You want a grand idea; an end goal; something ultimate for your company to work towards. It should be something that gives form and motivation to what you do every day, the way decisions are made and the type of business you choose to conduct. These ideas will be captured in a strategic business plan.
It all sounds so easy when it’s discussed theoretically, but putting these ideas into a workable form – or sometimes even discovering what your “big ideas” are, can be a daunting task. Most companies have a few grand ideals – often this is what led to starting the company in the first place – but a strategic business plan is more than a list of a few arbitrary “nice-to-dos”. In fact, your strategic business plan is just that – a plan that unfolds a set of steps that will guide you toward your end goal. It needs purpose and structure, and it needs to be catalyzed by a powerful and well-defined vision.
Enter the world of software and mobile apps. Several technological tools have been developed to help facilitate the strategic business planning process. Many of the software options have free trials so you can get a feel for the product. And if the only apps on your phone are limited to social media and restaurant review sites, then we have some good news. There are several mobile phone applications aimed at helping you compile your strategy. Here are a few different ways in which they can help.
- Get the creative juices flowing. Part of kick-starting the strategic business plan is making sure that you have the best ideas to shape it around. Mind mapping is a proven method that helps to provoke creative thought and extend ideas. There are several mind mapping apps on the market, aimed at specifically helping you do this in the business environment. Here are two to check out:
- iMindMap is aimed at facilitating the brainstorming process and has a free-form brainstorming canvas. It is endorsed by Tony Buzan, the man who pioneered mind mapping as a way of generating new ideas and learning. You can download a free trial here. There are also iOS and Android apps available.
- mindgenius.com is software that is specially designed for improving productivity in meetings and planning. It touts itself as a “daily use tool to increase personal and group productivity.” There’s a 30 day free trial product downloadable here.
- Pool everyone’s ideas. Another challenge as you begin your strategic business plan is to ensure that everyone’s ideas are heard, and that the best ones take precedence. Ideas management software does just that.
- IdeasMine is a highly-rated, simple to use platform for gathering and implementing ideas in the company. It offers a free trial and extensive support. Check out reviews about the product here.
- Sideways 6 describes itself as “the complete crowdsourcing and ideas management solution”. It allows you to set challenges for your employees, listen to their ideas as they occur and identify the best of them. It’s a new twist on enterprise crowdsourcing. Check it out here.
- Identify trends. Another important part of developing your strategic business plan is mapping out a future for your business based on trends. This means, of course, identifying them accurately in the first place.
- Salesforce is an app which allows managers to drive and manage the sales process. The information it generates can be used to identify sales trends in your company and, by extension, the industry at large. Have a look at the app here.
Compiling a strategic business plan is no small feat. It’s an ambitious undertaking that should change the way you do things. Use the technological tools available to make it the most effective process that you can. You could also consider contacting The Finance Team. Our dedicated strategists can provide valuable expertise and guidance throughout the strategic business planning process.
Image credit – Creative Mobile Business Apps