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?

Review your business against this best practice benchmark now

BEST PRACTICE BENCHMARK: We have a strategic business planning process which documents our goals, strategies and activities across the business for the coming 12 months and maps out our strategic direction for the next 3 - 5 years in line with our business purpose, brand promise and vision. #planning

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.

About the SMART-Connect best practice strategic planning advisor

Stewart Clark

Stewart Clark

Business Consultant and Risk Advisor

Over the past 25+ years, Stewart Clark has worked with many business owners across a broad section of industries, in both small and large businesses. This work has included extensive business reviews from a financing/operational perspective, through strategy, succession, marketing, risk and more general business disciplines.

Experience has shown that it's not what you make that counts, it's how much you keep which really matters. Many businesses are not clear on these points, in that they are not in control of how much they are generating (revenue/marketing/sales), nor are they clear on what they actually keep (gross/net margins). Strong business disciplines address both of these areas.

Services provided to business include strategic planning, profit enhancement, succession planning and business structuring, marketing and sales performance, risk assessment and advisory.

There are a lot of consultants/coaches who talk the talk and help you plan your journey, but very few will develop the strategy, work with you through the trials of implementing change, and then still be around to see you celebrate your wins and achievements.


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