In most corporations, there are several levels of management. Strategic management is the highest, in the sense that it is the broadest—as it applies to all parts of the firm and incorporates the longest time horizon. It gives direction to corporate values, corporate culture, corporate goals, and corporate missions. Under the broad corporate strategy are business-level competitive strategies and functional unit strategies.
- Corporate strategy refers to the overarching strategy of the diversified firm.
- Business strategy refers to the aggregated strategies of a single business firm or a strategic business unit (SBU) in a diversified corporation.
- Functional strategies include marketing strategies, new-product development strategies, human resource strategies, financial strategies, legal strategies, supply-chain strategies, and information-technology management strategies. The emphasis is on short-term and medium-term plans and is limited to the domain of each department’s functional responsibility. Each functional department attempts to do its part to meet overall corporate objectives, so to some extent their strategies are derived from broader corporate strategies.
Many companies feel that a functional organizational structure is not an efficient way to organize activities, so they often re-engineer according to processes or SBUs. A strategic business unit is a semi-autonomous unit that is usually responsible for its own budgeting, new product decisions, hiring decisions, and price setting. An SBU is treated as an internal profit center by corporate headquarters.
A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons they are attainable, and the plan for reaching them. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.
For example, a business plan for a nonprofit might discuss the fit between the business plan and the organization’s mission. Banks are quite concerned about defaults, so a business plan for a bank loan will build a convincing case for the organization’s ability to repay the loan. Venture capitalists are primarily concerned about initial investment, feasibility, and exit valuation. A business plan for a project requiring equity financing will need to explain why current resources, upcoming growth opportunities, and sustainable competitive advantage will lead to a high exit valuation.
Preparing a business plan draws on a wide range of knowledge from many different business disciplines: finance, human resource management, intellectual-property management, supply-chain management, operations management, and marketing. It can be helpful to view the business plan as a collection of subplans, one for each of the main business disciplines.
A marketing plan is a written document that details the actions necessary to achieve one or more marketing objectives. It can be for a product, a service, a brand, or a product line. Marketing plans span between one and five years.
A marketing plan may be part of an overall business plan. Solid strategy is the foundation of a well-written marketing plan, and one way to achieve this is by using a method known as the seven Ps (product, place, price, promotion, physical environment, people, and process). A product-oriented company may use the seven Ps to develop a plan for each of its products. A nonprofit marketing plan may use a slightly different approach. A market-oriented company will concentrate on each market. Each will base its plans on the detailed needs of its customers and on the strategies chosen to satisfy those needs.
The seven Ps
In marketing, the general process of identifying and approaching a target market is captured through the seven Ps: Place, Price, Promotion, People, Process, Physical Evidence, and Product.
Tools for Planning
Often discussed in tools for planning are models that measure the internal and external environments (e.g. Porter’s Five Forces, SWOT, Value Chain, etc.). These models create forward-looking projections based on past and present data; therefore, they are useful only once enough data have been collected. Because of this, tools for planning largely focus on generating enough data to construct valid recommendations. These tools can include:
- Industry experts: Whether internal employees or external consultants, a few individuals with extensive experience in a given industry are valuable resources in the planning process. These industry experts can move beyond the PESTLE and Porter’s Five Forces frameworks, making intuitive leaps as to the trajectory of the industry.
- Consultants: Consultants are commonly brought in during strategy formulation and for a variety of other reasons. Most important of these would be providing an objective lens for internal affairs. It is difficult to see the whole house from inside the house, and upper management can utilize an external opinion to ensure they are seeing operations clearly and objectively.
- Inclusion of stakeholders: Upper management will want as much information as possible from everyone involved. Some examples include consumer surveys on satisfaction, supplier projections for costs over a given time frame, consumer inputs on needs still unfilled, and shareholder views. The inclusion of stakeholders offers a variety of tools, each of which may or may not be a useful input depending on the context of the plan.
Overview of inputs to strategic planning. http://oer2go.org/mods/en-boundless/www.boundless.com/management/textbooks/boundless-management-textbook/strategic-management-12/the-planning-process-91/overview-of-inputs-to-strategic-planning-441-8316/index.html Except where noted, content and user contributions on this site are licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 with attribution required.