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Best Practices in Strategic Planning

As a business' fiscal year comes to a close many businesses are finalizing their strategic plans. Implementing some best practices can improve the plan's effectiveness and provide a business advantage.

  1. Be sure to conduct extensive research to understand the opportunities and threats in your market or industry, the competitive pressures and customer demands. View research as an investment not as an expense. Internal experience is just not enough.

  2. Give your strategic planning team enough time and resources to complete a through well thought out plan. Time must be managed because a business can not be in continuous planning mode and never produce a strategic plan. Be cautious of the opposite; insufficient time usually results in an "insufficient" plan.

  3. Execution is where great plans always fail. Create supporting activities and tactics to ensure that execution is focused on achieving the business objectives set forth in the strategic plan.

  4. The strategic plan must be continually reviewed and updated during the plan implementation phase. The business environment (markets, industries, competitive pressures, and customer demands) shifts over time. Implementing a plan over a longer period of time requires more reviews and updates to the strategic plan.

  5. As part of your plan create measures to monitor progress. The only way to know that your plan is working is to monitor how well the business is growing or improving. As part part of your plan create metrics and baselines to be able to use as a measure success.

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