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What is strategic planning, and why is it important?


What is strategic planning, and why is it important?

You may be wondering how you can optimize your business to achieve its long-term goals – strategic planning may be the answer. What exactly is strategic planning, and why is it so important? Generally speaking, it is a formalized process of creating long-term tactics which aim at achieving the organization’s objectives.

Strategic planning both highlights the company’s main goals and shows why they are important. It can point to processes that can be improved to make the whole organization work better.  As the company grows, the strategic plan can help predict how the business will respond to the opportunities and threats it encounters in its environment.

Main parts of the strategic planning process

We consider strategic planning as a process that consists of inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes.

  • Inputs include data about the competitive environment, its opportunities, and risks. They are collected to better understand the market conditions and the importance of key players.  They also indicate the value of each part of the organization.
  • Activities are based  on the communication between the organization and personnel in order to understand and analyze the environment. Some crucial questions may be discussed to create an accurate strategy of the enterprise’s actions in current and future conditions.
  • Outputs include all the valuable documentation that defines the strategy and its implementation. It is usually compared with the strategic plan, which can be updated and used many times in the same organization.
  • Outcomes refer to the final result of the strategy introduced by the company. They allow you to assess the effectiveness of the actions taken and measure how much their results coincide with the original objectives of the plan.

Why is strategic planning important?

The strategic management process is about reaching its main goal by completing a series of smaller steps. By definition, a strategic plan should be based on actions carried out over three/four months. However, in everyday operations, this time is adjusted to a single enterprise’s profile and management style. This makes the use of this management method universal.

The process of establishing a strategic plan is equivalent to planning the development of the company.  The gradual realization of successive goals in itself sets the path to the company’s development.  Together with an objective analysis of the company’s weaknesses and strengths, it allows you to identify what is relevant and what is feasible in your environment.

As an in-depth analysis is at the heart of any strategy, it is essential to understand the macro, micro-environment, and company’s functioning from the inside.  This makes future strategic plans more efficient and relevant to actual needs (if you want to learn more about building a strategy based on
a marketing strategy example, you can read our other article). While creating a strategic plan,
a company can use multiple tools.  These include a SWOT analysis, a PEST analysis, or Porter’s five forces analysis, and many more scenario planning instruments.

In conclusion, strategic planning is a management method that should work well for most projects. It allows you to take advantage of opportunities arising from the company’s environment and activities as well as reduce risks.  By setting smaller, relatively easy objectives, strategic planning empowers the entire team.  Thus, reaching the main goals is much more accessible and leads to the company and employees’ during the process. (you can learn more about our strategy services).

Do not wait. Milestones consist of small development of steps, as does any strategy.

Check out also how to create a marketing strategy.

 

Kacper Górniak

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