Strategic planning is crucial toward the proper development of a company or a project, but it’s not always clear where to start your planning. Having the big picture is one thing, but having a framework to build upon will help you start to bang out the details and set you on a forward-looking path toward your goals and achievements. Before you start planning, use these six steps as building blocks.


Find your target


This is the scope of your big picture. For a company, this will be encompassed by your mission statement; for a project, this can be relayed through an elevator pitch. In either case, your target is essentially the vision you have for what lies ahead of you, and having this clearly written out will not only start you on the right path toward success but also inspire those working with you to achieve that same vision.


Align your focus


After you have your vision in place, shift yourself toward focusing on the right priorities. What do you hope to accomplish with this company or project? Do you have secondary focuses that will support your main objective? Answering these questions will ensure that you stay on the path you set out when you first started.


Assess the state of your situation


Take the past, present, and future actions of your company or project into consideration when thinking about your next steps forward. Did something not work for you before? Are you doing something presently to compensate for that failure? The answer to these questions may require you to readjust your future plans to fit with the reality of your goals, rather than your past hypotheticals.


Map out your objectives


The prior three steps are the keystones to mapping out the path to your goal. Once you’ve got those three squared away, you can use your analysis and write out both your priorities and support initiatives. This will show key stakeholders the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your objective, as well as hold you accountable if those aren’t reached.


Execute your roadmap


Once your map is written out, you can finally share it with key stakeholders and team members. You’ll be able to lay out your plan of action to everyone in detailed steps that will need to be taken during this phase.


Monitor your actions


Having a plan of action doesn’t mean you’re done working on it. Once it’s in motion, monitor how well you’re doing and adjust when necessary. This will let you share any progress made toward your initial targets and objectives and keep an open line of communication.