Episode 56: The Blueprint for Every Effective Strategic Plan with Mark Johnston, Part 1

Uncategorized Dec 10, 2020

Have you ever sat down to plan how you're going to really scale your business next year, only to walk away feeling more unclear than when you started? And even worse, have that plan fall apart 6 months in? In part one of this three part series we dive deep into strategic planning  from someone with over 35 years of experience, and has ran strategic planning for $750M corporate divisions. Listen in to find out how the most successful organizations are planning out their year and making sure their time, energy, and money are going only towards the highest-leverage initiatives. 

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About Mark Johnston

Mark has led M&A deals from $1M to over $2B, ran strategic planning for $750M corporate divisions, set company sales records, and conceived and developed multiple product lines in different companies that led to over $1B in revenues at > 80% GM.  He is an international speaker and author with over 100 articles published and has spoken at industry conferences on six continents.




3 Key Takeaways

1.) Strategic planning takes a lot of effort but can often lead to very rich rewards as you better understand your customer and your business as whole. 

2.) Don’t overlook small income streams. Large profit margins can be found by correctly accessing and redirecting resources appropriately

3.) Find the correct A Team when diving into strategic planning. The right people and the right size group is essential to success.


Show Notes


The meaning of strategic planning.

 Strategic planning is the process of determining what priorities are most important for an organization and then allocating the resources to pursue them. This is vital to a business because it ensures that precious resources are being directed to the right objective.


Three ways to guide a business through strategic planning


  1. Start with what factors are influencing the business in the external market.
  2. Break down what are the internal issues that are going on inside the business.
  3. Take a deep dive into understanding the markets that your business is in, segmentation, share positioning, and how your business is positioned against competitors.


Business leadership getaways VS. Deep strategic planning


  • Strategic planning is broken up into weekly sessions for 8-12 weeks, with assignments to complete during the week to truly understand weaknesses and possible solutions within the business.
  • The off-site method often seems much more superficial because people assume they already know everything but they rarely have the data that they need.


How to get the most out of strategic planning  

  • Put in the effort to understand your market and your customer before starting your planning process.
  • Carefully gauge each stream of revenue to maximize earning potential.


They discovered that one particular service which then represented less than 5% of their revenue was actually highly profitable. It was a simple process of redirecting more resources to what had become a really winning business segment.


Two major weaknesses most business owners overlook

  • Know where you’re starting from. If you want to get to point B you need to know where you’re coming from.
  • Get to know your customers and how they perceive you. 
  • Don’t assume you understand your customer until you actually engage with them.

One of the key things that companies don’t do as well as they should is really understanding how they are perceived by their customers.


The strategic planning "A Team" and who you should involve

  • Start with the department heads, vice presidents and up. 
  • Shoot for 6-10 people as a good sized group for strategic planning.


"If I huddle with the CEO and we do it together you’re not gonna get a lot of buy in. It’s just gonna be pushed down from the top. Conversely you can’t have everyone in the room, you just can’t get decisions made."

The Most important KPIs you should be tracking

Every industry is different. Every business is different. But in general, here are just a few KPIs to pay attention to:

  • Cost of goods sold
  • Revenue by quarter, product line, and region
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Talent retention
  • Market share
  • Product vitality
  • On-time delivery
  • Net Promoter Score
  • SEO rankings
  • Recurring revenue %

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