In the current business environment, competition is stronger than ever. Each organization, whether big or small, needs to have a strategic plan for survival as well as for expected growth and challenges. It’s this strategic plan that helps members at all levels of the organization have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, the company’s goals and the directions they need to follow for success. strategic planning for businessThe issue is that often times the plan, in any form that it may present itself, is solely in the mind of the owner. This represents two big challenges:

  1. The “Plan” has most likely been generated primarily on the owner’s personal perspective, missing the day-to-day input and experience of those “on the ground.”
  2. If The “Plan” has not been shared or communicated effectively throughout the company, there is a lack of understanding and / or “Buy In” from those that need the plan most. There is no ownership, no connection.

How can a business owner develop a plan that is strategic and viable while also including those within the company that aren’t necessarily “strategic” or company-wide-minded in their focus?

Below, Michael Andersen discusses how a 3rd party consultant can benefit a company by coming in and facilitating the strategic planning process:

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://essentiaba.com/wp-content/uploads/audio/facilitation-eba.mp3″] < CLICK TO PLAY “Michael Andersen – “Facilitation for Strategic Planning” AUDIO If your company isn’t in a position to hire a 3rd party consultant, here are some tools that can be used for strategic planning to help create “the outline” wherein the executive team can be seeing and following the same vision:

  1. SWOT – General Outline built to ask the meaningful questions: What are your Strengths? What are your Weaknesses? What are the company’s Opportunities now and in the future? And finally, what are the Threats facing the company today and into the future?
  2. PEST – Stands for Political, Economical, Social, and Technological. This system is where you review and consider the issues and challenges that face your company – or the things that are an advantage to your company – in each of the verticals today and in the future.
  3. Porter’s 5 Forces Model – Discusses the 5 different ways competition or other external influences are able to affect your company. Some of the considerations are: a) New suppliers in the marketplace; b) Alternative or substitute products or services for your clients; c) Suppliers’ negotiations or d) Buyers’ negotiation with you, and finally e) Your existing competitors’ influence on the marketplace.

Below, you can listen to Michael talk about the 3rd and 4th influencers of Porter’s Model as it applies to emerging media and e-commerce on business practices:

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://essentiaba.com/wp-content/uploads/audio/porters5-eba.mp3″] < CLICK TO PLAY “Michael Andersen – “Porter’s 5 Forces Model” AUDIO By getting your team together and speaking on one or a combination of any of the processes listed above, you would be able to paint a clear, linear perspective of the environment your business is in, as well as see many of the issues that face it today and in the future. Everyone involved will see the items on the table. Every team member will have a more comprehensive understanding of the business and the challenges facing it. Building an effective strategic plan from there will be much easier, as all members will have a unified perspective of where they are starting and tactical plans to proceed toward success and growth for the company. Now, remember, the items above are simply the research behind the where and why of your company’s strategic plan. The How, the tactics, will need to be set in the next stage, focused on future growth, stability and achieving the goals set. A great place to start building an effective strategic plan for your company is with the Essentia Strategic Business Growth Cycle Evaluation. Michael has chosen 20 easy-to-answer questions to help you evaluate the state of your business. After a quick review, Michael will reach out to you to discuss options for moving forward in your strategic planning. Or you can talk to Michael directly by contacting him through the website or calling (515) 344-4EBA.

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