How can a Strategic Plan Help me?

Dear M & M:

I hear a lot about strategic planning. I’ve been in business awhile. How can a strategic plan help me?

– Beverly

Dear Beverly:

Running a successful business is all about finding a competitive advantage. Anytime a business owner starts thinking how they can work on their business, rather than working in their business they are starting to head down that planning path. Planning is that first step towards finding that competitive advantage your organization needs to survive. According to Wikipedia, “Strategic planning is an organizations’ process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy.

In order to determine the future direction of the organization, it is necessary to understand its current position and the possible avenues through which it can pursue particular courses of action.” Generally a strategic planning session starts out with understanding and taking a strong look at what are the organizations mission, vision and values. What do you want to accomplish, what image or culture does the organization want take on and are the values and beliefs of this culture shared by all stakeholders?

The strategy is a set of narrowly defined steps or actions the organization needs to do to accomplish the goals set out in their strategic plan. A plan is where you want to go with the steps needed to get you there. Craig Rice in his book titled, “Strategic Planning for the Small Business” uses a SWOT analysis in a different way to assist you in developing a strategic plan. Traditionally a SWOT analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Trends. Scott’s SWOT stands for Situation (where are you now), Weapons (Resources- tools you have), Objectives (where do you need to go), Tactics (How you are going to get there). In conclusion, a strategic plan gives you a track to run on that is geared for your company using your core competencies to arrive at specific objectives to give you that competitive advantage to enable you to run a more successful enterprise.

-M&M

To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation (EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email  hollism@svedf.org .

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