What is Strategic Planning and What Are the Benefits for Businesses?

by Mike O'Neill

Do you know you need a strategic plan in place for your business but find the whole task daunting? Do you find planning for the future of your business to be intimidating?

As a business leader, we understand your fear of putting a plan in place that could be full of wrong decisions that cause your business to fail. These are natural and valid.

A strategic plan provides your business with a place to record your business’ vision, mission, and company values. Your plan should include the long-term business goals, and the action plans you’ll use to achieve them.

Despite the benefits of putting a strategic plan in place, many business owners do not focus on their long-term business strategies. 63% of business owners said they only plan a year (or less) in advance. 

We will show you what a strategic plan is and what the benefits are for your business. We feel a well-written strategic plan can play a pivotal role in your business’s growth and success. It will tell you and your team how best to respond to its given opportunities and any challenges you could face.

And, it’s not all that scary.

What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is the process of documenting and establishing a direction of your business - by assessing where the company is and where it’s going. Strategic planning is an organizational management activity used by business leaders to set priorities, strengthen operations, focus energy, utilize resources, and ensure employees and stakeholders are working towards the same goals.

Strategic planning is a disciplined effort that produces some fundamental decisions to shape the future by articulating where the business is and where it’s going, and those actions needed to make progress. This type of planning shows a company its weak areas and where it's successful. 

A few benefits of a strategic plan are:

  • Sets up a sense of direction
  • Increase productivity
  • Increase operational efficiency 
  • Increase market share
  • Increase profitability
  • Increase durability
  • Increase sustainability
  • Being proactive instead of reactive
  • Ability to identify strengths and weaknesses

Strategic planning is something all businesses should utilize. Here are six benefits to working with a strategic planning expert, so you don’t have to worry about taking on the task of strategic planning yourself.

6 Benefits of Working with a Strategic Planning Expert

Business leaders have a lot of day to day operations issues on their shoulders. That’s why it's beneficial to call in a strategic planning expert.

Benefit 1: Facilitate the Planning Sessions

As a business leader, time is valuable. Having a strategic planning expert to act as the facilitator provides you with several advantages that can contribute significantly to success. A planner has done this before—many times—and thus can direct the process efficiently:

  • They’ll keep everyone focused and involved
  • They’ll coach, advise, and guide the planning team through every step.
  • They’ll keep track of all discussions, brainstorming sessions, notes, mind maps, and decisions.
  • They’ll maintain documentation.

A strategic planner will keep up with all of these necessary engagements of the strategic planning process, so you or anyone else on your team doesn’t have to.

Benefit 2: Provide Methods & Tools

A strategic planner will provide planning tools and methods to help streamline the process. They’ll provide the framework for gathering the market intelligence, identify and evaluate options, conduct strategic discussions, and use all of these findings for sound decision making.

This comprehensive process’s end result is a business strategy that is well thought out and more robust than what might have come out of a less defined process.

Benefit 3: Advice on Business Strategy

A strategic planning expert helps business leaders identify and evaluate new opportunities for the organization. With the ability to see things through a fresh pair of eyes, your expert can offer you an objective point-of-view, uninfluenced by internal factors like:

  • Corporate politics 
  • Groupthink
  • “Not-invented-here” mentality

A planner with outside influences can:

  • Create clarity
  • Present new ideas 
  • Make suggestions and recommendations
  • Help business leaders see things in a new light

Benefit 4: Assess Capabilities, Strengths & Weaknesses

For business leaders to learn about the state of the business and its competitive position, a strategic planning expert will conduct an objective, thorough assessment of the organization. Whether the results are good or bad, they’ll call it as they see it. 

A candid assessment of the organization identifies its strengths and weaknesses while shedding light on other opportunities that you should explore. 

Benefit 5: Ask the Probing Questions

The strategic planning process can be an impactful exercise if you ask the right questions. Your strategic planner will ask the questions that you may be afraid to ask. Your answers to these probing questions are the key to unlocking why your business isn’t going in the direction you want it to.

Strategic planning is about new directions. Your planner won't be afraid to dig into potentially touchy subjects, but only because it helps you learn more about your business in the long run. He will be candid but fair. You may not be comfortable with everything he asks or tells you, but they are things you need to discuss for your business's success. If difficult topics get avoided, the whole effort of building a long-term strategic plan becomes futile.

Benefit 6: Development & Support

Your strategic planning expert will help you formulate a clear business strategy from the planning process and ensure the business goals, tasks, budgets, methods, and the timeline for the strategy implementation are correctly outlined and defined in the strategic plan.

The plan will spell out what the organization will do to achieve the strategic objectives and the tasks and responsibilities for key individuals and departments. It’s a business-wide effort to implement these objectives. 

The strategic planning expert will help execute the tasks keeping everyone accountable and on track with their given tasks by staying involved. By staying in the loop, the expert can continue to consult with management about the areas where the strategy is or is not working and discuss any changes if necessary.

Ready to Get Started?

With continually changing technologies, industries, and world markets, organizations can find they lack the strong foundation, focus, and foresight to help push them through the next wave. Bringing in an outside expert offers a new perspective, opening the organization to new ideas and possibilities previously overlooked.

At Bench Builders, our mission is to help business leaders overcome the challenges we see every day as we work with companies of various sizes. We understand the difficult situations top leaders face as they strive to grow and improve — and we know how to help coach you through them using a combination of experience, skill, and proven tactics.

Let’s talk about what you need and what we can do for you. If we think we can work together, we’ll keep the conversations going.  No sales pitches. Just honest conversations.


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