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What is Strategic Planning for Business?

Strategic planning might be something you overlooked when you first set up your business; possibly out of the hubbub of having a new business but maybe you just didn’t know you needed it.
What is Strategic Planning for Business?

You can devise a strategic plan at any point throughout your business venture. You might decide to create one if you’re looking to scale your business or revisit and revise it when there’s been significant change in your business. Whatever has prompted you to plan, here’s how to create a strategic business plan that helps you get the most out of your business.

What is strategic planning?

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If you’re devising your plan for the very first time or are struggling to come up with something worthwhile, it may help to know just exactly what strategic planning is.

A strategic plan outlines the direction you want to take your business in, and how you’ll get there. It can also be called a strategic business plan.

Your strategy will set out your priorities, what you want to achieve, how you will allocate resources and focus your energies, and how you will ensure everyone at your business is working towards the common goal.

It’s up to you how much detail you go into, you can choose to set yourself incremental goals and revaluate your strategy after each achievement, or you can create a strategy for the bigger picture that you constantly have in your sights.

It’s also your choice how closely you follow your strategy. At the very least, it should provide you with guidance and with an indication of what success for your business looks like.

Strategic planning process

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There are three phases of strategic planning.

1. What position is your business in now?

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You need to consider everything from what drives profits, who your competitors are and how you fare against them, and how your business operates.

There are strategic planning models you can follow, but one of the most straightforward is the SWOT framework. This looks at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to provide a clear picture of the state of your business.

As part of this, you should look at your competitors, marketplace, and your own business too. Consider how external factors are influencing your business that may be out of your control, as well as internal factors that you can handle too.

2. Where do you want to take your business?

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This can be as broad as where do you want your business to be in five years’ time, or a year from now.

Identify your business vision, values and mission statement. This will help you narrow down and focus in on goals. You should outline goals to achieve within a year as well as longer-term objectives.

3. How will you get it there?

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Once you know where you want to go, you need to make it clear how you’ll get there.

To help you, you can revisit your discoveries from the SWOT analysis.

  • What do you need to do to maintain your strengths?
  • How can you improve your weaknesses?
  • What do you need to do to exploit your current opportunities?
  • How will you stave off threats?

You then need to ask yourself how you can use your existing resources to answer those questions. It’s at this point that it should become clear if you need to bring any new products, policies, or people into your business.

Once you’ve followed this strategic planning process you should have the makings of a business plan.

Remember to write down your plan and keep revisiting it at regular intervals. This will help you understand where you need to focus your efforts, and how close you are to achieving your goals.

Happy planning!

How could Esme Loans help?

If you’re interested in taking your business to the next step and looking for business finance to achieve that – get in touch with Esme today. We offer unsecured business loans from £10,000* to £250,000 that can be repaid over a 1 to 5 year period. For more information on our business loans and how to apply, click here.

* From £25,500 for Sole Traders