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In spite of some overexposure in the business press, strategic planning still seems like an obscure concept to many entrepreneurs. Beyond the hype, however, strategic planning can bring real value to an organization that takes the process seriously.

What is strategic planning? Simply put, strategic planning determines exactly where your organization is going over the next few years and how it’s going to get there. A strategic plan is a coordinated and systematic way to develop a course and direction for your company.

Basically, not having a strategic plan is akin to navigating unknown territory without a map. And without a map, you’re lost in a highly competitive business environment that will inevitably throw challenges your way. A rule of thumb is that if there’s uncertainty on the horizon, then you need a strategic plan.