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Strategic planning is the basis for a company’s direction and focus. It outlines where resources and energy should be directed, determines priorities of both short- and long-term goals, and keeps employees and shareholders informed on progress and issues. With a strategic plan in place, everyone involved in a company is on the same team, working towards a common goal. They know what they do, why they do it, and who they serve. Everyone understands what intended outcomes and results are supposed to be. When an environment changes, the strategy behind the plan needs to adapt as well to ensure the company is still on track to reach its goals. When the future is uncertain, and every aspect of life is disrupted, that can be nearly impossible.
Strategic planning is the combined action of documenting and establishing the direction of a business. The complete exercise takes a look at the current state of an organization, where it will be heading, and the actions required to make that happen. An effective strategic plan also provides methods of gauging how to know whether it’s a success. In essence, strategic planning acts as a constant reminder of what a company does, why they do it, who they serve, and how to stay focused in order to have a successful future.
When people think of the word branding, they tend to associate it with a label or product type representing something purposeful. The truth is that this word’s origin is a lot darker, and the verb “to brand” used to have a different connotation. Back in the 17th century, lawmakers marked criminals with a hot iron symbol depicting the crime they committed. Two hundred years later, the term took on a commercial concept with household names like Heinz.
Strategic planning is an organizational management activity. It defines what an organization is from the get-go, what it does, why it does it, and who it serves. The focus is always looking ahead to the future. Strategic planning establishes the groundwork for the way a business defines everything it does moving forward. It affects everything about the way the company makes decisions, including how resources are allocated, priorities are established, agreements are made, and training manuals are written. Since it serves as the base of all decisions, there is nothing more important than defining a clear plan for what your business is really about before investing time and money into it.
Hiring a consultant can be very risky. Nearly anyone can get a tax ID number and a company logo and claim to be an independent consultant. Because of this, it is very important to verify the legitimacy of any firm before you hire them. In addition, it’s important to do your own assessment before taking the plunge and investing time and money in a consultancy contract.
Before you can create a new direction for your business, you first need to have a realistic view of the current state of affairs. The more honest you are at this stage, be more effective any plans will be. A SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is a great way to formally assess your business in its current state and see areas for improvement or change. In addition, you should also get as much feedback as possible from current employees, business partners, and your customer base.
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