By Natalie Veli

Definition:

Strategic planning is a process that helps a business decide what market opportunities to follow and how to do so over the next three to five years. It results in the formation of a strategic plan.

Strategic planning still appears to be an unclear concept to many entrepreneurs but above all that, it can really bring genuine value to a business that takes it seriously. It helps depict exactly where your business is going throughout the next couple of years and how it will reach the desired outcome. A strategic plan is an organised and precise approach to develop a course and path for your company.

Basically, not having a strategic plan is like exploring an unfamiliar area without a guide. Furthermore, without a guide, you’re lost in a very hostile business condition that will unavoidably throw difficulties your way. At the point of there being vulnerability within close reach, you need a solid plan. It’s the difference between being reactive or pro-active and articulates the desired future position of the business.

What does a strategic plan include?

Strategic planning helps scale what your business is, exactly what it does, and why it does it, with an emphasis on advancing your future potential.

A strategic plan will for the most part include:

  • An executive summary or official outline, which is generally composed toward the end of the process
  • A company description
  • Mission, vision and value statement
  • A SWOT analysis
  • A clarification of your techniques and strategies
  • An action plan
  • Budget and working plans
  • Detailed monitoring and assessment techniques

If you are a small company, for instance, a concise strategic plan may be all you need. If you are a bigger company, then a more detailed plan on various parts of your company may be needed which would more likely be applicable to franchises since the plan is to expand.

A strategic plan mustn’t be confused with a business plan

Try not to confuse a strategic plan with a business plan, which is a more extensive document and incorporates a:

  • Strategic plan,
  • Marketing plan,
  • Financial plan and an
  • Operational plan

A business plan is more of an aspiring document, covering what your business is about and why it has value in the market. The strategic plan has an action plan with clear targets and due dates as well as the people assigned to all tasks.

Who completes the strategic plan?

Your strategic planning ought to be done in a group situation that includes key players in your business. It would most likely be controlled by the head of the company and then employees or a division/team would contribute their input.

When is the best time to compile a strategic plan?

In franchising, it should be your first step.

Compiling the strategic plan depends to a great extent on the nature and needs of your company. For instance, if your business conditions changes regularly, strategic planning is fundamental to stay agile and adapt to changing conditions and should be done at least annually.

Or otherwise:

  • When you begin a business
  • If you’re planning for another endeavour, for e.g. a product launch
  • When markets are evolving
  • If the business condition evolves e.g. laws, guidelines, regulations and business practices

How does a strategic plan benefit you?

Strategic planning will assist you in achieving these objectives:

  • Preparing and defining the scope of your activities — Review your motivation, expenses and resources.
  • Analyse your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) — Review your company’s internal and external conditions to boost on your strengths, protect against weaknesses and threats and take advantage of business opportunities.
  • Formulate strategies —Look at precisely what strategies and actions you should take because of the above variables.
  • Implement your strategies —Assess your resources and get your plan on paper.
  • Get every one of your employees on the same page—Build consensus in your company by getting your message out to your key role players and assigning responsibilities for various tasks
  • Measure your achievement—Track your advancement and motivate your employees to keep up their good work.
  • Increase productivity—Ensure employees know where they’re going and that they optimise their use of resources

Many franchised businesses are very operationally focused and mostly reactive to changes in the market.  By reviewing your strategic plan, you can take a pro-active approach to meet challenges and changing market conditions coming your way.  If you need assistance with an evaluation of your franchise and the strategic plan for your business, contact us for an obligation free meeting.