Strategic Planning for Small Businesses

Many small business owners assume strategic planning is only necessary for large businesses. No, that’s not the case! Strategic planning is just as important for small businesses as for larger companies.

A strategic plan assists a company in defining its long-term direction, setting goals, effectively allocating resources, and adapting to changing market conditions.

Here are the ten effective tips on strategic planning for small businesses.

1. Assess Your Current Situation

Conduct a thorough analysis of your small business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis). Understand your competitive advantages, core competencies, and areas that need improvement.

As a small business owner, you should identify and utilize the opportunities to establish your business as a potent player in your niche. To find opportunities, thoroughly analyze your niche and target market.

2. Define Your Mission and Vision

The mission statement should define the purpose of your business’s existence and your objectives. It should be in a way that supports the vision. For example, Walmart’s mission statement:

“To save people money so that they can live better.”

The vision statement should define what you want to achieve in the long run. It’s critical that you establish a clear and inspiring vision for your small business. For example, Walmart’s vision statement:

“To be the destination for customers to save money, no matter how they want to shop.”

3. Create SMART Goals

Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that align with your vision and mission. They should represent the milestones you aim to reach.

4. Understand Your Target Market

Target market refers to the specific group of customers interested in your products or services. To know your target market, conduct research on trends, customer demographics, and customer pain points.

Once you know your target market, it will be easier to tailor your products and marketing strategies that cater to your customers’ needs.

5. Competitor Analysis

Along with studying your target market, you should also analyze your competitors to identify their strengths and weaknesses. This information will help to make your business stand out and help you find potential growth opportunities.

6. Develop Strategies

Based on your SWOT analysis and market research; develop strategies to leverage your business’s strengths, address weaknesses, utilise opportunities, and mitigate threats. Make sure the strategies you develop align with your goals.

I strongly suggest you involve your team and consider their suggestions when developing strategies. By doing so, you indicate that you value their ideas. Remember that working together as a team is crucial for the success of a small business.

7. Create an Action Plan

An action plan is a detailed checklist outlining the specific steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Formulating an action plan is critical in small business strategic planning.

An action plan breaks down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks, assigns responsibilities, and sets timelines for completion. It also serves as a road map that helps your employees to execute the goals.

8. Allocate Resources

Once you create an action plan, assess the resources needed to execute it. The type of resources vary from business to business, but generally, they include finances, labour, and technology. Allocate resources wisely for the effective execution of strategies.

9. Monitor Progress

As a small business owner, it’s critical to regularly review your progress toward achieving the set goals. Track your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and make adjustments if needed.

10. Celebrate Success and Learn from Failures

When you achieve your goals, celebrate it together with your team, as it can help to keep your employees motivated. Consider giving a bonus or a pay hike to an employee who has contributed the most in helping your business achieve its goals.

If you did something wrong, learn from it and use it as an opportunity to improve and grow your business.


Strategic planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Update your strategic plan regularly to ensure it remains relevant and aligned with your business’s objectives. With a well-thought-out strategic plan, small businesses can position themselves for growth and long-term success.

Struggling to grow your business? Book a coaching session with Ken D Foster, who has over 35 years of experience as a business coach. Ken can help you create a strategic plan for your business and can also help you grow your business faster.