Forecasting for Growth: Strategic Thinking

In order for your business to be a success and maintain momentum in the future, you must look into and plan for the future, while still remaining focused on the present. Forecasting and good planning are necessary for the long-term success of your business. This will require strategic thinking. Strategic thinking is a tool that you can use in order to make your business vision a reality. It allows you to develop your abilities in teamwork, problem solving, and critical thinking. Likewise, it can help to confront change, plan for and make transitions, and envision new possibilities and opportunities.

Strategic thinking requires that you envision the ideal outcome you desire for your business, and then focus on putting together the story of how to get to that final goal. The following are five criteria that will help you to define your ideal outcome for your business, and help to develop your business plan so that your ideal outcome can become a reality.

Organization

It is important to think about the organizational structure of your business. In doing so, consider the resources that will be needed in order to make it run smoothly, and what your organization will look like. What kind of business structure will be best for your ideal vision? How can you combine people, resources, and structure in order to have the best outcome possible?

Observation

In order to be as effective as possible in seeing your ideal business vision through to fruition, it is necessary to be able to see the big picture. Think of it as looking down at the ground from an airplane, you can see much more than when you are actually on the ground. By viewing your organization from this point of view, you will be able to discover what motivates people, how to solve problems in the most effective manner, and how to distinguish between alternative plans of action.

Views

When we talk about “views” in a business sense, we are referring to different ways of thinking or going about something. Strategic thinking will require you to consider four different viewpoints during the formation of your business strategy: the environmental view, the marketplace view, the project view, and the measurement view. Considering these four viewpoints will allow you to think more realistically about outcomes, identify critical elements and adjust your actions to achieve your ideal goal.

Driving Forces

What forces will allow for your company’s vision and mission to be seen through to fruition? How can you motivate employees to perform to their fullest potential? There are a number of ways to go about this, some you might consider are: providing incentives; empowerment and alignment; qualitative factors like a defined vision, values, and goals; productive factors like a mission or function; quantitative factors such as experience; and others such as commitment, effectiveness, and productivity.

Ideal Position

Once you have considered and worked through the first four criteria of the strategic thinking process, you will be able to move onto defining what your ideal position is. The outline of your ideal position will include the conditions that you determine necessary to be productive, the niche that your business will fill in the marketplace, what opportunities exist or will exist for your business in the future, the skills or competencies needed to be productive, and the strategies you will use to put it all together.

Planning and envisioning for the future is one of the most important aspects of running a business. Learning to determine and address goals, problems, and opportunities for both the present and future by applying the strategic thinking model above will ensure that your business remains strong for years to come.

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