Strategic Financial Process

Inputs

The various organizational inputs are the goal inputs of the claimants,

Enterprise Profile

The enterprise profile is usually the starting point for determining where the company is and where it should go. Thus, top managers determine the basic purpose of the enterprises and clarify the firm‘s geographic orientation, such as whether it should operate in selected regions, in all states in the United States, or even in different countries . In addition, managers assess the competitive situation of their firm.

Orientation of Top Managers

The enterprise profile is shaped by people, especially top managers, and their orientation is important for formulating the strategy. They set the organizational climate, and they determine the direction of the firm. Consequently, there values, their preferences, and their attitudes toward risks have to be carefully examined because they have an impact on the strategy.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose and the major objectives are the end points towards which the activities of the enterprise are directed. Since the previous chapter dealt with these topics at length, additional discussion here is unnecessary.

External Environment

The present and future external environment must be assessed in terms of threats and opportunities. The evaluation focuses on economic, social, political, legal, demographic, and geographic factors. In addition, the environment is scanned for technological developments, for products and services on the market, and for other factors necessary in determining the competitive situation of the enterprises.

Internal Environment

Similarly the firms internal environment should be audited and evaluated in respect to its weaknesses and strengths in research and development, production, operations, procurement, marketing, and products and services. Other internal factors important for formulating a strategy include that the assessment of human resources , financial resources, and other factors such as the company image, the organization structure and climate, the planning and control system, and relations with customers.

Alternative Strategies

Strategies alternatives are developed on the basis of an analysis of the external and internal environment. An organization may pursue many different kinds of strategies . It may specialize or concetrate, as the Korean Hyundai company did by producing lower-priced cars (in contrast to General Motors, for example, which has a complete product line ranging from inexpensive to luxurious cars).

Alternatively, a firm may diversity, extending the operation into new and profitable markets. Sears not only is in retailing but also provides many financial services.

Still another strategy is to go international and expand the operation into other countries. The multinational firms provide many examples. The same chapter also examines joint ventures, which may be an appropriate strategu for some firms have to pool their resources, as illustrated by the joint venture of General Motors and Toyota to produce small cars in California.

Under certain circumstances, a company may have to adopt a liquidation strategy by terminating an unprofitable product line or even dissolving the firm. But in some cases liquidation may not be necessary and a retrenchment strategy may be appropriate. In such a situation the company may curtail its operation temporarily.

These are just a few examples of possible strategies. In practice, companies, especially large ones, pursue a combination of strategies.

Evaluation and Choice of Strategies

The various strategies have to be carefully evaluated before the choice is made. Strategic choices must be considered in light of the risks involved in a particular decision. Some profitable opportunities may not be pursued because a failure in a risky venture could result in bankruptcy of the firm. Another critical element in choosing a strategy is timing. Even the best product may fail if it is introduced to the market at an inappropriate time. Moreover, the reaction of competitors must be taken into consideration. When IBM reduced its price of the PC computer in reaction to the sales success of Apple‘s Macintosh computer, firms producing IBM-compatible computers had little choice but to reduce their prices as well. This illustrates the interconnection of the strategies of several firms in the same industry.

Medium – and Short-Range Planning, Implementation, and Control

Although not a part of the strategic planning process and short-range planning as well as the implementation of the plans must be considered during all phases of the process. Control must also be provided for monitoring performance against plans. The importance of feedback is shown by the loops in the model.

Consistency and contingency

The last key aspect of the strategic planning process is testing for consistency the preparing for contingency plans.

MAJOR KINDS OF STRATEGIES AND POLICIES

For a business enterprise and, with some modification, for other kinds of organizations as well), the major strategies and policies that give an overall direction to operations are likely to be in the following areas.

Growth

Growth strategies give answers to such questions as these: How much growth should occur? How fast? Where? How should it occur?

Finance

Every business enterprise and, for that matter, any non business enterprise must have a clear strategy for financing its operations. There are various ways of doing this and usually many serious limitations.

Organization

Organizational strategy has to do with the type of organizational pattern an enterprise will use. It answers practical questions. For example, how centralized or decentralized should decision-making authority be? What kinds of departmental patterns are most suitable? How should staff positions be designed? Naturally, organization structures furnish the system of roles and role relationships that help people accomplish objectives.

Personnel

There can be many major strategies in the area of human resources and relationships. They deal with such topics as union relations. Compensation, selection, hiring, training, and appraisal, as well as with special areas such as job enrichment.

Public Relations

Strategies in this area can hardly be independent; they must support other major strategies and efforts. They must also be designed in the light of the company‘s type of business, its closeness to the public, and its susceptibility to regulation by government agencies. In any area, strategies can be developed only if the right questions are asked. While no set of strategies can be formulated that will fit all organizations and situations, certain key questions will help any company discover what its strategies should be. The right questions will lead to answers. As examples, some key questions are presented below for two major strategic areas: products or services and marketing. With a little thought, you can devise key questions for other major strategic areas.

Products or Services

A business exists to furnish products or services. In a very real sense, profits are merely a measure-although an important one-of how well a company serves its customers. New products or services, more than any other single factor, determine what an enterprise is or will be.

The key questions in this area can summarized as follows:

  • What is our business?
  • Who are our customers?
  • What do our customers want?
  • How much will our customers buy and at what price?
  • Do we wish to be a product leader?
  • Do we wish to develop our own new products?
  • What advantages do we have in serving customer needs?
  • How should we respond to existing and potential competition?
  • How far can we go in serving customer needs?
  • What Profits can we expect?
  • What basic form should our strategy take?

Marketing

Marketing strategies are designed to guide managers in getting products or services to customers and in encouraging customers to buy. Marketing strategies are closely related to product strategies; they must be interrelated and mutually supportive. As a matter of fact, Peter Drucker regards the two basic business functions as innovation (e.g., the creation of new goods or services) and marketing. A business can scarcely survive without at least one of these functions and preferably both.

The key questions that serve as guides for establishing a marketing strategy are these:

  • Where are our customers, and why do they buy?
  • How do our customers buy?
  • How is it best for us to sell?
  • Do we have something to offer that competitors do not?
  • Do we wish to take legal steps to discourage competition?
  • Do we need, and can we supply , supporting services?
  • What are the best pricing strategy and policy for our operation?

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