How to Develop a Strategic Plan

A well-planned business strategic plan helps employers and CEOs to identify their goals and objectives, and device innovative ways to achieve them. It is also a kind of source of motivation for employees who know what goals are they working towards and what degree of efficiency is expected out of them. It can be said that a strategic business plan is a quintessential element when it comes to the success of any enterprise. This article will focus on the ways of how to develop a strategic plan.

First and foremost you must state company objectives precisely that will help you through the process of SWOT analysis. SWOT basically stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Jot down all the positive points or strengths of your company and find out the ways how your organization will capitalize on the strengths. Then, go ahead and analyze the weaknesses of your company. Make a list of all the factors that may prevent your company from achieving its goals. Chalk out plans on how to wipe out these weaknesses. Next step is to identify the various opportunities of your company. Discuss how these opportunities can benefit your company and recognize all the external situations that might prove to be helpful in achieving the organizational goals. Finally, it’s time to recognize the threats. Analyze all the external situations that may damage the growth of your company. Find out the varied ways by which you can eliminate all these threats.

Once you have successfully completed the process of SWOT analysis, examine its result and if you find that the objective listed are not possible to achieve based on the company’s external environment and its internal state of affairs, you will need to come up with another objective and repeat the SWOT analysis.  Finally, when you managed to discover objectives that is attainable, write down a strategic business plan. To develop the elements of your strategic plan, use the information gathered from the SWOT analysis.

Now, once you have successfully done your SWOT analysis, the next step is to develop the business elements of your strategic plan. You need to come up with a vision statement that should state precisely and concisely where the organization wants to stand in the future. Your vision statement must be documented in a way that it should inspire your employees and shareholders.

Like the vision statement, you also need a mission statement. The mission statement must focus on the present and must define your company’s customers, critical processes and desired level of performance. Identifying the critical factors is the next important step when it comes to learning how to develop a strategic plan, as they are important when it comes to achieving the vision and mission statements of your company. Few examples of critical factors include profitability, achieving credibility and employing cost-effective manufacturing processes, obtaining necessary resources for the functioning of the company, among others.

Once you have identified your company’s critical factors, it’s time to create actions and strategies. Take each identified critical factor and break it down into the actions and strategies essential for execution. Arrange factors by order of priority. Next is to chalk out an execution schedule for your strategies. Your priority-based execution schedule must include start date, milestone date and completion date for each strategy. In order to simplify the process, adhere to different software like, “Automate Your Business Plan 2008” or workbooks like Neville Lake’s “The Strategic Planning Workbook”.

This is the process or the ways by which you can learn how to develop a strategic plan. However, at any point of time avoid the urge to change a business plan every time a new opportunity crops up, for it is one of the most leading reasons for business failures.

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