A business strategy helps companies define and share the direction they will take in the future. Strategic planning involves the formulation and implementation of the major goals and initiatives taken by an organization’s manager on behalf of stakeholders based on the resources of the organization.
Strategic management provides an overall direction to the enterprise and setting the organization’s objectives and allocating resources to meet those objectives.
Strategic planning also takes the work of various departments within the organization into account in order to devise data-driven business models. It is essential for strategic management inside an organization and thus, there are many corporate training programs that teach business strategy planning.
What is Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning can be defined as a tool for documenting and defining the direction of your company or business. A strategic plan is a business growth plan that evaluates the current standing of a company and where it needs to head. Strategic plans also outline the company’s core values, vision, mission, and long-term goals.
This kind of business strategy for growth also takes into account the actions you have planned to meet your goals and also your strategic objectives for each phase of the plan after execution. Strategic planning can be used to progressively increase revenue, manage expected risks/ threats, or meet short-term business goals.
For instance, a company might wish to become the top supplier of a product in a particular geographic location. In order to achieve this goal, the company must take strategic action. If you are in charge of this company, then you would be recommended to build a strategic plan with the help of evaluation techniques, such as SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats).
Foundationally, strategic planning forms as a part of your business growth plan. Good strategic plans can provide clarity and focus for both employees and stakeholders. A huge percentage of employees believe that companies do not communicate their goals effectively. Strategic planning can lay out the roadmap for a business for the next few years and then formulate micro plans that will help the business achieve its quarterly or yearly objectives.
Strategic planning is a process of planning ahead by looking into the future and what is expected from not only your company but also from the economy, market and political scenario in the coming years. The process of building a strategic plan incorporates analyzing goals and the current condition of the business to brainstorm about how the business can perform better.
Finally, a strategic plan leads to an official document that finalizes a company’s goals and objectives for the future.
What is the Need for Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning is essential for businesses because:
1. Strategic planning allows businesses to evaluate the future and prepare based on what the future holds. With this, companies can prepare contingency plans in case of unfavorable circumstances or take precautionary measures to avoid the threat completely.
2. Strategic plans help companies in defining the direction they will follow. This kind of business strategic development establishes objectives that are realistic. As strategic plans also take a company’s mission and vision into account, clashes between business interests and the company vision are avoided.
Corporate strategic planning helps a company grow along with its employees by compensating them and by proactive communication.
1. Strategic planning helps in increasing the operational efficiency or performance of a business. With the help of business strategic development, companies can develop a roadmap that can lay down the actions that need to be taken to increase or optimize their performance. Strategic plans help stakeholders make effective business decisions and also these plans help the management determine the budget and resources required to achieve performance goals.
2. Strategic plans help in increasing the profitability of a company and its market share. Companies can get data-driven insights on patterns and trends in the market or consumer behavior, thus planning out their services and products accordingly to increase the chance of their success. Good strategic planning does just this by taking the condition of the market or consumer segment into account and then establishing a strategy that accurately targets the best outcomes and leads to more sales revenue.
3. Strategic planning makes businesses more durable and helps protect them in troubling times. A good business strategy can come in extremely useful when a company is in debt or suffering losses as the strategic plan has prepared them for it or has contingencies in place. The market value and the position of companies also keep fluctuating, however, with a good strategic plan, businesses can retain or even improve their positions in the market.
4. Finally, strategic plans help motivate employees and keep them engaged with the company’s vision and mission. By keeping employees motivated, companies can derive more value from them.
Happier employees perform better. Strategic plans should strive to be inspiring to members at all levels of an organization.
How Does Strategic Planning Affect a Business?
Strategic planning helps both employees and business leaders. For example, if you own a small business, then you can formulate the direction of your business. Similarly, if you work for an organization, then you can help it achieve its goals by helping it create a strategic plan.
Strategic plans outline where the business is going as accurately as possible, taking anomalies and abnormal market behavior into account. However, strategic plans do not simply just identify where the business must go. These plans also lay out how to start executing the plan and how to eventually sustain the plan.
These types of business strategies also ensure that you make the most out of your resources and finances. In the case of a business, with strategic planning, the business can plan out how to make the best use of its machines or manpower to get the highest results. Strategic planning in business also involves sharing the vision and objectives with stakeholders and employees to keep them informed.
The Elements of Strategic Planning
Here are the essential elements of strategic planning:
- Vision statement: Is a business document that states the current and future objectives of an organization. A vision statement should also stay aligned with the company’s interests in the future.
- Mission Statement: It is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company. A mission statement describes the goal of an organization, its operations and reason for its existence. Mission statements help you reach your vision.
- Core Values: They define the behavior and beliefs of your business. These core beliefs help plan out an ethical model to achieve organizational goals. Core values are also essential for the mission and vision of a company.
- SWOT Analysis: It helps businesses investigate and evaluate their condition. This technique can be used for comparing one’s business with competitors or for analyzing one’s condition in the market. SWOT analysis helps you determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that your business has.
- Long-term Goals: They are smaller portions of the larger vision and define how the business can keep gaining momentum. Goals are set as certain milestones for a period of time and these align with the mission and vision statements of the business. How the company will be achieving these goals is also defined alongside the goals themselves during strategic planning.
- Yearly Objectives: They are smaller sections of long-term goals. These goals are set for a time period of one year. These yearly objectives can be financial targets, sales targets, or performance/production targets. Yearly objectives should be realistic, accurate, measurable, and further broken down into short-term goals.
- Action Plans: They are specific plans that are developed for achieving a specific goal or objective. These plans define how exactly the action will be carried out, the tasks involved, and also specify additional details of the objective. The more details an action plan has, the more control the strategic plan will have over your business while in a less defined action plan, the managers and team members have more control.
Steps Involved in Creating Strategic Plans
Here are the steps involved in creating a strategic plan:
- Determining the company’s position: First, the condition of the business or market position of the company should be defined. For this, data from the market, customers, employees, and other sources should be analyzed.
- Developing the company’s strategy: Secondly, the current condition of the company is taken into account and the next step is planned out. During this phase, the path the company will be taking is decided and evaluated.
- Building the company’s strategic plan: Finally, the strategic plan will be developed after understanding the direction the business will be taking. The final strategic plan will have provisions and planned action for the next 3 to 5 years as well as short-term goals.
How are Strategic Plans Implemented?
Once a strategic plan is created, you must then move on to sharing it with your organization and employees. The objectives of the strategic plan should get associated with daily work and employees from all levels of the organization must be briefed about the new business strategy.
Specific departments and team members must be given clear priorities so that they focus on company objectives and help the company perform better. Thus, creating a strategic plan is not all. We should also monitor and manage the strategic plan once it is deployed.
Strategic plans are also official documents that should be shared so that everyone inside the organization can understand how essential their responsibilities and duties are. This will motivate employees to also perform better as they will find out how they will be contributing clearly and precisely.
Strategic plans should be used with project management tools for making full use of strategic management. Why? It is because you can easily track your future goals and current achievements to keep tabs on your progress.
Strategic plans are created for 3 to 5 years but you must also make changes to the plans annually or even quarterly to optimize them. Strategic plans are not permanent and monitoring is essential to fine tune these business strategies. There are always new risks and opportunities that appear in the market.
More than anything, there are various abnormal events that change everything for a business. This is why updating your strategic plans after deployment is essential. Strategic plans must always align with current business priorities and you should make whatever changes you need in your short-term goals to meet your business requirements.
By and Large
Strategic management is an essential part of training and development for future managers and business leaders. Strategic plans help you define the goals of your company and assist you in achieving them. With a solid strategy, you can develop a blueprint that can help you achieve your long-term objectives and targets in no time.
There are many corporate e-learning solutions that teach strategic planning. In today’s data-driven world where other companies are also using strategic plans, any business would be bound to lose out to competition without good business strategies. Strategic planning helps businesses gain crucial insights. Also, it helps in managing the performance of micro plans once the strategy is executed.