There are many factors in determining an organization’s success or failure. While some of these factors are outside of the company’s control, most, if not all, are inside of its control.

As Jim Collins refers to in his book “Good to Great,” many factors are certainly within an organizations’ control, such as selecting and putting into operation a successful strategy, hiring and developing the right people, and defining and executing their work efficiently and effectively. In fact, the better the organization operates, the less the external factors affect it.

While strategic planning either scares landscapers or they do not even know what it means, it is nothing more than an organizational management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, and ensure that team members work together toward common goals. The process itself helps establish a verbal and written agreement around intended outcomes and results. The purpose of using this process is to help adjust the organization’s direction in response to an ever-changing environment.

Strategic planning step by step

The strategic goals you set for your business are the pragmatic definition of the organization’s aspirations and drive both the definition and operation of the work necessary to achieve them.

A vision is much more than a statement; it is the guiding light for the whole organization. There should be enough clarity so that when the plan is shared, the recipients understand what they have to accomplish. In a new business, this often takes the form of a business plan. For an existing organization, each year the organization should create a strategic plan that reiterates the direction and establishes its annual goals.

Some key steps include:

  • Create or review the organization’s vision, mission and values statements. Are they well aligned with your company as it stands?
  • Analyze the customer’s needs. Are you meeting those needs with your services or underserving their needs or even perhaps over-servicing, which is costing you money?
  • Analyze the competitive landscape. Many of us do the same things: what is your real competitive advantage?
  • Perform a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis on the state of the organization.
  • Review and plan the three- to five-year strategic goals.
  • Review and plan the next year’s annual objectives.
  • Create an enterprise communications plan to inform and educate your entire team on both short-term long-term objectives.

One thing is important to remember: strategic planning is not that complex. Remain focused on the objectives of what strategic planning is, and the outcomes become that much easier to achieve.

As one of his mentors once told green industry business consultant Steven Cohen, “You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing the small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” Remember, Cohen says, smaller wins in business lead to bigger victories.