Proper business planning is absolutely essential for survival, growth and the realisation of success.

In very simple terms, success is the achievement of key goals and the Business Plan. Having a clearly stated vision which is strongly related to the business strategy for the next one to three years is without doubt essential. Not only should strategic goals relate to the mission of the organisation and to the business plan these strategic goals should be developed from the strategic plan. Without clearly defining a strategic plan the organisation is almost certainly likely to end up adrift of the visionary goals which could result with a negative impact on customer perception, employee satisfaction let alone any financial targets.

There are three related elements in preparing a strategic plan.

It is essential that you have a thorough understanding of the way your business works and its position relative to other businesses in your market sector. To begin with, you need to have answers to the following three questions:

Where is your business now? How does it operate, where does the profit come from and how does it compare with other similar businesses? You need to be realistic and determined, somewhat critical and challenging with input and questioning coming from others.

Where do you want to take the business? How would you like to develop the business over the next five or ten years? You might decide to review your vision, mission, key objectives, values and goals. What changes in systems and processes might you consider? What is your differentiation factor? Where do you need to be more focused?

How will you plan to achieve the changes that you have envisaged? What goals are going to be agreed to help you achieve the vision and therefore success?

Like all goals and objectives the Strategic Plan needs to be realistic and achievable.