This guide sets out the basics of the strategic planning process.
It explains how to go about drawing up a strategic plan, it highlights some important issues to bear in mind and it shows how to turn from planning to implementation.
As your business becomes larger and more complex, so strategy formulation will need to become more sophisticated, both to sustain growth and to help you muster the leadership and resources you need to keep your business developing.
To do this, you will also need to start collecting and analysing a wider range of information about your business - both about how it operates internally and about how conditions are developing in your current and potential markets.
A strategic plan needs to be realistically achievable.
As with any business activity, the strategic planning process itself needs to be carefully managed.
The purpose of strategic planning is to set your overall goals for your business and to develop a plan to achieve them.
It involves stepping back from your day-to-day operations and asking where your business is headed and what its priorities should be.
Or you might decide to block off a day or two for strategy brainstorming sessions - part of which might involve seeking contributions from a broader range of employees and even key customers.
Getting the planning document right The priority with strategic planning is to get the process right.