To many managers, the term "business planning" is a buzzword to describe what 30 years ago was conceived as the financial budget, and therefore the restricted realm of the accountant. To others it may represent a document required to obtain an overdraft or a loan from their bankers. A business plan may prove to be the most important document that may be compiled in any business. This paper aims to eliminate such taboos and simplify what the strategic business planning process is all about, and how its benefits could be maximised by the management of a business.
THE TERM "STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLANNING"
When we speak about a strategic business plan, the message to be conveyed is about the strategies and tactics to be adopted by an organisation to reach its missions and goals. An integral part of the plan is financial in nature, but the strategic business plan is no plan at all if it does not address marketing, human resources, ICT and all other resources needed to integrate and fuse the organisational efforts to achieve targets, in terms of maximisation of profits. Thus, an effective business plan should serve FOUR underlying purposes:
We could keep going on asking questions as much as we would like our plan to be detailed. Probably the answers to some would need more effort in terms of time and resources than others. The most important factors which determine this preliminary stage of planning is to ensure that we are asking ourselves the right questions, that they are leading our business in the direction we want it to go. On the other hand, a manager must be aware of asking too many questions that lead nowhere. The objective of this process is to enable the manager to grasp what the target is and then plan on how to achieve that target.