Strategic planning is a process of carefully and thoughtfully aligning the strengths of a company’s business to the opportunities that are available to the company in its chosen business environment. While strategic planning is both a science and an art, it is generally believed that in order for the planning process to be effective on a consistent basis the managers of the company must collect, screen and analyze information about the company’s business environment, identify and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the company and develop a clear mission for the company and a set of achievable goals and objectives that then become the basis for tactical and operational plans. Strategic planning is an important and essential process for every company regardless of the size of its business and the time and other resources that the company has available to invest in the developing, documenting, implementing and monitoring a strategic plan. The business environment and relevant technologies are constantly changing and new risks and uncertainties will surface on a regular basis.
The Sustainable Entrepreneur’s Library of Resources for Strategic Planning begins with an introduction to the formal strategic planning process and identifies and describes the fundamental elements of the planning process and desired outputs of that process—a mission statement, a strategy statement, strategic goals and objectives, and tactical and operational plans. The Part then goes on to discuss how internal and external environmental forces impact the strategic planning process. The Part continues with coverage of the key steps in the strategic planning process including collecting and analyzing information, strategy development using “situation” analysis, preparation of the mission and strategy statements, establishing strategic goals and objectives, preparation of a strategic plan and implementation and monitoring of the company’s strategic plan. Specific attention is given to the development and implementation of a business plan beginning with a brief description of the purposes and uses of a business plan and the need to establish formal processes for collecting information for the plan and completing the drafting and review of the plan on a timely basis. The actual steps in collecting and analyzing information to be used to prepare the plan are described in detail including industry analysis, product and market analysis, competitive analysis, financial planning and analysis, organizational analysis, and risk analysis. The Part also includes a description of the main sections of a typical business plan as well as a discussion of various specialized topics. Finally, the Part provides an overview of cross-cultural studies of strategic planning. Researchers have found indications that the relationship between strategic planning and firm performance may be mitigated to some degree by contextual factors relating to the firm including, among other things, societal culture. Research has been carried out on the relationship of strategic planning to all of the most widely recognized dimensions of societal culture and a number of researchers have argued that societal culture does have an impact on organizational processes relating to planning and decision making and on perceptions of strategic strengths and weaknesses.
Strategic Planning: A Guide for Sustainable Entrepreneurs
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Theses and Dissertations