Strategic management not just something you read about in a business school textbook. It is a real process that helps you determine if your business is doing the right thing, and if not, how you can fix it.
"Strategic management works because it requires that a company look, in an in-depth way, at all that is going on and has gone on and provides coordination and reconciliation of these so that what goes on in the future is far more robust than both past and present actions," says Dr. Billie Blair, president and CEO of Change Strategists.
The strategic management process is broken down into five steps.
1. Setting goals. The first step in the strategic management process is to set goals for your business. These goals define where you would like your company to be in the future on a business level and on a financial level.
Business goal-setting includes identifying a target market and considering what the brand identity should be. Financial goal-setting looks ahead to measures such as desired levels of sales, earnings and compensation. During the goal-setting stage you can clearly define the company's mission statement and use it as a guide.
2. Analysis. Now that the goals have been set, it is time to look inside the company and outside at the industry to determine how you'll get where you want to go. In the analysis stage of the strategic management process, you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the company in relation to meeting goals. Then you examine the forces at work in your industry including the customer base, the suppliers and the competition that is out in the marketplace.
3. Strategy formation. The analysis phase gives you a better understand the workings of your company and what it is going to take to be successful. That's when the strategy-formation phase of strategic management begins. Once you've pinpointed what the company is good at, it's easier to see how that can be used to your advantage in working toward your goals. When you are clear on what the weaknesses are, it's easier to develop a plan to turn those into strengths.
During the strategy-formation phase you analyze what tools you have to work with and what processes need to put into place to see results.
4. Strategy implementation. The plan is ready and it's time to turn thought into action. Don't be haphazard about the processes you're adopting. Come up with a sequence of events for implementation that makes sense.
And be sure to communicate clearly to any employees you have what you are doing and why. If everyone understands the reasons behind the change, then the change is more likely to be adopted.
5. Strategy monitoring. It's tempting to sit back and relax and just expect results. But the strategic-management process evolves with your business. First, you have to decide how you'll know if something is successful? Are you measuring in terms of new clients gained or larger orders or more brand recognition? Decide what you'll consider a success.
And just because something is successful today, that doesn't mean it will work tomorrow. The smart business owner constantly reviews the new ideas and makes changes as needed.
"An aggressive look at what you're doing and how you're doing it, plus all-out involvement of all concerned ensures the process' success," Blair says.
Carla Turchetti is a veteran print and broadcast journalist who likes to break a topic down and keep her copy tight. That's why this bio is so brief! Carla blogs via Contently.com.
What's your most important business strategy. Tell us in the comments below.