You’ve done your homework and looked at your market and competition. You’ve talked to your staff and your customers. You know your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats … now what?

How do you make all this data actionable? In strategic planning, we define “The Four Corners.”

(Did you miss our article on creating a SWOT analysis? Click here.)

When you look at your SWOT report, you’ll discover that you need to C.A.R.E.: Create, Amplify, Reduce or Eliminate items to better grow your business.


What do you not have today that the data suggests would help?

  • Do you need a new product?
  • Do you need to create a new perception in the market? Do you need to define your brand?
  • Do you need new processes?
  • Do you need new sales tools?


What are you doing right now that you should be doing more of?

  • Do you need to increase community involvement?
  • Do you need more locations?
  • Should you do more marketing in digital?
  • Do you need more culture and sales-based training?
  • Does your management team need to be seen more?


What are you doing now that you should do less of?

  • Do you have redundant processes?
  • Do your customers have too much “paperwork” to open accounts?
  • Are there too many internal emails?
  • Do you need to streamline the web site?
  • Are there too many steps to approval to make things happen?


What is not working?

  • Do you need to lose negativity in the branches?
  • Do you have a fee that negatively effects account opening or retention?
  • Are you spending marketing money on a tactic that isn’t working?
  • Do you need to eradicate and replace a particular strategy?

The C.A.R.E. report should be specific. Define exactly what elements you need to create, amplify, reduce and eliminate.

Then, all you have to do is prioritize the C.A.R.E. recommendations. Determine what fits the budget and what will have the most impact. Assign accountabilities and responsibilities, set timelines and milestones and you’ve got yourself a strategic growth plan.

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