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Business planning

Involves making decisions about the approach and resources, including sources of competitive advantage to achieve aims and objectives. It involves business owners and / or managers undertaking the following: Understanding where they are now – This requires a review and analysis of the business’s current situation and business environment environmental audit PEST, SWOT. The review will be summarised in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT); Deciding where they want to go – What is the firm’s mission and objectives? Objectives might be expressed in terms of profits, growth and expansion, or in terms of market share. Objectives should be SMART, ie specific, measurable, agreed by the key individuals concerned, realistic and timescaled; Planning how they are going to get there – This refers to the firm’s strategy and tactics. Strategy concerns the broad approach to achieving objectives and are long term measures, whereas tactics concern the details and are short to medium term; Determining how they will know when they get there – All plans should include details of the monitoring and review process. Business planners need to build in a monitoring process to ensure that the organisation remains on target to achieve its objectives and, if not, a means by which strategy and tactics can be adjusted to put it back on track.

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