Proper strategic planning is crucial for achieving positive financial results in any business, including public relations agencies. By dedicating time and effort to developing and executing a well-defined strategic plan, businesses can position themselves for success in the competitive market.
One way a strategic plan can positively impact financial results is by increasing revenue through the identification of new market opportunities or the expansion of existing service lines. By identifying potential growth areas and investing in the necessary resources to pursue them, businesses can open up new revenue streams and increase their bottom line. Additionally, a well-executed strategic plan can help businesses reduce costs and increase efficiency, which can also lead to improved financial results.
Another benefit of a well-crafted strategic plan is improved client satisfaction, which can translate to higher revenue through increased business from existing clients and positive word-of-mouth referrals. By prioritizing client needs and incorporating feedback into the strategic planning process, businesses can build stronger relationships with their clients and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Strategic planning can also positively impact employee retention, which can lead to financial benefits through increased productivity and reduced costs associated with turnover. By creating a culture and work environment that aligns with the values and goals of employees, businesses can improve job satisfaction and reduce turnover rates.
Consider the following points as you reassess your planning strategy:
Before you begin: establish your vision, mission and values
Before you begin to map out your strategic planning process, dedicate time to establishing or reevaluating the vision, mission and values of your business. Your vision process should describe what you want to achieve in the long term, while your mission should outline your agency’s purpose. Your values should reflect the key principles and beliefs that guide your agency’s behavior and decision-making.
During the vision process, you should consider the key values of your company and employees, how you can better support your client base and the direction you want to grow in the future. Inviting employees into the process by encouraging their input can also help you connect to your staff and better understand their wants, needs, goals and plans for the future while ensuring their buy-in for your business vision. While the process should primarily involve company leaders and other key stakeholders, it can be beneficial to involve an objective third party to help you brainstorm and craft a thoughtful vision, mission and values document and statement.
Identify goals and objectives. After you’ve identified the desired future state of your business, you can begin to focus on objectives that align with your vision, mission and values and move you toward your business goals. Goals—such as improving client satisfaction or increasing revenue—are typically part of the bigger picture, while objectives are narrower and specify how you can achieve those goals, such as establishing a strategy that reduces your financial and tax burdens, growing in a different market, developing a new service to offer your clients or cultivating a thriving workplace that helps you retain quality employees that support your clients. Many companies choose to implement SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound) goals to help ensure that your objectives are realistic and achievable.
Formulate and implement a plan. Now that you’ve identified your goals, you can begin mapping out your plans with specific steps, including determining a budget, creating your timeline and deciding who on your team is responsible for each objective. You may choose to utilize a project planning tool to help with accountability and organization. It’s crucial to identify your key performance indicators to help you measure your results.
Measure and evaluate results. While planning and executing may seem like the most important components of your strategic planning, you should identify ways to record your results and determine when to evaluate your plans on an ongoing basis. You may do this in many ways, including implementing dashboarding to access real-time financial and operational data or by understanding your client satisfaction through surveys. Once you have this information, remember to adjust your plans accordingly as needed. For example, if one of your determined objectives is to increase a service line by cross-selling and you aren’t seeing additional growth, consider focusing on this area by providing more employee training or sales incentivization.
Continually reassess and adjust your plans. Strategic planning is an ongoing process, and it’s important to periodically reassess your vision, mission and values, as well as your goals and objectives. This can help ensure that your agency stays on track and remains relevant in a rapidly changing industry.
When we’re busy supporting clients and executing day-to-day tasks, we often lose sight of our strategic plan and vision. Realigning your vision, mission and values and identifying specific objectives can help keep you focused while energizing your employees as you collectively meet your goals. Overall, a well-defined and executed strategic plan can result in a range of positive financial outcomes for public relations agencies. By focusing on revenue growth, cost reduction, client satisfaction and employee retention, businesses can position themselves for success in the market and achieve their long-term goals.
Dominic Rovano, CPA is a partner at Janover LLC and leads the firm’s Professional Services Group.
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