Success in business starts with how the company is strategically positioned in its environment. The company may have the best people manning it, but without a sound plan that would direct its success, failure would be a great possibility. Strategic business planning is the process of identifying a company's direction and making decisions as to determining and allocating its resources in pursuing the strategy.
There are different business analysis techniques adopted by businesses in doing their strategic business planning. The commonly used strategies in business planning are the following:
- SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis
- PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological) analysis or the STEER (Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic, Ecological and Regulatory factors) analysis
- EPISTEL (Environment, Political, Information, Social, Technological, Economic and Legal) analysis.
An organization's direction will be clear to everyone if the stakeholders' understand and own their vision, mission and goal (VMG) as well as if they share the same values. Vision is the long term objective of the organization. Mission is the purpose of the organization that paves the way in attaining its vision. Mission can be attained over time as it achieves the specific goals. Organizational culture is determined by the values shared by its stakeholders. Shared values are important, for it sets the organization's priorities in going through its mission towards the realization of the vision.
There are many approaches in planning the organization's business strategically. One approach is the three-step process, which is the so called Situation-Target-Path. This is done by evaluating the present situation first then defining the goals and objectives and mapping out the possible ways in achieving the goals and objectives. An alternative approach of this three-step process is Draw-See-Think. In this approach, there are four steps to be carried out in drawing out the desire of the organization or its ideal image. After which is seeing the present situation, identifying the gap between what is desired or ideal and the present state, and recognizing why such gap is present.
The third step is to think of what specific actions are to be taken so that the gap could be eliminated, and the final step is to plan what resources are needed in executing the activities. There is also an alternative for the Draw-See-Think approach, which is the See-Think-Draw approach. This approach is very similar with the Situation-Target-Path approach. To see is to study the situation; to think is to define the goals, and objectives; and to draw is to plan what course of action is to be taken.
When conducting strategic planning to lay out the company's future course, we should know what our organization is doing, who the beneficiary of our action is, and how we are going to do it excellently. The strategic plan is achieved when each member of the team knows exactly where their organization stands, it is clear to each member where the organization is heading, and everyone agrees on the direction they are to take in achieving their goal.