Today's Viewpoint: A MarshBerry Publication

A How-To Guide to Strategic Planning

As a business owner or senior leader, you wear a lot of hats (marketing, sales, recruiter), so having a roadmap to guide you in running your business is a necessity. The right plan will help you make informed decisions, allocate resources effectively, and adapt to changing circumstances, all for the benefit of your business, your employees, and your clients. 

Strategic planning is about more than just what you want to accomplish, it defines how you’ll get there. Having a comprehensive, customized plan helps you drive endurance and sustainability in your business. It also provides employees with clarity and understanding for what you are trying to accomplish. People want to work for organizations that have a clear and defined plan. Taking the time to meet with stakeholders and define your long-term aspirations is empowering, evolving your business from reactive to proactive. Having a solid plan is also something you can return to when the environment changes, or you’re faced with new opportunities. 

48% of organizations fail to meet at least half of their strategic targets because they’re spending too little time on planning.You can avoid this by making organizational strategic planning a priority and communicating expectations to all key decision makers that it’s critical for everyone’s success. Here are some ways to get the most out of strategic planning. 

Create a SMART plan 

A strong plan helps you determine where your business is today, what you envision for your future, and how you’ll make that vision a reality. Your strategic plan should go beyond things like creating a mission statement or identifying values (although those are important). To drive more concrete results, consider doing the following during your strategic planning session: 

  • SWOT analysis: Assess your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats from a financial standpoint, competitor standpoint, even cultural standpoint. What are your growth projections and barriers to success? 
  • Benchmarking: Performance benchmarks are important – but are you measuring against the competition and broader industry? This is where an agency network can add value as they often have access to exclusive insights.  
  • Risk management: Identify potential risks and strategies for mitigating them. It can also be useful to create contingency plans for unforeseen events. 
  • Communication: Decide how you’ll share the plan with stakeholders and staff in addition to methods for gathering feedback and adjusting as needed. 
  • Technology and innovation: Enhance your business’ competitiveness, stay up-to-date with industry trends, and make modernization part of your values.  

At the end of the session, commit your strategy to writing, define an implementation schedule, and determine if your plan passes the SMART test: Specific, Measured, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound.  

Work with strategic planning experts 

Strategic planning is not a one-time exercise; it’s an ongoing process that requires continuous review, adaptation, and refinement. To strengthen your plan, partner with a trusted advisor, particularly one with expertise in the insurance industry. An expert perspective can ensure your plan is complete, help you regularly assess progress on your strategy, and drive accountability across your organization. 

A program like the FirstChoice Agency Accelerator takes a deep dive into all areas of agency management with strategic planning being the first step. The objective is to help your business achieve double digit, year-over-year, growth. 

Execute, measure and adjust 

Consider all the steps required to accomplish each long-term goal for strategy execution. What resources are required? Who’s accountable to lead the charge? What will it cost, and how will you measure progress? The ‘execution’ is where most strategic plans fall apart. 

If something isn’t working, learn from it and adjust where necessary. As the business environment evolves and new challenges arise, the strategic plan should be revisited and updated to reflect the changing landscape. Be proactive rather than reactive and you’ll unlock your business’s true potential. 

Having an advisor throughout the process is vital as they can help you determine the best way to make modifications without negatively impacting the rest of the strategy. An expert partner can also help you define your short-term vs. long-term plans, plus keep both plans on track.  

Is FirstChoice, a MarshBerry Company, right for you?  

Defining your company’s strategic plan is about more than just setting goals – it’s a roadmap for how your company will function, grow, and succeed. Working with an experienced agency network brings reassurance that you’re on the right track. 

FirstChoice, a MarshBerry Company, caters to insurance agency owners who prioritize talent investment, embrace challenging decision-making, want to develop and work toward a strategic plan, and are open to agility and empowerment. FirstChoice offers growth solutions tailored for agencies of all sizes. If you are not a FirstChoice member and are interested in learning more about the nation’s number one agency partner, visit 

Contact Diane Wagner
If you have questions about Today's ViewPoint, or would like to learn more about how MarshBerry can help your firm determine its path forward, please email or call Diane Wagner, Vice President, Education & Strategic Planning , at 704.831.8715.


MarshBerry continues to be the #1 sell side advisor in the industry (as ranked by S&P Global). If you’re considering selling your firm, we are the best choice to help you through the complicated process. If you don’t hire MarshBerry, hire a reputable advisor that can help you navigate one of the most important business decisions you will ever make. You will be much better off having an advisor in your corner that knows the industry than trying to do this on your own.