Entrepreneurs are often so pre occupied with immediate issues that they lose sight of their ultimate objectives. That is why a business review or preparation of a strategic plan is a virtual necessity. This may not be a recipe for success, but without it a business is much more likely to fail.
A sound plan should:
- Serve as a framework for decisions or for securing support
- Provide a basis for more detailed planning.
- Explain the business to others in order to inform, motivate and involve.
- Assist benchmarking & performance monitoring.
- Stimulate change and become building block for next plan.
A strategic plan can provide the foundation and frame work for a business plan. A satisfactory strategic plan must be realistic and attainable so as to allow managers and entrepreneurs to think strategically and act operationally.
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Strategic planning deals with at least one of three key questions;
What do we do?
For whom do we do it?
How do we excel?
We observed during the review and planning process for the following points:
- Relate to the medium term
- Be undertaken by owners
- Focus on matters of strategic importance
- Be separated from day to day work
- Be realistic, detached and critical
- Distinguish between cause and effect
- Be reviewed periodically
- Be written down
Defined these can be used as the basis for Critical examination to probe existing or perceived STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, THREATS & OPPORTUNITIES.
The preparation of a strategic plan is a multi step process covering vision, mission, objectives, values, strategies, goals and programs.
Develop your Business Strategies
Once the SWOT review is complete, the future strategy may be readily apparent or, as is more likely the case, a series of strategies or combinations of tactics will suggest themselves. Use the SWOT´s to help identify possible strategies as follows:
- Build on strengths
- Resolve weaknesses
- Exploit opportunities
- Avoid threats