Let’s be honest, we all love tactics. We can jump in and start doing things, get that instant sense of accomplishment without actually having a plan. Then, we wonder why we always seem to fall behind, and not meet all of our business objectives.
You Need A Plan
It doesn’t matter if it’s a meeting, conference, communications or marketing—a simple strategic plan dramatically increases speed, effectiveness and reduces mistakes. But doesn’t all that planning take forever? What if you are one of the millions of people who yearn for ways to be more efficient, get more done and generate better results…today? Here’s strategic planning for the rest of us.
What Needs To Happen
The first step in any strategic plan is deciding what you want to happen. You can only be successful if you do everything you can to make your participants and exhibitors/sponsors successful. To do that, you need to know what success looks like for them. That’s the approach we take at Shepard Exposition Services when we say, “Your Success is Our Success.”
Strategic Planning That’s Fast
Strategic planning means, “Figuring out how to do what you need to do.” That’s it. It doesn’t take years and lots of data and research. Start with what you already know.
The Three-Point Process
Point A – Where are you now?
- How did you get here?
- Who are the customers/attendees/sponsors who brought you to this point?
- Is it where you want to be?
Point B – Where do you want to be?
- How will you get there?
- What are the changes in your industry/market?
- What are you doing to reflect the changes?
- How can you provide new and more relevant value?
- How can you do more and offer more than you did before?
This is the part where most organizations get a little excited. It’s like when you were a kid and people kept asking you what you wanted to be when you grew up and you couldn’t decide between being a biker and a dentist. This isn’t a “forever” answer – it’s six months from now or next year. The reality is, there isn’t any long-term planning anymore.
How do you get from Point A to Point B?
- What will it take to make the changes?
- Does it make sense for the organization?
- Can you actually pull it off?
- Do you have the right customers/attendees/sponsors
- What’s the payoff in terms of revenue, growth, profitability and sustainability?
Remember it’s about strategy – how to change what you have to get what you want. You aren’t married to it forever. Think of it as organizational speed-dating.
The Reality Everyone Misses
Okay, you’ve planned how to get from Point A to Point B. Now, how do you feel about the strategy? We’re talking emotion here. Are you excited, relieved, enthusiastic? A strategic plan without passion is doomed to fail. Do a “feelings check” on the plan. If it doesn’t feel right then stop and rethink before you attempt to implement it or sell it to the organization.
Don’t Feel Bad About Not Doing It Before
Many companies, associations and organizations are bypassing planning processes and basically making it up as they go along. Not a good idea. If you don’t have a plan how do you know if you are doing all the right things?
Strategic Planning For The Organizationally Challenged
It’s okay to be unstructured. It’s okay to file by the pile. It’s okay to watch “Game of Thrones” and consider it training. But you still need a good strategic plan that helps you take control of your future.
Shepard Exposition Services is a 2017 ISAE bronze partner.