Strategic planning is a comprehensive process for defining your business strategy, or direction, and making decisions in allocating resources. These skills are essential and the keys to success for any business and helps in determining what your business should become and how it can best achieve that goal. Planning and looking towards the future will help you steer your business towards success.
Developing a plan to determine the future of your business can seem like a daunting task. Like most things, however, developing a strategic plan can be broken down into a series of smaller, easy-to-tackle steps.
DETERMINE WHERE YOU ARE.
Knowing where you are is a necessary step for moving forward. You want an accurate picture of your business's current standing. To accomplish this, conduct external and internal audits to get a clear understanding of the marketplace, the competitive environment, and your organization’s competencies.
IDENTIFY WHAT'S IMPORTANT.
Once you know where you are, you need a direction to go in. Determine where you want to take your business in the long-term. What are your goals? What is your vision for your business's future? Once you have these clearly defined, you can determine your priority issues. Your priority issues are the issues that are crucial to the overall well-being of your enterprise and require the full and immediate attention of the entire management team. Your strategic plan will focus on these issues.
DEFINE WHAT YOU MUST ACHIEVE.
Definite the expected objectives that clearly state what your organization must achieve to address the priority issues.
DETERMINE WHO IS ACCOUNTABLE.
Figuring out strategies, plans of action, and budgets are all steps towards effectively communicating how you will allocate your resources. These help you determine where to allocate your time, human capital, and finances to best achieve the defined objectives.
REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW.
The key to strategic planning is that it never ends. You must make sure the plan plays out as designed and the only way to do that is to hold regularly scheduled formal reviews of the process which allows you to refine and adapt your strategy as necessary. Having these reviews as often as every quarter will keep your plan, and your business, on track.
With careful and strategic planning, you can steer your business towards greater successes by reaching your goals and redefining them as your business grows.
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