The main goal of strategic business planning is to identify where a company is, where it is going, and how management intends to get it there. It’s that simple. There is no difference between the small business strategic planning process and the process adopted by medium-sized enterprises and large corporations. The difference is only in the document that makes up a strategic plan.
No hard and fast rules exist to govern what a strategic business plan document looks like. As long as core principles are addressed, a plan can take virtually any form. There are six core principles to be considered:
1. SWOT Analysis
No strategic business plan is complete without an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). You might even make the case that a good strategic plan starts with SWOT. At any rate, company management cannot fully grasp where the organisation is going or how they will get there without analysing these four things.
2. Vision Statement
A vision statement is a normal part of an organisation’s initial business plan. However, a new vision statement is appropriate whenever fundamental changes are made through a strategic business plan. The new vision statement explains where management expects the organisation to be five or ten years down the road.
3. New Objectives
Virtually every strategic business plan includes a core set of new objectives. These should be top level objectives supported by lower level goals to be reached incrementally. New objectives could be anything from expanding core products and services to targeting a new stream of revenue.
4. External Influences
There are certain external influences that will impact a strategic business plan for good or bad. Examples of these influences include market share and configuration, general economic conditions, regulation, and taxation. External influences can change rapidly, so there must be flexibility built into the plan to account for such changes.
5. Actionable Implementation
Given that one of the goals of strategic business planning is to decide where an organisation is going, an actual implementation of the strategic plan should be included in the document. It is one thing to know where management wants the company to go; it’s entirely different to have executable plans for getting there.
6. Resource Analysis
Finally, a doable strategic business plan includes an analysis of available resources. Where new resources have to be allocated to implement the plan, said resources and how these will be allocated should be included in the document. Resources can include everything from finances to staffing to marketing.
As an expert in strategic business planning, I have worked with clients looking to relocate to the UK or expand existing operations here. I specialise in growth strategies for SMEs with turnover of up to £10 million annually. However, I am available to work with organisations of any size.
If your company needs a new direction – or perhaps you just need a bit more focus to move forward – perhaps strategic business planning is something your management team should consider.
By Peter Smith.
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