Strategic planning is defined by intestorwords.com as the process of determining a company's long-term goals and then identifying the best approach for achieving those goals. But this definition is too broad and does not identify the true advantages of strategic planning for large to small businesses. Strategic planning provides the foundation for the policies, procedures, and strategies for obtaining and using resources to obtain the goals of the organization. Some believe that in today's rapidly changing environment, strategic planning is becoming more difficult and therefore more obsolete because changes are occurring so fast that plans-even those set for just months into the future-may soon be obsolete. The fact is that with the fast changing environment it is even more important to have strategic planning in every business today.
First to fully define what strategic planning involves; assessing the current business environment, defining your company's purpose mission, deciding what you want the business to look like in three to five years, recognizing your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and lastly mapping out a course in which to take the company from its current to its desired position (Policastro). Strategic planning has historically been taken care of by top management every one to ten years.
A little history; "by the early 1980s, as U.S. companies found themselves battered by global competitors and more nimble entrepreneurs, the cerebral strategizing of the past looked like a luxury of a more leisurely era. Suddenly, Corporate America was frantically struggling to catch up. Instead of weaving elegant stratagems, companies were scrambling to improve quality, restructure, downsize, and reengineer" (Byrne). But today strategic planning is making a comeback, "suddenly, the idea of rising above the tumult of day-to-day business to ponder the future of markets and competitors is looking attractive again"(Byrne).
Cited: Byrne, John A. Strategic Planning. New York. www.businessweek.com/1996/b34901.htm
Policastro, Michael L. Introduction to Strategic Planning. U.S. Small Business Administration. http://www.sba.gov/library/pubs/mp-21.txt
Connie, James, Ph.D. Increasing the Firm 's Strategic IQ. http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/032/strategy.html
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