Strategy and Strategic Planning
What is Strategy?
The term strategy has been used in business for over 100 years. It is a way of thinking about the future and planning how to achieve it. A good strategy will help you make decisions based on your long-term goals and objectives. The strategic plan should be developed by a team with input from all relevant stakeholders.
Wikipedia Definition of Strategy:
- Strategy is a high-level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.
- Strategy is important because the resources available to achieve these goals are usually limited.
- Strategy generally involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions.
- A strategy describes how the goals will be achieved by available resources.
Strategy is also defined as "the process of creating and implementing a set of policies designed to accomplish organizational goals."
Some other definitions include:
"a methodical approach to achieving a goal"
"an organized effort to attain a goal"
"the art of devising methods of attaining goals"
"a systematic approach to accomplishing something"
Why Strategic Planning?
A well thought out strategy can help you:
• Make better decisions
• Make more informed investment decisions
• Improve performance
• Be more effective
• Increase market share
• Reduce costs
• Understand your customers' needs
• Create value
• Grow revenue
• Enhance brand equity
How do I know if my organization needs a strategic plan?
If your company does not have a formal strategic planning process, you may want to consider developing one. Here are "some questions to ask yourself" when considering whether or not you need a formal strategic planning process:
1. Do we have clearly defined goals and objectives?
2. How do we measure success?
3 What happens if we fail?
4. Is everyone committed to the same vision?
5. Has everyone agreed on the best ways to reach our goals?
6. Do we have clear roles and responsibilities?
7. Do we have an understanding of who our key competitors are?
8. Do we have a plan for responding to change?
9. Are there any significant risks that could derail us?
10. Have we identified our strengths and weaknesses?
11. Have we established benchmarks against which we can evaluate ourselves?
12. Do we have a contingency plan?
What are some examples of strategies?
Here are some examples of strategies:
• Focus on customer service
• Build a strong foundation
• Provide quality products at competitive prices
• Offer free shipping
• Deliver exceptional customer service
• Use technology to enhance productivity
• Offer exclusive deals
• Expand into new markets
• Sell directly to consumers
• Offer lower-cost alternatives
• Become a leader in a niche market
• Innovate and differentiate
• Be responsive to changing consumer preferences