What is strategic management? It may sound complex, but strategic management simply means planning an overall strategy for your small business that will help achieve your business goals. As your company's owners, strategic management is your responsibility. To get started, you must answer three key questions:
- What are my business's goals?
- What are the best ways to achieve those goals?
- What steps must I take to make them happen?
To answer the first question, give some serious thought to your ultimate objectives for the business. What are you trying to make happen? As you pinpoint your business objectives, you may want to:
- Assess the business environment within which your company will operate, and describe your company's role in that landscape. This is commonly known as a mission statement.
- Establish objectives to answer unmet needs in the marketplace, taking both a long- and short-term view of what your company can offer. This is commonly known as a vision statement.
- Detail the goals the company has for itself, both in terms of financial milestones and strategic objectives.
The second stage in successful strategic management is formulating a plan to accomplish the goals you've set. You'll need to create a chain of command that calls on people who have the right skills, knowledge, and experience to fill your business's needs and achieve its objectives. Reaching your business goals requires the combined efforts of all employees. As the boss, it's your job to delegate the proper functions to your team members, and clearly communicate responsibilities and deliverables (what needs to be done, and how the results of those tasks will be measured).
The third stage in strategic management is allocating the right amount of resources to the different parts of your business so your workers have what they need to meet their objectives. This includes everything from providing your employees with the right supplies and training to generating systems for testing work processes and managing data.
Leave room in your strategic plan for flexibility. Yes, you need to draft a thorough plan for how your company should function, but you also need to allow for the unexpected so you can respond to changing marketplace needs and requirements. Effective strategic management enables your business to move quickly in response to new challenges, and replace outdated ideas and practices with new processes as new needs present themselves.