Business Planning
Every planning process goes through a series of stages. In essence the aim is to complete each of the following steps :
Analyse the external environment
Analyse the internal environment
Define the business and mission
Set corporate objectives
Formulate strategies
Effective business planning has to begin with an honest and realistic appraisal of the current position of the business. The formal term for this is “situational analysis” and there are several planning tools and methods which are helpful in putting the analysis together. The true purpose of situational analysis is to determine which opportunities to pursue :
PEST / PESTEL analysis: identify and analyse trends in the environment
Competitor analysis: understand and, if possible, predict the behaviour of competitors
Audit of internal resources
SWOT analysis: build on strengths; resolve weaknesses; exploit opportunities; confront threats
Having determined the current position, the next step is to determine the direction of the business – by answering the question “where are we going”? The outputs from asking this question are :
Vision : the non-specific directional and motivational guidance for the entire business.
What will the business be like in five years time?
Mission statement : a statement of the business’s reason for being. The mission statement is concerned
with the scope of the business and what distinguishes it from similar businesses
Objectives : SMART objectives set out what the business aims to achieve
Goals : specific statements of anticipated results
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