So what is strategy, and is it different from business tactics? Yes, it is different. Strategy is perspective – it is vision and direction. So, strategic planning answers questions such as “What should the organization do?” and “What are the objectives and how to achieve them?” The strategic plan must be simple, well written and concise, and based on real and current situations. The organization must always give some leeway to the plan and make it reasonably flexible.
The strategic plan should allow you to look at things and make provisions for them before they happen, which gives you and your organization the advantage and the edge in today’s competitive market. It gives you the benefit of seeing things more clearly and also helps in making more informed decisions.
Strategic planning is a task that is performed by senior level managers or business owners. It is an extremely sensitive part of their responsibility. It can be said that strategic planning is the process that is undertaken by the leaders of the organization for charting a course or plan of action, which is in accordance with the organization’s principles and objectives to reach the targeted goal.
Now that we have discussed what strategy and strategic planning is, we can talk about the key elements of strategic planning.
Strategic Planning Task Force
It is important to develop or form a core team of leaders who will be involved in strategic planning and its creation. Ideally, there should be leaders at every level of the organization who can become a part of the strategic planning “task force”. But this may not be possible in all organizations. So what do these organizations do?
They can get in touch with various people from different trade associations, business owners who are successful, and a few leaders from their own organization, who can form a task force of about 6 – 8 people. These people will help you work out a strategic plan and also improve any existing strategic plan that you may have. These are the people who are going to give your strategic plan a major overhaul. It is important that your strategic planning task force is diversified, as this will improve the planning process, because there will be a variety of experiences.
How to Go about the Strategic Planning Process
The strategic planning process should be simple – it is not brain surgery. There are three basic questions that you should ask when formulating your strategic plan. These questions act as a guide throughout your process of planning. Ask yourself: What is your sales plan and how are you going to work at it? Who is your customer and how will you identify them? And, what makes your company different from the rest? If you keep these three questions in mind, your strategic planning process will be much simpler.
It is very important for any organization to know what its product is and what the sales strategy has to be to successfully promote it. Also, every organization must know their customers and their buying behavior. Each organization is different and unique. It is very important that the organization knows what its unique selling point (USP) is, and what makes it different from the others.
Implementing the Strategic Plan
Once your strategic plan is in place, the next step is to put it into action. After all, what good is a plan on paper and not in action? Implement your plan proactively.
Once you put your plan in action, you can work towards improvising or changing it according to your needs. Since the goals and aims of your organization can often change, your strategies and plans should also be flexible and allow a certain amount of change. Keep monitoring your strategic plan to make sure it is effective and working for you.