Start the New Year on a Strategic Plan for your Print Business

Failing to plan is planning to fail as the saying popularly goes. The many day – t o – day operational struggle that printers face in their business had their seeds sown when they fail to think ahead.

With the New Year now here, it is the right time for Print professionals to think ahead and strategically plan. In this edition we shall be discussing why strategic plan is important for your print business.

Strategic planning is organizational management activities that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working towards common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes and assess and adjust organizations direction in response to a changing environment. Effective strategic planning articulates not only where an organization is going and the actions needed to make progress but also how it will know if it is successful. More than ever before owners and managers of print business have to seriously put in place strategy that will keep their business going and profitable during this recession period otherwise many print shops may become unprofitable or even close shop. So as you begin another business year ensure you have a strategic plan for that print business that guide your day-to-day decisions and also help you to evaluate your progress.

Why Strategic planning is important:  

You cannot predict the future

You cannot predict the future, no Manager or print business owner has a crystal ball in his or her brief case. Everyday has its own ‘’we couldn’t see it coming’’. Many severe day – to – day operating problems have as their origin, a failure from months or years earlier- a failure in strategic planning. Simply, absence of strategic planning or poor strategic plans usually lead to tactical days of operating nightmares you would rather wish never came. The importance of strategic planning in reducing these days you would rather not want to come cannot be over emphasized. E.g breakdown of printing equipments, increase in cost of consumables, change in technology e.t.c.

It gives overall Direction

Strategic planning can provide an overall strategic direction to the management of the organization and give a specific direction to areas like financial strategy, marketing strategy, organizational development strategy and human resource s strategy to achieve success. These other kinds of planning which are sometimes confused with strategic planning are intended for parts of the organization or specific functions and processes within the organization. All of these other types of planning should be guided by the overall strategic plan.

Phases in Strategic planning

There are many different frameworks and methodologies for strategic planning, while there are no absolute rules regarding the right framework most follow a similar pattern and and have common attributes.

Phase 1: Analysis or assessment, where an understanding of the current internal and external environment affecting your business is developed.

Phase 2: Strategy formulation, where high level plan is developed and basic organization level strategy is documented

Phase 3: Strategy execution, where the high level plan is translated into more operational planning and action terms

Phase 4: Evaluation –this is where ongoing refinement and evaluation of performance culture, communication, data reporting and other strategic management issues are written down. A final document of the plan is then produced.

Ensure that the plan becomes a ‘living’ document by insisting that it be used, referred to and reviewed regularly.