By: MILLICENT MWOLOLO
Almost every other year, I attend many business strategic plan launches, mainly high-end business events where business leaders do not hesitate to highlight the new strategic plan insights. What comes forth are brilliant ideas that if implemented to the letter would see this country not only become the business hub of East Africa, but a good example of what cut-throat competition can do in the world of business. Innovation. Kenya is ahead of the East African market in innovation.
In East Africa, innovation is the determining factor in market competition. This dynamism has seen businesses serially build on their strategic plan to give new meaning and direction to their business. A strategic plan’s function is to declare the purpose of the business, the goals to be achieved over a five-year period, and how the business plans to get there.
This gives the direction a company is taking to increase its competitiveness and market advantage. They provide a clear path to accomplishing key business goals. It therefore stipulates the actions that need to be taken, and the target results. It thus propel businesses and their teams to swing into action to deliver measurable results, as it acts as a build up onto what the company has achieved with the previous plans.
In addition to goal setting, a strategic plan also provides an opportunity for a business to assess its current operations and explore future possibilities. By: knowing “where it is”, the company has a benchmark to move forward from. The process of strategic planning assists in looking outside of daily operations to find new areas that are ripe for growth. This informs the innovation and product/service development and marketing teams within the business.
A clearly written and easy-to-follow strategic plan will keep the business on track throughout any expected or unexpected changes that may affect a company. The plan creates an organised flow of work while minimising losses due to confusion. Most importantly, once a strategic plan is in place, a company does not have to struggle in finding future success – the pathway to success is already mapped out.
Although strategic planning is typically done during the growth stage of a business, there can be other influences on a business where planning is critical. For instance, if the company is anticipating succession or any other significant change, strategic planning can mean the difference between a smooth transition and a complete loss of direction.
However, to put together a well-strategised business plan, a company needs to have a clear background research on their competition. Well-informed business strategic plans not only direct companies on the growth path to take, but also on how best to position themselves in the market to beat competition. Market positioning tactics should therefore be very well pronounced and they too should be realistic to identify and anticipate how to counter any challenges that may come with the undertaking.
A brilliant strategy, blockbuster product, or breakthrough technology can put you on the competitive map, but only solid execution can keep a business there. A business can only deliver its intent. Execution of a strategic plan is the result of thousands of decisions made every day by employees acting according to the information they have and their own self-interest. Business leaders can clarifying decision rights, design information flows, align motivators, and make structural changes to counteract this.
To keep abreast with key achievements in the implementation, measurable key performance indicators are usually identified. This forms a basis for evaluating what was achieved and up to what level and map out where both human and financial resources are needed most in the future for full implementation.
Advantages of a business strategic plan
Defines strategy that allows the organisation to gain competitive advantages and enhance sales and profits.
Allows the organisation to align people, teams, departments and divisions to a common plan and focus on the same goals and objectives.
Points to specific results that are to be achieved.
Establishes clear and specific goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics.
Defines specific action items and establishes an action plan for effective implementation.
Removes uncertainty about where the organisation is headed.
Enhances productivity, morale, communication, efficiency, sales and profits.
Addresses important human capital strategies including hiring, training, and performance management.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION