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Important Steps of the Strategic Planning Process

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Important Steps of the Strategic Planning Process

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Every organization should have a strategic plan, but the number of companies that try to operate without one may surprise you. According to OnStrategy research, 86% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy, and 95 percent of the average workforce is unaware of their organization’s strategy. Since so many businesses lack in these areas, strategic planning can help you get ahead of the competition.

Understanding Strategic Planning

Strategic management is the process of consistently and continuously planning, leading, and evaluating all of the actions required to help an organization reach its goals and objectives. In other words, strategic management is defined as the development of plans, as well as the execution of activities relating to matters of vital, pervasive, or critical importance to the entire organization.

Strategic management helps organizations achieve small goals that will eventually lead to the company’s main goal. It is a review and planning approach employed to make thoughtful decisions about the future of an organization to ensure its success. From the Greek word “strategos”, which means “generalship”, comes the English word “strategy”.

This process entails correctly defining the company’s mission as well as assessing its current position and competitive status. It necessitates a well-structured plan for allocating time, human capital, and financial resources optimally. Following a strategic planning process allows organizations to improve business outcomes and avoid taking on unexpected risks due to a lack of foresight and a futuristic approach.

A Joint Undertaking of the Board and the Personnel

For strategic planning, there are various approaches and action steps. It is a collaborative effort between the Board and the staff, which can be accomplished by forming a special strategic planning committee consisting of members from both parties and delegating the proper balance of authority and responsibility for the effort. Some of it can be done by the committee, but Board and staff planning retreats will almost certainly be required at each stage of the planning process.

Before you initiate the strategic planning process, it is critical to understand some ground rules to ensure your and your organization’s success. Here are a few steps:

Establish Your Strategic Position

The foundation is laid during this stage of preparation for all subsequent work. You must first determine where you are to decide where you need to go and how you will get there. Identify key strategic issues by speaking with company executives, gathering customer insights, and collecting industry and market data. This will provide you with a clear picture of your market position as well as customer insight.

It can also be beneficial to review or create, if you haven’t already, your company’s vision and mission statements, to provide yourself and your team with clear information on what success would look like. In addition, go over your company’s core values to remind yourself of how you intend to achieve these goals.

To begin, identify the issues that must be addressed using industry and market data, including customer insights and current/future demand. Document your organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities such as ways your organization can grow to meet market needs and threats like your competition.

Use a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) diagram as a guideline for your initial analysis. You can categorize your findings under a SWOT Analysis to clarify your current position with input from executives, customers, and external market data.

As you generate this information, your market’s unique strategic position will become clear, and you’ll be able to start bolstering a few key strategic objectives. These goals are frequently set with a three- to the five-year time scale in mind.

Prioritize Your Targets

Once you’ve determined your current market position, it’s time to set goals and objectives to help you get there. Your goals should align with your organization’s objectives.

  1. Which of these initiatives will have the greatest influence on our company’s long-term goals and improve our market position?
    Prioritize your goals by asking important questions like:
  2. What are the most important types of impacts, for example, customer acquisition or revenue?
  3. Which initiatives are the most pressing?
  4. What will we need to do to achieve our objectives?
  5. How will we track our progress and determine whether we met our objectives?

To assist you in achieving the long-term strategic goals and actions listed in step one, objectives should be clear and measurable.

Formulate a Plan

Now is the time to put together a strategic plan to achieve your objectives. This step entails choosing the strategies required to achieve your goals, setting a deadline, and outlining roles and duties.

An efficient approach for visualizing your complete plan is strategy mapping. As they function top-down, strategy maps make it simple to view company operations and identify potential improvement areas. A cost of opportunity trade-off often occurs while making strategic decisions. For instance, your business can opt to spend less money on customer service so that it can invest more in designing a simple user interface.

Be prepared to reject efforts that won’t improve your long-term strategic position by using your values and mission statement, and set priorities as justification.

Manage and Implement a Plan of Action

You are now prepared to put your plan into action. To introduce the plan to the organization, first share the necessary materials derived from the above steps with them. The actual work then starts.

You can create a viable plan from your overarching strategy by mapping your processes. Dashboards for key performance indicators (KPIs) can be used to effectively explain team duties. This systematic methodology makes it clear who is accountable for each completion and ownership stage. Establish regular evaluations with each contributor’s manager and set checkpoints to make sure you’re on track.

Monitor and Revise the Strategy

The option to re-evaluate your priorities and make course corrections based on prior successes or failures is provided by the plan’s last stage; review and revision.

Determine the KPIs your team has achieved every quarter and how you can keep doing so, modifying your plan as necessary. To make sure you stay on track for long-term success, it’s crucial to re-evaluate your priorities and strategic position every year.

Track your progress with balanced scorecards to fully comprehend the success of your company and carry out your strategic objectives. Your goal and vision may need to alter over time; a good time to think about these changes, create a new plan, and reimplement is during an annual evaluation.

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Alex Shvarts is the CEO of FundKite, one of the fastest-growing FinTech companies in New York that provide funding to small businesses across the U.S. Founded in 2015, Alex’s business utilizes a boutique funding style, offering business owners a flexible variety of products and services that can be tailored to fit their individual financial situations. Prior to founding FundKite, Alex engineered and sold proprietary technology to the greater FinTech industry.

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