If you are hiring a consultant company to help your company create a plan to get ahead, a strategic planning consulting agreement will ensure your company gets the services you expect from your consultant.
A strategic plan is different from a business plan. It is designed help your business prepare for the next fiscal year or implement a strategy for a new product. During this in-depth process, time is spent discussing where your business is at and where you want it to be. A plan is then created to help you get there. This plan works as a "road map" to help create and reach your vision and will help you succeed quicker by thinking ahead and planning your year.
The perfect strategic plan involves many steps. Different consultant companies approach the process in a variety ways. When you research a consulting firm to take you through this process, look at their strategy process. Make sure it fits with the direction you want to head with your company.
The first step a strategic planner will take is to review your company or organization. This process will identify your company's strengths, weaknesses, and competition. The planner will also look for opportunities you may currently be missing. Identifying the market, relationships, and assets is part of this stage. He may ask to meet with your employees one-on-one or in a group setting.
Once your company's strengths and weaknesses are identified, it is time to come up with a strategy that will place you competitively in the market place to accomplish your goals. This stage of the process involves reviewing and rewriting the mission statement and coming up with a vision statement which encompasses how your business will operate in the future. The strategizing process helps place you competitively in the marketplace by creating value in your products and building customer relationships.
Once you establish where you want to be and what you want to do, it is time to plan the most effective route to get there. This process includes coming up with tactics on how to implement the new procedures or reach your new goals, establishing responsibilities and roles, and setting a timeline.
Finding a Consultant
Though you can find lots of great information about strategic planning on your own, the most successful plans are created with a neutral third party who acts as a moderator. Strategic planning consultants specialize in helping businesses succeed by creating a strong insight into the company.
Yearly Strategic Plan
When searching for your strategic consultant, look for someone who offers a strategic planning strategy you will want to use again in the future. This is not a one time process, but an ongoing journey. You should plan on having him return next year.
Keep in mind that when doing a strategic plan, you may end up uncovering new ideas which may begin to alter the direction of your company. Do not change everything at once, but include the strongest ideas in your first year, and create a timeline for effectively utilizing the other ideas.
Strategic Planning Consulting Agreement
Before finalizing terms with your consultant, sign a strategic planning consulting agreement. This agreement will outline what services you expect from your moderator, as well as payment plans and scheduling. This agreement serves as a contract.
Drafting the Agreement
Every strategic planning meeting is different. Some require more time and discussions than others. You will want to figure out who should be involved in the creation of the strategic plan and what you want to cover.
Make sure to include the following in the contract:
- What you expect from the consultant
- What they need from you (files, missions, business reports, sales reports, employee lists, records, etc)
- Timeline, dates, and/or contract length
- Agreed upon price and what is included
- Any "extras" that may incur additional charges
- Payment plan (include what is to be paid upfront and when payment is due)
- Discrepancy and legal issues, if any were to come up in the future
- Any other terms discussed
If you are hiring the consultant for more than one service, such as financial planning, remember to include that information in your strategic planning consulting agreement.
Once your contract is to your liking, ask your lawyer to review it. When this is complete, you are ready to begin the journey of strategic planning.