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Strategic Planning: What does it Mean?, and How is it done Effectively?

Most business owners or managers recognize that a strategic plan is a directional map for where their companies are headed and how they intend to get there. However, it is much harder for them to understand what goes into the strategic planning process, how the strategy-making task is best performed, and the full impact of the process the planning team goes through to develop the strategic direction of their organization.

Strategic planning is best done when a company looks at its past, present, and future in light of its related environment. It is the process of thinking about the company and its related environment as an
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Mission statements are used to describe the product, market, and technological areas in a way that reflects the values and priorities of a company's customers. Thus, the mission is defined as the fundamental, unique purpose that sets an organization apart from its competitors and identifies the scope of its operations in service and market terms.

According to David (1986), mission statements can be used to spell out: the basic type of product or service to be offered, the primary markets or customer groups whose needs will be served; the technology to be used in the production or delivery of the product or service; the fundamental concern for survival through growth and profitability; the managerial philosophy of the firm; the public image that is sought; and the firm's self-concept--that is the image of the firm that should be held by those affiliated with it.

When considering the future and developing a mission statement, the planning team should consider at least eight different ways of defining the company:

1. In terms of the products or services being provided.
2. In terms of the principal ingredient in a line of products.
3. In terms of the technology that spawns the product.
4. In terms of the customer groups being served.

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