Guide

Strategic planning for business growth

Steps in the strategic planning process

Strategic planning and management process can be overwhelming. However, by breaking it down into smaller segments, it is easy to see how the different pieces fit together.

The process gives you an approach rather than a set of rules to follow, so there will be differences in how organisations carry out their planning activities. However, most will follow a similar pattern.

Five stages of the strategic planning and management process

The five steps of the process are:

  • goal-setting
  • analysis
  • strategy formation
  • strategy implementation
  • monitoring and evaluation

The management part of the process ensures that the actions and resources support the vision in your strategic plan. This takes in implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and is sometimes referred to as strategy execution. See how to implement a strategic plan.

The planning part of the strategy process takes in goal-setting, analysis and strategy formation. See key elements of strategic planning.

There is no right or wrong way to plan the process of strategic planning, but be clear in advance about how you intend to proceed. Everyone involved should know what is expected of them and when.

For example, you may decide to hold:

  • a series of meetings with a strategy team before delegating the drafting of a strategy document to one of its members
  • strategy brainstorming sessions to seek contributions from a broader range of employees and even key customers

Who is responsible for strategic planning?

In a large business, the responsibility lies with top-level executives. Planning is often a participative process, so they will want to involve some or all of the following:

  • governors
  • CEO, COO or other similar senior position
  • managers once removed from the CEO
  • other executive staff
  • advisors, assistants, consultants
  • interest groups and beneficiaries

Small businesses owners may be tempted to strategise on their own, but it will often help to involve others. You can involve different people in different ways and at different times during the planning process. Greater involvement is key to securing commitment to the delivery of your strategic plan.

Try to find people who show strong analytical skills. Choose a mix of creative thinkers and those with a solid grasp of operational detail.

Seek opinions of other staff, such as key employees, accountants, department heads, and board members. Listen to external stakeholders, including customers, clients, advisers and consultants.

Ultimately, everyone will be responsible for using a strategic plan. Managers may be responsible for the implementation and communication, but the leadership is most likely to be held accountable for the strategic planning and implementation results.

Remember, there are many tools and approaches you can take when deciding on your strategy - such as these common types of strategic planning models.