Strategic planning is utilizing big-picture vision to develop a road map for long-term success. Strategic planning is like spokes in a wheel — it supports the wheel by holding it together in several different parts. Without the spokes, the stress will collapse the wheel. A strategic plan includes short-term goals to lower your business stress and balance achieving long-term success.

Setting realistic (yet challenging) goals is vital to this process. If goals are too easily attainable, your employees or business partners may become complacent. On the flip side, if goals are too difficult to reach, people may experience burnout and undue stress. Effective goals should make people think profoundly about their attainability. If your team quickly discerns that the goal is either attainable or unattainable, then you should consider revising the goal. There should be good balance between doubt and optimism in the attainability of each goal.

How do you determine these goals? Break down your business, and ask the tough questions:

  • Where are we right now?
  • Where are we headed?
  • What is our true competitive advantage?
  • How is our financial health? Look at the numbers to determine the reality of your financial situation (i.e. debt to equity ratio, days sales outstanding, gross profit ratio, etc.).
  • Where do we want to be in 5 years? Is this a realistic goal?

Honesty is also incredibly important in lowering your business stress. If you can be honest with yourself on where your business is at, you will be able to create more realistic goals.

Next, break it down. Looking too far into the future can be overwhelming and increase your stress, so create short-term goals to gain momentum. Once your strategic plan is in place, you can prioritize your time, resources, and efforts on the things that matter most to your business's long-term success.

Last but not least, get your team on board! When your team has common vision and goals, there is a purpose for every action in your business. Even tough business decisions can become less stressful when you and your team question, "Will this action support our vision and help us accomplish our goals?"

With more than 80 years of experience in taxation, auditing, accounting, and business advisory services, Delap's team of top-notch CPAs located in Lake Oswego, Oregon, can help your business with strategic planning, projections, financial analysis, tax minimization strategies, financial statement compilations, risk management, and federal, state, and local tax planning and preparation.

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