The strategic management process is important to set up the company's mission, goals and procedures. Typically created by the owner or top management in a company, the strategic management plan offers direction and guidance to the employees, sets up measurable goals and time lines and designates duties of all personnel. Marketing and sales projections are included in the strategic plan as well as plans to review the achievements of each department.
The mission statement is a company's main reason for existing. It should clearly define the goals and purposes of the company. Creating the mission statement is the first phase in the strategic management process; all other work in formulating the strategic plan comes out of the core mission. Company goals should be formulated once the mission is defined. Goals include financial expectations that project sales figures, profit margins, customer attraction and retention and spending parameters. Goals defined in the strategic planning process should be measurable; timetables should be erected to review each aspect of the goals.
Once the goals have been created, the strategic management planning team can enter the information-gathering phase. Successful strategic planning processes bring in employees and consultants to add input into each phase of the plan. Sales and marketing teams bring information about the current landscape in which the company is operating. Human resource managers provide statistics on retention, health care costs and employee performance evaluations. An outside consultant may bring in market surveys and competitive intelligence to provide a total picture of the current business environment. As all the information is presented, the strategic management team needs to analyze the reports and classify the company's strengths and weaknesses to devise a final strategic plan.
Plans can be formulated once all the information is available. Advertising and marketing strategies can be identified and implemented. Cutbacks and cost cutting measures may be instituted to bring profit margins in line with the company goals. New services and products may be developed to tap into niche markets that show promise. All the opportunities to increase revenue should be explored and defined or discarded, and leadership should be put into place to implement the various strategies. Leaders need to be given time lines, expectations, budget parameters and authority.
All strategic management plans must have controls and regular reviews built into the process. Changes should be made as needed following each review stage. Reporting deadlines should be honored and feedback should be presented to the various stakeholders periodically. The strategic planning team should meet annually to review the entire strategic planning process. Business climates, market trends and technological advancements demand current and regularly updated strategic planning to allow a company to be competitive and successful.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."