Any business consultant, guide or course will tell you the same thing: strategic planning is an inevitable aspect of business processes. When you do it well, strategic planning will set your business for success.
Is there a simpler way to cover this process without losing the passion for starting or maintaining a business? Of course there is!
First, let’s see what strategic planning actually is. Then, we’ll suggest 10 steps that will lead you to the perfect strategic plan.
Strategic Planning: The Origins
Strategic planning can clarify and communicate the goals of the organization, as well as the steps towards the achievement of those goals. As a concept, strategic management has its roots back in the 1960s. At that point, the dominant theme was limited to budgetary planning and control. It rapidly evolved to include long-term planning and environmental scanning.
At this point, strategic management is all about getting competitive advantage through innovation. So that’s what the plan should aim at.
The 10-Step Approach to Strategic Planning
1. Develop a Team
You cannot do strategic planning all by yourself. You will need experts in economy, and probably writing.
If you already have people in your company who can become part of this team, you should inform them about this planning process as soon as possible.
If you don’t have enough talent to count on, you can always hire experts. There are strategic planning services that can offer you a full package. But you can also only hire the talent you currently lack, using freelance websites such as Freelancer.com
2. Plan the Process
Before you make any steps forward, you need to plan how the strategic planning process is going to be performed. You need a common vision, strategies, and objectives that everyone from the team agrees upon. Then, you can take those endpoints, compare them to the starting points, and develop a plan that fills the gap in between.
During this preparatory period, you’ll need to arrange few planning meetings with the staff and the Board. These meetings will help you decide how you’ll arrange team and distribute the responsibilities. To do that, you can use a tool like Trello. It allows you to delegate tasks to the team, so you’ll keep the process synchronized.
3. Evaluate the External Conditions
Strategic planning is not just about the goals you want to achieve. It’s about how you fit those goals into the current and future environment. These are the elements of the external environment you need to consider:
If, for example, you’ll face a climate of demands for businesses to be socially responsible, you’ll develop a strategy that fits into that environment.
4. Analyze the Internal Conditions
The current performance of your organization also matters. These are the factors to consider:
- Financial resources
- Human resources
- Current methods of operation
All internal factors, whether they are unfavorable or favorable, should be analyzed. Your basically conducting a SWOT analysis, covering the strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats from the current position.
5. Look at Your Competitors
The strategic approach of your competitors is important for your own strategy. Take a look at their print materials, websites, and especially social media. See how their customers perceive the company’s strengths and weaknesses.
How can you develop a strategy that makes your brand different?
Remember: strategic planning has evolved from simple budgetary planning to gaining competitive advantage through innovation. Innovation and uniqueness – that’s what you should focus on.
6. Survey Your Target Audience
How do your target buyers currently see your products or services? What would they like you to improve? What other services or products would they like your brand to offer?
Your sales team should scan the opinions of your target audience, so they can help you develop a strategic plan that meets and exceeds their expectations.
7. Define or Review the Organization’s Mission
This is your foundational rock. If you already have a mission, you’ll need to review it in accordance with the current circumstances. If you’re working on developing a startup, you’ll need to define its mission.
- Identify the core principles that the entire organization shares.
- Identify the organizational values that affect the community
- Establish or reestablish the company’s mission.
8. Assign Team Members to Complete Sections of the Plan
With all information you have at this point, it’s safe to start writing the plan. Each section should be completed by an adequate employee or a team.
You should provide them with a template, so they will have specific guidelines to follow. Trello is still a very effective tool to use at this point. Request frequent updates, so you’ll make sure each part of the team is on the right track.
9. Assemble and Combine
When all parts of the whole are prepared, you’ll need to combine them into a uniformed strategic plan. There’s no specific format that has to be followed. However, it’s important to make the plan clear and straightforward.
10. Implement and Monitor
Finally, you’ll start implementing the strategic plan. It includes broad goals, but they are not broken into specific steps. That’s part of the functional processes within the organization. The strategic plan will help you figure them out.
Don’t forget to review the progress and re-evaluate the objectives according to the results and the environment. Strategic planning is not done with the development of the plan. It’s an everlasting process that evolves along the organization’s growth.
Strategic Planning Improves Your Chances for Success
Strategic planning is not a simple process. It involves quite a bit of work from you and your team. Still, it’s a necessary thing to do. With the right approach, you’ll be able to develop an effective B2B marketing strategy that will push your organization to growth.
How can I plan a strategic process for a business?
- Develop a team
- Plan the process
- Evaluate external conditions
- Analyze internal conditions
- Check your competition
- Survey your target audience
- Define/Review the company mission
- Divide up the workload
- Implement and monitor
About the Author
Kurt Walker is a well-known name when it comes to essay writing. He has been a research supervisor at Edugeeksclub.com for about three years. He’s also a data analyst and content writer at xpertwriters.com and he has the passion for topics like education, technology, robotics and inspiration.