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Strategic planning is about setting priorities, focusing energy and resources, strengthening operations, ensuring that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results. The plan also extends to control mechanisms for guiding the implementation of the strategy.

Every business should have a strategic plan—but the number of businesses that try to operate without a defined plan is staggering. Research shows that 86% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy, and 95% of a typical workforce doesn’t understand its organization’s strategy

Developing a strategic plan requires critical thinking and the right tools to develop a plan. Below are 6 different systematic processes that can be used in the analysis stage while determining your business’ current state or position.

Developing your strategy and plan is for envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them.

Strategic plans can be used for the business, a departments or even a new initiative. Here is a basic four step process that can be used as a roadmap for creating and executing your strategic plan.

  1. Determine your strategic position
  2. Develop a strategic plan
  3. Execute and manage the plan
  4. Review and revise the plan

As you continue to implement the strategic planning process, repeating each step regularly, you will start to make measurable progress toward achieving your company’s vision. Instead of always putting out fires, reacting to the competition, or focusing on the latest hot-button initiative, you’ll be able to maintain a long-term perspective and make decisions that will keep you on the path to success for years to come.

Here are 7 tools that you can use to help create your own strategic plan.

Porter’s Five Forces

Understanding Competitive Forces to Maximize Profitability

Porter’s Five Forces Framework is a tool for analyzing competition of a business. Five Forces is a simple but powerful tool for understanding the competitiveness of your business environment, and for identifying your strategy’s potential profitability.

SWOT Analysis

Discover New Opportunities, Manage and Eliminate Threats

SWOT Analysis is a useful technique for understanding your Strengths and Weaknesses, and for identifying both the Opportunities open to you and the Threats you face.

SOAR Analysis

Focusing on the Positives and Opening up Opportunities

Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results (SOAR) Analysis is a strategic planning tool. It combines data about an organization’s current position with people’s ideas and dreams about its future, so that you can build an energizing vision to work toward.

PEST Analysis

Identifying “Big Picture” Opportunities and Threats

Changes in your business environment can create great opportunities for your organization – and cause significant threats.

Using the TOWS Matrix

Developing Strategic Options From an External-Internal Analysis

TOWS is an acronym for threats, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths. Analysis is a variant of the classic business tool, SWOT Analysis. TOWS analysis is a tool which is used to generate, compare and select strategies.

Critical Success Factors

Identifying the Things That Really Matter for Success

The idea of CSFs was first presented by D. Ronald Daniel in the 1960s. It was then built on and popularized a decade later by John F. Rockart, of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and has since been used extensively to help businesses implement their strategies and projects.

Gap Analysis

The comparison of actual performance with potential or desired performance.

A gap analysis is a process an organization goes through to identify the gaps between its current state and its vision. To do a gap analysis, simply look at where the organization is and compare it to where it hopes to be.

This article originally appeared on www.bizbuzzamerica.com

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