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What is the strategic planning process?

It is helpful to view the strategic planning process as four broad stages.

Determine your current position by reviewing data, ideally from both inside and outside of the business to get a clear picture of your starting point. It’s important to consider data from multiple sources – clients/customers, employees, suppliers, industry bodies and marketplace statistics are all valuable sources of data.

Develop your strategy and define the strategic cornerstones that will act as your reference point for all your decisions. You will also need to think about funding any changes you plan to make and setting targets so you can check how you are progressing.

Build the plan and share it with the wider team. Strategic planning sets the high-level goals for the business and its general direction of travel. Your wider team need to understand what this means for their area of the business so they can create organisational level plans that enable them to work towards your goals.

Work the plan, implementing changes and measuring results. It’s important to monitor the impact of the changes so you can celebrate successes along the way and re-align anything that’s not quite working.

Results are fed back into the process to determine your new position – how has it changed and has it moved in the right direction? The iterative nature of the process is the reason it is sometimes known as the strategic planning cycle.

Some organisations choose to manage the whole process on their own; others ask external advisors and facilitators to help them with certain stages. Strategic planning isn’t something you can wholly outsource – after all, it’s about the future of your business and the whole management team needs to take ownership of it. You will want an advisor to work alongside you, complementing the skills of your management team and providing fresh insights; someone who will remain independent whilst having your best interests at heart.

Get in touch with our business consultants to find out more about how they can help you with your strategic planning.

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