Time for A New Strategic Plan?
It’s hard to achieve anything of significance without a good plan; be it managing a new initiative, merging with another organisation or getting a sector to play in harmony.
Whether you inherit a strategic plan or guide its development from scratch, it’s up to you and your Board to ensure it identifies what needs to be achieved over the coming years and exactly how that is going to happen. In other words, you must know it’s fit for purpose and focused on the future.
What is a Strategic Plan?
Entrepreneurs and business managers are often so preoccupied with immediate issues that they lose sight of their ultimate objectives. That’s why a business review or preparation of a strategic plan is a virtual necessity. This may not be a recipe for success, but without it a business is much more likely to fail. A sound plan should:
- Serve as a framework for decisions or for securing support/approval.
- Provide a basis for more detailed planning.
- Explain the business to others in order to inform, motivate & involve.
- Assist benchmarking & performance monitoring.
- Stimulate change and become building block for next plan.
A strategic plan should not be confused with a business plan. The former is likely to be a (very) short document whereas a business plan is usually a much more substantial and detailed document. A strategic plan can provide the foundation and frame work for a business plan.
A strategic plan is not the same thing as an operational plan. The former should be visionary, conceptual and directional in contrast to an operational plan which is likely to be shorter term, tactical, focused, implementable and measurable. As an example, compare the process of planning a holiday (where, when, duration, budget, how many people, how to travel are all strategic issues) with the final preparations (tasks, deadlines, funding, weather, packing, transport and so on are all operational matters).