Learn the strategic planning process and the tools that are used in development and implementation of a strategic plan.
We all have plans, dreams, visions, ambitions or projects that we have set out to achieve. So to we need a plan – strategy- and a road map to help us realize our desired objectives. This is why such a plan is necessary. Consider therefore the following Strategic planning definition as well as its process and tools a business manager should know:
What is strategic planning
Financial experts define a strategic plan as simply being a road map or avenue to grow a business or company so as to realize the targeted objectives in a specified period of time. It involves having clear objectives for a mission and laying down a workable plan of action.
Strategic planning can be defined as a set of management techniques that are used to set priorities, focus energy and resources of the company, including the company’s employees and stakeholders into achieving the intended objectives. Additionally, it helps to assess and adjust the company’s direction and ways of doing things to match the ever dynamic business needs.
With proper planning, the organization is able to clearly define its objectives, values, responsibilities, mission and vision. In addition, the organization will be able to do a quick analysis of its progress to know its current position and how far they are still to go.
The Strategic Planning Process
In today’s highly competitive business environment, certain aspects such as budget planning are insufficient for a large company to survive and prosper. To guarantee survival, the company must engage in proper strategic planning. To do this, they must develop a plan by following the strategic process. It involves a series of clearly outlined steps. Below are the steps involved in the process:
1. Mission and Objectives
This is the first step in the planning process. The firm must clearly outline its mission, vision and objectives. It must state what it really wants to achieve through it operations. It must have a clear vision of where it wants to be in the future. Guided by the business vision and mission, the firm’s leaders can define measurable financial and strategic objectives.
2. Environmental Scan
The company should conduct a thorough environmental scan. By this is mean conducting an internal analysis of the firm, an analysis of the firm’s industry and external macro environment. By conducting the environmental scan the company will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats otherwise known as SWOT analysis.
3. Formulation of the Strategy
After gathering lots of information from both the internal and external analyses, the firm should match its strengths to the opportunities that it has identified, while addressing its weaknesses and external threats.
4. Strategy Implementation
After the formulation of the plan, the company can have it implemented by means of programs, budgets, and special procedures. Implementation involves gathering of the firm’s resources, setting up a special committee to oversee its implementation and motivation of the staff to achieve the stipulated objectives. The success or failure of the company will solely lay on how the plan will be executed.
5. Monitoring and Evaluation
The implementation of the strategy must be monitored and adjustments made accordingly. It is crucial to monitor the progress of the plan to know what is happening and what is not happening. For this the business needs to have the right human resources in place. It must also implement strong risk management.
In order to develop a strong plan you will need to incorporate strong planning tools. Some of the basic strategic tools that can be used in the planning process include; Visioning, metrics/charts, a strategic SWOT analysis, affinity diagrams and inter-relationship digraphs.
Planning is a very essential aspect of our lives. It will determine if you attain success and greatness or if you will fall flat on your belly. Any wrong planning will have a deleterious effect on the company’s future.
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Bringing a business consultant on board to help with your strategic planning can help to streamline the process. Click here for business consultants by state.