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Strategic planning techniques are often models a company uses to review internal and external factors prior to changing business operations. Long-range planning, environmental scanning, and mixed business tools are common in strategic planning. To choose the best strategic planning techniques, a company should review its current business needs, conduct an environmental scan, and interview key stakeholders in the business. These three facets of information allow a company to alter or improve operations to meet consumer needs. Companies can conduct this review as frequently as necessary.
Businesses do not live in static environments and are rarely stable themselves in terms of operations and product lines. In order to leverage information into a competitive advantage, companies must use strategic planning techniques to determine what changes will occur in the future. For example, a company will need to assess its current use of technology to decide whether new technology can help improve the company’s operations. While many assessment tools focus on financial factors, a strategic planning tool or technique should go farther than this aspect. Companies should select models that encompass a variety of factors that will affect the company.
An environmental scan represents a review of a company’s internal and external factors that affect a company. For example, internal factors can represent materials used for products or labor required to manufacture goods or services. External factors can be availability of raw materials, competition in the market, governmental regulation, and any number of other factors that affect the business. Strategic planning techniques should include all of the requisite factors in an environmental scan. Failure to include a few factors can indicate gaps in the information analysis process that make the technique ineffective.
Stakeholders represent any individual or group of individuals that are directly affected by a company’s operations. Key stakeholders can include anyone that plays an important role in company operations or financial status. A company’s management team may need to interview key stakeholders as part of strategic planning techniques. These individuals can provide information on how a company can improve itself and may also provide information on how the company can become a better competitor in the business market.
Many types of strategic planning techniques are available. In some cases, a company may need to select multiple techniques or switch between two or more in order to maximize results. Either way, a company should use whichever one best matches the needs and wants of the business.