Hello, 2023: How Do I Create a Strategic Plan?
Updated: Jan 27
As we continue our focus on the new year, consider putting some specifics in your planning. Of course, the first step in any planning is giving it some thought. Actually spending the time and energy to think about what you want to do this year is a step many don’t take. So, you’re already moving ahead of the pack with some brain time devoted to your plans for this year. But brainstorming, daydreaming, and unstructured and unrecorded thoughts and ideas aren’t going to maximize your capabilities.
First, gather data. Data should drive decisions.
If you have hunches or feelings about what is going on in your practice or what is missing or what you need to do differently, try to find the data that supports them. Your notions may be proven or you may be surprised. If you don’t have the mechanisms in place to measure the data that is important to your decision-making processes, then the first thing to address in your planning is how you are going to put steps in place to gather, collect, and analyze the data. Give yourself, your contractors, your employees, and your staff deadlines. Then make plans to review the data regularly. You may find data or benchmarks for your data on the internet. You will be surprised by what’s out there that can give you some idea of what is going on nationally. If you do nothing for the first quarter or two this year but get a handle on what is going on, then you will have accomplished a great deal.
Your planning should be strategic. You need a strategic plan.
Strategic planning will give you a set of measurable and attainable goals and the tasks that will most likely lead to accomplishing them. It will make every decision that you face this year easier because you will have a measure for weighing your options. Is this going to help me accomplish my goals? If not, do I need to reassess my goals? If not, don’t do it. If it will help accomplish your goals then you must consider doing it if budgeting allows (more about that in a minute).
You may find this blog helpful: What's Your Next Move? How & Why Lawyers Should Develop Strategic Plans.
You might consider organizing your plan in an outline format with main goals divided by the different facets of your practice that need to be addressed, such as:
Sales (yes, sales)
You should include a budget as part of your strategic planning process.
A budget line item can be created for each goal by totaling the budget allocation for each task within it. Goals and tasks can be prioritized accordingly. You can also include some milestones which would adjust the budget for a particular goal. For example, if receipts by June 1 are at least X, then tasks 4, 5, and 6 will be addressed. If not, you can hold those for next year.