especially for marketing and branding going forward. Go into detail about their salary, lifestyle, likes and dislikes and what other companies (both competitor and non-competitor) they engage with. 

Your products and services: What exactly do you offer? List absolutely everything with a detailed description.

Outlining the above provides a firm foundation for starting the strategic business planning process.

How to make a strategic business plan

There’s no one size fits all approach to the strategic business planning process. Each industry and company is entirely different, so of course, their plans will be unique too! Using a sample strategic business plan could help to guide you through the process, especially if it’s your first time setting up a new business.

You might like to start by sitting everyone down and talking about your business. Verbally communicating what you do and how you do it without the pressure of documenting things formally can allow you to be really open and creative. Doing this with your team will also enable you to gain a variety of insights and perspectives. It can relieve that stagnant feeling that can come with strategic business planning, as you simply talk it out and discuss your company candidly in a safe setting.

In addition, competitor and target market research will be a key element for any new venture – as you’re not working with your own existing data. If you’re looking to disrupt the market you’re in, you’ll be using these insights in reverse.

Once you’ve gathered plenty of notes from your brainstorming session, begin bit by bit to fill in each section of your strategic business plan. Think of this as your first draft – it’ll go through several refinements during this process until you have something solid to work from.

If you’re still struggling to get it right, don’t worry. Getting expert support from strategic planning specialists may be the best way to go.

At There Be Giants we help organisations to execute their strategic plans by using OKRs. The OKR process and strategic planning process go hand in hand. Using both methods can help to boost your chances of achieving sustained business growth.

If you want to learn more about executing your strategic plans, speak to one of our Giants today to learn more about how we can help you.