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This article was first published on
lesaffaires.com and is based on an interview with Lucie Chouinard, Senior Manager, Consulting, at MNP in Montreal.
If, several years ago, Finnish giant Nokia had glanced in the rear-view mirror, it certainly would have spotted the competition catching up in the mobile phone market, which at the time was going through major changes. More recently, the taxi industry, where there is no shortage of rear-view mirrors (!), should have anticipated the new and varied needs of users in order to better reinvent itself. Instead, Uber did it for them.
These are just two examples of companies that did not see the world changing around them and believed their advantageous position in their market was guaranteed. Accordingly, they were unable to define new parameters in response to developments in their markets. There is, however, a process for setting these parameters. The operative words are
Why Has This Process Become Essential?
Like a captain in command of his ship, a company manager must know where he wants to go and how to get there. Especially in times of turbulence, market volatility or increased competition, as is the case today. In fact, strategic planning is to an entrepreneur what a compass is to a captain. “Too few companies take a step back when developing their strategic planning,” says Lucie Chouinard, Senior Manager, Consulting Services, MNP. They focus all their energy on developing a product or service based on their internal research or information from their own business community, or even their intuition. Too often, they fail to properly understand their market, their competition at home and abroad, their customers and their customers’ latest expectations.”
Time Well Spent
You already spend most of your energy on ensuring the effective operation of your company on a daily basis. It’s not easy to make time to seriously reflect on this issue. After all, time is money! You can’t, however, put a price on the importance of taking the time to clearly define the current and future market positioning of your company and adapting your practices as required. Strategic planning gives you the tools to maintain and even increase your market share through a unique value proposition.
Phased Planning Process
Strategic planning is a rigorous exercise that cannot be extensively developed in under three days or even at an executive committee meeting. In fact, a number of steps are essential... The good news? You don’t have to undertake the same comprehensive exercise every year. “Considering the profound and rapid change occurring in the markets, we recommend that strategic planning be done every three to five years and that the plan be reviewed annually to make sure you’re on the right track, ” says Ms. Chouinard.
Reflection phase: this requires asking the right questions, gaining additional perspectives and making the hard choices that don’t always make everyone happy.
Goals and strategies development phase: it is important to set goals that are worth pursuing and, especially, that are achievable.
Business planning to achieve objectives phase: or the importance of establishing a framework for the entire process (schedule, allocation of responsibilities, drafting of process documents, etc.).
The phase of implementation and monitoring of measures to reach the objectives.
Where Do You See Your Company in the Next Three to Five Years?
If there was but a single question you needed to remember, that would be the one. It’s the one that lays the groundwork for your in-depth reflection. “If you’re not familiar with the process, a strategic planning expert can help you not only to set the process in motion by contributing his knowledge and bringing in an outsider’s perspective, but also to prompt you to ask yourself the right questions in a constructive manner, even the ones you’d like to avoid! ” advises Ms. Chouinard.
Fundamental questions concerning your planning process:
Strategic planning should be at the heart of developing any business small, medium or large to establish its growth objectives as well as its priorities. In short, it’s the vision for the future. So, are you ready to guide your company along the road to increasingly successful results? Let’s start Strategic Planning!
Related Topics:Business Performance
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