Strategic business planning is key in running your organization, both in terms of staying afloat as a business and in managing risk, such as liability and regulatory compliance. It’s also a continual process-there are always changes in the market, your organization, and the law, so you’re never truly done planning.
It’s not a simple process, but there are a few things you can do to make it easier on you and the stakeholders within your business’s sphere of influence. Here, we’ll go over a few pointers for effective-and legal-strategic planning.
- Involve your stakeholders: While executives and leaders are most often the ones with the overall vision for the company, you need to make sure those who will carry out your strategic business plan-any and all stakeholders-are involved in the planning process. Not only will this make certain they know the plan when it rolls out, but it can also inform the planning process in powerful ways.
- Set time frames: During the planning process, set due dates for when each stage will be completed. This will ensure each task is completed within a timely manner, both during planning (running numbers, performing research, etc.) and afterward when the plan is put into motion.
- Incorporate the budget: The tasks, processes, and initiatives you plan will take time and money to complete. In order to make sure they receive the attention they need, make sure you make room in your budget for them. Otherwise, you risk having them ignored as they don’t come up at all in the company’s finances.
- Determine responsibility: Having a plan in place is wonderful, but if individuals don’t know their exact role in the plan, it won’t be carried out. Make sure each person involved in the process knows what they’re responsible for doing, both within the planning process and during execution.
- Communicate: Your business plan won’t benefit anyone if no one is aware of it. Make sure everyone involved is fully aware of the plan, what their role in that plan is, and what direction you are heading as a company.
- Mind regulations: There are many federal and state regulations that you need to keep in mind while putting together your plans for the year. These may include financial regulations, tax reporting, human resources management, advertising laws, and other regulations. In addition, you’ll need to make sure that matters such as intellectual property protection, licensing issues, and contracts are handled properly.
Each stage of the planning process will benefit in some way from the knowledge and experience of a skilled corporate lawyer. This not only serves to make sure you are fully compliant with the law, but also that you avoid legal entanglements within your company or with other parties.
Having a corporate lawyer present during the strategic planning process will give you quick and easy access to the legal counsel you need to avoid pitfalls and move forward as a company. Whether you are starting out or well established, make sure you involve an attorney (such as us at Hart & David) in the process.