Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Strategic Planning

What is strategic planning?

Entrepreneurs and business managers are often so preoccupied with immediate issues that they lose sight of their ultimate objectives. That's why a business review or preparation of a strategic plan is a virtual necessity

A strategy is an overall approach and plan. Strategy is the framework of choices that determine the nature and direction of an organization. So, strategic planning is the overall planning that facilitates the good management of a process. Strategic planning takes you outside the day-to-day activities of your organization or project. It provides you with the big picture of what you are doing and where you are going. Strategic planning gives you clarity about what you actually want to achieve and how to go about achieving it, rather than a plan of action for day-to-day operations.

A strategic plan should:
  • Serve as a framework for decisions or for securing support/approval.
  • Provide a basis for more detailed planning.
  • Explain the business to others in order to inform, motivate & involve.
  • Assist benchmarking & performance monitoring.
  • Stimulate change and become building block for next plan.

Strategic planning enables you to answer the following questions:
  • Who are we?
  • What capacity do we have/what can we do?
  • What problems are we addressing?
  • What difference do we want to make?
  • Which critical issues must we respond to?
  • Where should we allocate our resources?/what should our priorities be?

Only once these questions are answered, is it possible to answer the following:
  • What should our immediate objective be?
  • How should we organize ourselves to achieve this objective?
  • Who will do what when?

A strategic plan is not rigid. It does, however, give you parameters within which to work. That
is why it is important to:

  • Base your strategic planning process on a real understanding of the external environment
  • Use work you have already done to extend your understanding of the external environment and of your own capacity, strengths and weaknesses

A strategic plan should not be confused with a business plan. The former is likely to be a (very) short document whereas a business plan is usually a much more substantial and detailed document. A strategic plan can provide the foundation and frame work for a business plan.

A strategic plan is not the same thing as an operational plan. The former should be visionary, conceptual and directional in contrast to an operational plan which is likely to be shorter term, tactical, focused, implementable and measurable.