Strategic Planning For Dummies
Written by Erica Olsen, founder and President of a business development firm that helps entrepreneurial-minded businesses plan for a successful future, this handy guide covers all the basics, including:
- How a strategic plan is different than a business plan
- Establishing a step-based planning process
- Planning for and encouraging growth
- Taking a long-view of your organization
- Evaluating past performance
- Defining and refining your mission, values, and vision
- Sizing up your current situation
- Examining your industry landscape
- Setting your strategic priorities
- Planning for unknown contingencies
If you’re in business, you have to plan for everything — especially if you intend your business to grow. Whether you’re planning for a small business, large conglomerate, nonprofit, or even a government agency, this book has the planning specifics you need for your organization. Step-by-step, you’ll learn how to lay the foundations for a plan, understand how your plan will affect your business, form planning teams, discover what your strengths are, see where you are, and, finally, plan where you’re going. And there’s much more:
- Learn to analyze business trends that will determine your business’s future
- Set measurable, realistic goals that you can plan for and achieve
- Make strategic planning a habitual part of the organization
- Prioritize multiple strategies that you can implement simultaneously
- Set a defining vision for the organization that guides all your planning and strategy
This friendly, simple guide puts the power of strategic planning in the palm of your hand. For small businesses that can’t afford to hire strategic planning consultants, it’s even more imperative. Careful, constant planning is the only way to handle an uncertain business future. With this book, you’ll have all the step-by-step guidance you need to ensure you’re ready for anything that comes.
Part I: Laying the Foundation for Your Strategic Plan.
Chapter 1: What Is Strategic Planning Anyhow?
Chapter 2: Why Strategic Planning Impacts Your Growth.
Chapter 3: Getting Set Up for Successful Planning.
Part II: Looking Backward to Move Forward.
Chapter 4: Taking Lessons from the Past.
Chapter 5: Focusing on What You Do Best.
Chapter 6: Refining Your Mission, Vision, and Values.
Part III: Sizing Up Your Current Situation.
Chapter 7: Assessing Your Business and Its Capabilities.
Chapter 8: Seeing Your Business Through Your Customers’ Eyes.
Chapter 9: Assessing Your Strategic Position in a Dynamic Environment.
Part IV: Moving Your Organization into the Future.
Chapter 10: Growth: It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore.
Chapter 11: Finding New Customers.
Chapter 12: Establishing Your Strategic Priorities.
Part V: Creating and Making the Most of Your Plan.
Chapter 13: Putting Your Plan Together.
Chapter 14: Putting Your Plan to Work.
Chapter 15: Contingency Planning: Your Plan B.
Chapter 16: Planning Considerations for Entrepreneurs and Department Managers.
Chapter 17: Planning for the Social Sectors.
Part VI: The Part of Tens.
Chapter 18: Ten Ways to Keep Your Strategic Plan from Hitting the Shelf.
Chapter 19: Ten Ways to Ruin Your Strategic Planning Meeting.
Chapter 20: Ten Shortcuts to Getting Your Plan Done.
As one of the developers of MyStrategicPlan, Erica has stripped strategic planning of its fate as a static document. With her online strategic planning system, any organization, regardless of size and budget, can build a plan in a matter of weeks (or even days). Once completed, the online system actually helps organizations execute the plan instead of just shoving it on a shelf.
MyStrategicPlan is just one of several services offered by Erica’s company, M3 Planning. M3 also does onsite strategic planning facilitation and retreats as well as market research consulting. Over the last several years, M3 has developed and reviewed hundreds of strategic plans for organizations across the country.
In addition to Strategic Planning For Dummies, Erica has co-authored Strategic Planning Made Easy: A Practical Guide to Growth and Profitability, and contributes regular columns to local, regional, and national business publications.
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Episode 1: What is Strategic Planning and What Can it Do for Me (.mp3 download)