Strategic Planning Essay

2316 words - 9 pages

What Is Strategic Planning?Strategic planning and business development are intrinsically linked; the latter cannot be successfully accomplished without regard to the former.A strategic plan should not be confused with a business plan. The former is likely to be a very short document whereas the latter is likely to be much more substantial and detailed. The former provides the foundation and framework for the latter.If you don't know where your business is going, any road will get you there. Small business owners are often so preoccupied with immediate issues that they lose sight of their ultimate objectives. That's why a business review or preparation of a strategic plan is a virtual necessity. This may not be a recipe for success, but without it a business is much more likely to fail. A sound strategic plan should:- Serve as a framework for decisions or for securing support/approval,- Explain the business to others in order to inform, motivate and involve,- Assist benchmarking and performance monitoring,- Stimulate change and become building block for next plan.A strategic plan should be visionary, conceptual and directional in contrast to an operational plan, which is likely to be shorter term, tactical, tightly focused, implementable and measurable. A strategic plan must be realistic and attainable.Essential points to observe during review and planning processA critical review of past performance by the owners and management of a business and the preparation of a plan beyond normal budgetary horizons require a certain attitude of mind and pre-disposition. Some essential points which should to be observed during the review and planning process include the following:* Relate to the medium term i.e. 2/4 years,* Be undertaken by owners/directors,* Focus on matters of strategic importance,* Be separated from day-to-day work,* Be realistic, detached and critical,* Distinguish between cause and effect,* Be reviewed periodically,* Be written down.Precursor To Developing A Strategic PlanIt is desirable to clearly identify the current status, objectives and strategies of an existing business or the latest thinking in respect of a new venture. Correctly defined, these can be used as the basis for a critical examination to probe existing or perceived Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities (SWOT). This then leads to strategy development covering the following issues discussed in more detail below:- Vision- Mission- Objectives- Values- Strategies- Goals- ProgramsKEY STEPSVisionThe first step is to develop a realistic Vision for the business. This should be presented as a pen picture of the business in three or more years time in terms of its likely physical appearance, size, activities etc. Answer the question: "if someone from Mars visited the business, what would they see (or sense)?" Consider its future products, markets, customers, processes, location, staffing etc.MissionThe nature of a business is often expressed in terms of its Mission...

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