Strategic Planning

As a new year approaches, thoughts often drift towards resolutions for improving our lives. In business, that process includes strategic planning. A strategic planning meeting should be held at least annually, or more often in preparation for new ventures or significant changes in your business.

The strategic planning process can range from simple to complex but must be based on a written agenda and timeline. The meeting will need a facilitator to keep the discussions focused and on time. The meeting can be managed either internally or by an outside facilitator, but don’t allow an internal facilitator to monopolize the process or stifle input. The process typically includes a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and focuses on the key operating aspects of your business, marketing, business development, operations, management, budgeting and finances.

In order to be valuable, the meeting should include the right people and promote open dialogue. Also, be sure to consider today’s issues and tomorrow’s opportunities. Don’t let the good ideas resulting from the strategic planning process wither and die from a failure to implement. In addition, include a process to monitor the progress of the action items.

Take the time now to work on improving your business, re-focus your efforts on the things that matter, and define and clearly communicate your strategy and goals to your management team. Best wishes for the New Year!

This article was originally published in Illuminations: Facts & Figures from people with a brighter way, a Rea & Associates enewsletter, 12/5/07.

 Note: This content is accurate as of the date published above and is subject to change. Please seek professional advice before acting on any matter contained in this article.