Discussion Questions. SWOTT and Strategic Planning

DQ1. SWOTT is an abbreviation that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, and Trends. Thus, a SWOTT analysis is a method of analyzing these five factors that influence the prospects of a business. The best time to conduct the analysis is at the beginning of the year in order for a company to perform a planning for the following year and in a long-term perspective. The main purpose of the SWOTT analysis is to identify the current company’s position in the marketplace and its future prospects. Each of the identified factors, if analyzed properly, can contribute to the strategic planning. Determining the company’s strengths means identifying what makes the company stand out among the competitors. Weaknesses define the aspects the company should pay more attention to in order to succeed. Opportunities show the things that the company has not been using yet, although it may take a good advantage of it. Threats are the dangers that are likely to exert a bad influence on a business. Trends as a newly established aspect of the analysis play a vital role. If the company wants to succeed in both short-term and long-term perspective, it should know, take into account, and follow the trends that already exist. Thus, SWOTT analysis is crucial when performing strategic planning (Tyler, 2012).

DQ2. Strategic planning is a process of defining the objectives for the company, means it will use to implement those goals, and employees responsible for the execution of the set tasks. The crucial role in the development of a strategic plan belongs to the internal factors the company managers should consider before its devising and implementation. The fundamental internal organizational factors for the development of a strategic plan are mission, vision, goals, objectives, projects, activities, and action plan. The most important task for the company is to determine where they are now in the marketplace, and where they want to be. Thus, it is essential to have a clear understanding of a mission and vision. Mission statement focuses on what the company is doing at present, what values it fosters, as well as why it is doing it. The vision statement reflects what the company wants to achieve in the future and what it strives to become. If these two aspects are clearly stated, the company has a vivid picture of what goals and objectives should be set and what actions and projects should be planned (University of Maine Cooperative Extension, n.d.). Therefore, mission and vision statement are the most important internal factors the company should consider as the basis for the further strategic actions.

DQ3. If a company strives to succeed, its managers should take into account not only the internal considerations, but also the external aspects when devising the strategic plan for the development of a company. The external considerations include customers, competition, technology, supplier and labor markets, economy, and regulatory environment. The abovementioned factors play a crucial role in defining the direction of the company, the way it is going to function in the future, goods or services it is going to produce, as well as benefits it will be able to offer to the consumers. Each business operates differently according to the goals it pursues and targets it has set, thus each has its own scale as to the importance of the external aspects. Nevertheless, all these external factors should be seriously considered while developing a strategic plan. However, the most important consideration for all kinds of business is the customers. Customers influence any business to a great extent. Such factor shapes business and affects the choice of the strategic ways for the company’s development. Therefore, each company should primarily consider the needs and preferences of their customers and follow their desires in order to provide them with quality goods and services (Bradford, n.d.).

DQ4. The main aim of each business is to make profit from the goods or services a company offers. The more successful the company is among its competitors, the more profit it is likely to obtain. Therefore, a company should take into account the following key factors when planning measures and further activities: needs of the customers, strengths and weaknesses of the competitors, profitable markets, message to the audience, and team of professionals. Identifying the customers’ needs, a company should determine whether it would be able to meet them to provide good value for money. Strengths of the competitors aim a company at the points that should be improved, while weaknesses show the advantages of a company over the others. Identification of the profitable and rapidly expanding markets gives an opportunity to determine the marketplace fields with a great number of new customers. Also, a company should be able to devise a message it will send to attract the target audience. Finally, professional team will provide the effective execution of the strategic activities (Hill, n.d.). Strategic planning raised Apple company over others in the field of cutting-edge technology development as opposed to Hewlett Packard that failed to achieve success because it unreasonably widened the range of technologies it wanted to deal with.