Strategic planning is an organizational management activity that helps align priorities, focus resources, and routes all stakeholders towards achieving business goals. It is a disciplined effort that further shapes all activities towards achieving intended outcomes and assesses the organization’s directions in response to changing environments and helps create the marketing strategy accordingly. In simple words, it helps identify what the organization is aiming to become and develops necessary steps needed to reach that level.
The 5 basic strategic planning steps are:
1. Formulate a Business Vision:
Formulating a vision is an essential part of the strategic planning activities. This is the goal setting stage where you specify the vision of your business and identify the long term and short term objectives. Later you have to ascertain how these goals will be accomplished. These goals should not just be realistic but should also match the values set forth through your vision. The mission statement comes next which is part of the strategic planning steps.
2. Collating and Analysing Information:
Business analysis is the key towards understanding the market and your position in it as this stage would become the basis for later stages that follow in the strategic planning process model. Here the focus should be on understanding business needs for a sustainable business which is expected to become a going concern and identifying strategies that will fuel the organisation further. Performing a SWOT analysis and/or a PESTLE analysis help identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business as well as the state of the external environment it operates in.
3. Developing a Strategy:
Once the analysis has been completed, it’s time to get to some action after a thorough review! Here you should ascertain what resources the business currently has that can help achieve the defined goals and objectives. Critical points should be prioritized and core competencies acknowledged, after which the strategy should be formulated. Having said this, it is imperative that alternate plan of action is thought out in advance for each plan in case the economic conditions change. At this stage, the strategic planning process model is used that simplifies business plans based on their requirements.
4. Strategy Implementation:
This is a critical action stage in the strategic management process. From making everyone aware about their roles in achieving business objectives to implementing the strategy in accordance with the business structure, a clear vision is achieved and often the yearly planning is done. The plan is then executed with all employees geared and funding made for the business.
Once the strategy has been executed, evaluation must be made an ongoing process to gauge business progress. This should include continuous review of internal and external issues, performance measurements, and rectifying issues as they occur. It is important for the parameters to be defined that are to be measured and quantified. Similarly, progress can be measured through comparing actual results versus the plan that had been put in place so as to ascertain progress. If the actions have not been successful take corrective action and if it does not work completely it’s time to repeat the strategic planning process again, meanwhile, any data acquired in this process would help future strategies.