What is a strategic plan

Strategic plan is a document used to communicate with the organization the organizations goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals and all of the other critical elements developed during the planning exercise.

Many organizations spend most of their time reacting to unexpected changes instead of anticipating and preparing for them. This is called crisis management. Organizations caught off guard may spend a great deal of time and energy “playing catch up”. They use up their energy coping with immediate problems with little energy left to anticipate and prepare for the next challenges. This vicious cycle locks many organizations into a reactive posture.

It does not have to be that way. A sensible alternative is a well tested process called strategic planning which provides a viable alternative to crisis management.

Essentially, there are three different categories of strategies: organizational, programmatic, and functional. The difference among the categories is the focus of the strategy: Organizational strategy outlines the planned avenue for organizational development (e.g., collaborations, earned income, selection of businesses, mergers, etc.). Programmatic strategy addresses how to develop, manage and deliver programs.

Significance

A strategic business plan is necessary to optimize market research and to attain optimum market share for your business. The plan allows businesses to focus on a particular niche in the marketplace, which makes sales, advertising and customer management more effective. The plan allows a company to know as much as possible about the needs of its customers and gaps in the marketplace that need to be filled. A strategic business plan helps a company provide better, more targeted service to its clients.

Characteristics

A strategic business plan includes extensive market research, industry trends and competitor analyses. A strategic plan will include the components of a traditional plan, such as an executive summary, marketing analysis and financial statements, but a strategic plan will be more specific on how the company will go about achieving company goals. For example, a strategic business plan will attempt to identify a target market, narrow it down to a manageable size, and establish a strategy for acquiring those customers.

Benefits

Writing a strategic business plan has many advantages. The plan can serve as an outline for successful completion of company milestones. Company owners are in a better position to not only understand their business but become experts in their industries. A strategic plan helps executives understand the direction in which their company is headed by reviewing past progress and making changes to improve and grow.

What is a strategic plan