The strategic planning process focuses on specifying the organization’s overall objectives and achieving the desired results through structured planning regarding achieving these. It’s about setting business priorities, consolidating operations, focusing resources, driving stakeholders towards achieving common goals, and establishing agreement for intended outcomes.
What used to be planning done for ten years is now done for two to three years while some organizations plan for a period of a year only, given the rapidly evolving business world.
Strategic planning is a step-wise process through which strategic planning consultants determine how to draw the route to the end goal. While there may not be any absolute rules as far as the right framework is concerned, most businesses follow a similar pattern because of some commonly prevailing attributes.
Steps of the Strategic Planning Process:
Therefore, a simple strategic plan can be broken down into five simple steps:
1. Determine where you are and get prepared:
It is very important for a business to have a pragmatic approach towards doing business; it should draw a line between how it wants to see itself versus people’s perception about it. In order to acquaint itself regarding where it actually stands it should conduct an internal and external audit of the market place. The most common tools in use are the PESTLE Analysis and the SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, threats) that help understand the market as well as the business position and its real competencies.
2. Pen down the Vision Statement & Mission Statement:
A vision statement is an expression of what an organization aims to achieve in the long term. It helps stakeholders; especially employees understand the meaning and purpose of the business. For instance, Instagram’s vision statement is ‘capture and share the world’s moments’, similarly, Make-A-Wish’s vision statement is ‘that people everywhere will share the power of a wish’.
In a nutshell, a well-crafted vision statement helps give the leadership and employees a shared goal by revealing what the organization hopes to achieve. Similarly, a mission statement helps define an organization’s goals in a few important ways; it defines what it does for its customers, its employees, the owners, the community, and the world at large.
Both mission and vision statements are vital for an effective strategic planning process.
3. Develop SMART Goals:
Write down SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) for a span of two to three years and not long, it can however still be done for a shorter period of time depending on the nature of business. Goals must be developed and means identified of achieving them through strategic planning activities.
4. Write down Strategic Options:
This is where you need to develop a strategy that would help achieve the organisation’s objectives and goals. This is done post input from stakeholders and conducting business analysis.
5. Streamline Operations and Review Progress:
It may seem like a simple strategic plan but in order to ensure that it performs as designed, regularly scheduled reviews are of utmost importance to track progress and alter the business operations where needed. A review should at least be planned once every quarter to monitor and review business progress.