Businesses require innovative solutions to survive problematic times – from the smallest to biggest. For instance, a merger with the right partner can solve liquidity issues when facing a crisis or when a rival company tries to acquire your business. Similarly, sometimes accepting hard facts (such as low cash flow forecasts) publicly in desperate times can help you restore consumer & investor confidence and better your goodwill assessments.

That said, what do you do when you don’t face an immediate crisis, but there are internal issues, which may look small on the onset but are plaguing business growth?

As a Business strategist one has to continually weigh in the pros and cons of day-to-day actions. Take into account external factors, such as regulatory policies, and ensure alignment between overall business goals, individual aspirations, and success of discrete strategies.

Strategizing can’t be left to chances. Adopting models can bring continuous evaluation and certainty to business plans.

Here are 5 models that can help business strategy professionals reassess strategies, decisions, and business environment.

Improving Decisions: 5 Strategy Planning Models

1.   SWOT Analysis

Acronym for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT), this analysis must be used right at the beginning of strategic planning. Business Strategists can use this model for investigating internal and external factors that may present as strengths, opportunities, and threats.

This is an ideal way to learn about business. The model can give the required kickstart to your understanding of not only the organization but your competitors as well. An example of a SWOT matrix can look like:

Strengths (S)

·         Good customer relationships

·         High website traffic

Weaknesses (W)

·         High rental

·         Cash flow problems

Opportunities (O)

·         Untapped customers

·         Price margins

Threats (T)

·         Competitors offering similar products

·         New advertising campaigns

2.   Strategy Mapping

Strategy mapping is about communicating with the higher-ups as well as the workforce an outline of your plans. It can be an excellent way for business strategists to communicate information across the organization in an easily digestible format.

Strategy mapping also complements the next strategy planning model, i.e. Balance Scorecard. Example of Strategy Mapping:

Finance: Increase profits; Increase shareholder value
Consumers: Pricing; Quality; Warranty
Operations: Customer Management; Innovation in production quantity
Learning and Growth: Building data analysis talent


3.   Balance Scorecard

Balance Scorecard keeps track of strategies and takes into account the high-level objectives of the organization (business goals); evaluative measures to understand if you are accomplishing desired strategy objectives; and initiatives outlining the actions taken for each desired objective.

For each set of parameters, three columns are made. It can be made using excel, google sheets, or even PowerPoint. Further, color coding of green, yellow, and red can be used to indicate if the status of objective, measure, and initiative. Green indicating everything is going as planned, and yellow and red showing certain degrees of trouble. Business strategy professionals can use this model to keep their team on the same page.

4.   Gap Strategic Planning

Gap strategic planning can be used when an organization sets to fill the gaps between the current situation and the intended goal. It proves especially effective in bridging internal deficiencies. It can be called a change agenda or shift chart, in each of which similar planning structure is used.

Gap planning can, for instance, chart the difference between projected and desired sales.

5.   Organic Strategic Planning

In this model, business strategists use the company’s self-organizing systems to achieve goals – be it conserve funds or operate effectively. Organic strategic planning requires continual reference to core organizational values and shared interpretations that lie around current processes.

Bringing the model in practice include storyboarding. Furthermore, it begins by clarifying the cultural values of the business and then using storyboarding and dialogue techniques. It allows participants to develop their ideas and share them with the larger group. All stakeholders are involved in the process, which makes the decisions more inclusive and thorough.

Regular dialogues with the group, and solid focus on learning over method, and patience, are three most important ingredients of successful organic strategic planning.

Final thoughts

Banking on the status quo never works out. As a strategist, you have to continue to look for opportunities to improve and eliminate the weaknesses. These models can help you find new markets, expand processes and better operations both internally and externally.