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This post is one in a series designed to help SME businesses benchmark their business and create a best practice business improvement plan across all of their business processes.  You can find the links to the full series here.  

Image of labyrinth with plan in the centreWhat is a best practice strategic planning process?

Best practice businesses have a strong continuous strategic planning and business action planning process.

Strategic planning is the process of determining the vision for the future of the business as well as the identifying the business goals and objectives in line with that vision. Most strategic plans look three to five years ahead.

The Business Action Plan is linked to the strategic plan, it clearly documents the business goals and objectives for the next 12 months and specifies the ways in which those goals will be achieved.

Strategic plans and business action plans are not static documents but living documents that need to be revisited on a regular basis as part of the ongoing business action planning and review process.

How does your business measure up?

Here’s a checklist to help you determine the effectiveness of your strategic planning process.

  • We have a clearly documented 3 – 5 year strategic plan which defines our business vision, it outlines our broad goals and objectives for the next 3 – 5 years and includes a plan for how we aim to achieve those goals and objectives.
  • Our strategic plan reflects our purpose and mission and core values.
  • We have a clearly documented one year business action plan which includes S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives for the year which are in line with our strategic plan.
  • We have a rigorous ongoing business planning review process which ensures that progress against our business goals and objectives across all aspects of the business are monitored on an ongoing basis and that our business action plan and strategic plan are updated in a timely manner in the light of new challenges and opportunities.

Review the other benchmarks for best practice business planning here

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