Does Every Company Need a Strategic Plan? - dummies

Does Every Company Need a Strategic Plan?

By Erica Olsen

Every business endeavor or enterprise already has a strategy. These strategies range from some vague sense of the desires of the owner to massive, overly sophisticated master plans. So the question isn’t whether every company needs a strategy but rather whether the company’s strategy needs to be well thought out, sound, appropriate, and doable. The answer is yes. Following are some answers to more of those questions about the need for a strategic plan.

We’re highly successful already, so why should we plan?

Success is strong evidence that a company has had a sound and appropriate strategy. Note the past tense. There’s absolutely no guarantee that yesterday’s sound and appropriate strategy will continue to be successful in the future. Indeed, assuming so without adequate study poses great danger. Therefore, no matter what your past or current successes are, you need a strategic plan.

Can a smaller company afford the time for strategic planning?

Experience shows that the top management team devotes approximately 2 to 4 percent of its time to practical strategic planning. In reality, structured strategic planning isn’t something more to do; it’s a better way of doing something already being done. Indeed, in the long run, you save time.

Strategic planning can become a time trap. You can get caught in a long slog of planning if you get too mired down in the details. From the outset, you need to establish that the plan is a living document and isn’t written in stone. Doing so helps you avoid strategic planning becoming a time trap.

Why plan in a world that’s highly uncertain?

Your efforts in forward planning can become pointless, especially if you fear that the plan may be overwhelmed by unanticipated events and developments. Uncertainty is, indeed, a major problem in forward planning. However, the greater the uncertainty, the greater the need is for good strategic planning because you want to try to be ready for the unknown.

How can we be confident that our planning will be successful?

Even in the presence of a structured strategic planning process, formulating unsound, inappropriate strategies and/or failing at implementation is quite possible. But this book helps you avoid these many pitfalls. Strategic planning is worth the effort because it helps you run your organization better. You can be confident that the information and best practices outlined in this book result in a successful strategic planning process.