Today, the majority of startups all have the same thing in common: failure. The handful of startups that end up making it past their expiration date, which is typically less than five years, often share the same mindset about planning to adapt in a fast-changing economic and consumer-driven environment.

Achieving objectives is just as important for any startup as leading innovation within their marketplace. However, specifying what the startup can do for it to meet the needs of its customers and stakeholders is key to its ever-growing success.

In today’s fast-driven digital economy, change is inevitable, however, having defined and measurable objectives ensures that any leadership team can anchor these key factors in their plans to help them thoroughly meet the needs of those that are involved throughout the process.

The idea behind strategic planning encapsulates the understanding of getting from Point A to Point B, using the most appropriate methods that can help promote efficient business management.

Having a good strategy ensures that startups can dictate the “how” element of their planning, and rather focus on the shortcomings they currently have, and finding workable solutions that meet the needs of their business, its stakeholders, employees, and prospects.

Step One: Change Objective-Setting Habits

Typically, startup owners and entrepreneurs will linearly think about their objectives, from establishing the idea or problem to the process they need to follow to ensure they can achieve these objectives within a given timeframe.

While the linear method ensures a more detail-oriented process, it often doesn’t account for specific stakeholder groups. Taking into account what the startup objectives might be, growing consumer interest, increasing employee productivity through innovation, or gaining more investors’ interest requires leaders to think differently for each stakeholder segment.

In this case, the ideal scenario would be to view objectives based on their intermediate influence in the business structure, and how setting new parameters could ensure leaders can produce more business-centered strategic objectives.

Step Two: Outline Startup And Stakeholder Expectations

Once a leadership team has shifted its way of objective-setting, the second step would be to start outlining the expectations stakeholders will have. Keep in mind, within this context, these stakeholders will include employees, customers, investors, and the community wherein the startup is operating.

Outlining the objective requires initial human resources, but it puts the startup on track to achieve measurable goals within their desired timeframe and with limited resources.

This step tends to become overwhelmed with excess information and data points, and although valuable, it’s important to remain anchored to the stakeholder segment that is being considered, and how certain actions will help achieve business objectives.

Step Three: Consider The Startup Marketplace

The third step requires business leaders, or often the startup owner to consider how their current marketplace or consumer market will change over time.

Ultimately, the idea here is to draw back to the founders of the initial plan and business owners might have had when they established their startup – understanding the reasoning behind the startup’s existence, previous goals, and how improvement will help it adjust to the changing environment.

This typically looks at both the mission and the vision statement of each company, and requires an in-depth consideration of whether these ideas might still be applicable within the current marketplace, and if not, how will the business adapt accordingly.

Keep a directional focus on the new objectives at hand, and how using the elements from a mission and vision can ultimately help to transform the dynamic approach to strategic planning.

Step Four: Identify Possible Behavioral Changes Among Stakeholders

Once the startup has established key stakeholders, it’s time to focus on the behavioral outcomes that take place once a business or company has decided on changing its forward-looking strategy or planning.

While this might be on a small scale for startups compared to other more established companies, it remains an opportunity for them to revisit the idea of what their objectives are, and how those will react that may be affected by the change.

It’s important at this step, for owners and business leaders to think more thoroughly about their objectives and different stakeholder groups’ behavioral outcomes. Once there is a firm understanding among these groups, startup owners and leaders can then move on to the final step.

Step Five: Implement Relatable Measures

Often businesses enjoy monitoring their growth, change, or success through key performance indicators. Although we can’t dismiss this form of growth measurement, it does become limited too, that is often pulled in front of other, more useful measurements.

It could be a lot easier to measure the success of a startup through financial instruments, such as growing revenues. Second to this is the percentage at which the company has or is aiming to grow over the next several months or years.

All of these seemingly straightforward metrics only once again add to how a company can be strategic in its planning, execution, and thought process over time. Having first-hand insight, and clearing the confusion helps not only the business leaders understand where they are standing, but also how their new objectives can be measured with past results.

Takeaway Thoughts

Strategy planning is no one-size fits all type of scenario, and it requires startups to consider how individual stakeholders can be affected by the business objectives. In turn, this gives a better light on how a company can modify their approach to enable them to become more oriented towards their final objectives but also make modifications along the way.

Being more resilient in the current business landscape requires startups to be more agile, but also more forward-thinking about where they are heading and how their objectives align with this mindset. The bottom line is that startups need to change how they approach their object-setting, but ultimately lend more opportunity to view their objective from an outside-in approach.

Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Bich Tran; Pexels; Thank you!



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