As a business owner, strategic planning is crucial to the direction of your company and taking steps to achieve future success. It is a process defined by inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes. The overall process usually requires multiple iterations and includes discrete activities as well as continuous activities. Let’s discuss each of the four components of strategic planning in detail.
The inputs of a strategic plan involve data that is collected to assess the market and existing opportunities and risks. It involves market research, industry studies and review of publicly accessible documents on the competition. Key stakeholders and members of an organization may be polled to get an understanding of organizational values and objectives.
Activities involve meetings and other initiatives to determine an organization’s assessment of its business environment and what the strategic response should be. As you gather inputs and determine the resultant activities, your team should be pondering your overall business goals, the value your company provides, which product or service offerings should be included and excluded from your portfolio, what makes your organization stand out and which skills and resources should be developed. An experienced marketing guru such as Eyal Gutentag understands how to develop a strategic plan.
Strategic planning output includes documenting and communicating your business strategy and how it should be executed. This output should consist of the competitive assessment, governing policies and specific action to achieve the goals.
The actions that result from your outputs are known as outcomes. As the leader of your organization, you need to assess each outcome and see how they match up to overall goals. This will help you determine how effective the strategic plan was and where changes to policy and plans need to be made. You should also document unintended outcomes to fully understand and refine strategy.
As an entrepreneur and leader with hopes of future success, business strategy is important. You can’t afford to rest on laurels and ignore what’s happening in your industry. Strategic planning is an ongoing process that requires multiple iterations and continuous analysis and refinement.