Strategic Planning Basics

Create an effective business strategy plan by following these key strategic planning basics

The strategic planning of a business is important for companies seeking to chart a path for future success. The purpose of the strategic planning process is to inspire businesses to envision broad, key goals and determine how best to achieve those goals. Business strategy planning is typically an organization-wide process that intentionally includes all members of an organization and ensures all employees work together to achieve common goals.

An effective business strategy plan assesses the current and future business environment and focuses on organizational core competencies. Strategic plans should be flexible and easily adaptable to changing business variables. Before creating a strategic management plan for your business, consider these keys to strategic planning basics:

1. Begin the business planning process by reviewing your company's market position and conducting a thorough analysis of business strengths and weaknesses.

2. Using results of your business strategy analysis, set strategic goals to guide the future of your organization.

3. After developing strategic business planning goals, create an action plan that lays out how your business will accomplish its strategic goals.

Conduct a comprehensive business analysis to begin the strategic planning process

Before you determine where you want to go, you need to determine where you are. Conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to objectively evaluate your current business. Review external factors and driving forces that may affect your business, like economic, environmental, political or social factors.

Set specific, measurable and realistic strategic planning goals

Effective strategic planners use the SWOT and market analysis data to develop conclusions about future business direction. From these conclusions, strategic planners develop business goals. Productive strategic planning goals are specific, measurable, realistic, timely and acceptable to all involved in your company's strategic planning process,

Create a business strategy plan to accomplish strategic goals

A business strategy plan (often called an action plan) lays out the plans for accomplishing each of the strategic goals. Each goal may include several objectives or specific results with corresponding tactics on how to achieve the goal. Your action plan should also include specific timelines and staff responsibilities associated with each objective.

  • The format of your business strategy planning meeting is an integral factor in developing a dynamic strategic plan. Choose a location away from your normal office environment and turn off all cell phones and PDAs. Invite someone from outside of your company to service as an impartial facilitator. Set ground rules at the beginning of the strategic planning process, including important communications rules like all ideas are good ideas and all opinions are respected.

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