Benefits of Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the process of identifying future goals and creating a plan of how to achieve them. Before committing to this serious effort, communities should be clear on the possible benefits of strategic planning. Time spent in developing an economic development strategic plan will:

  1. Outline the steps to follow. The plan will require the community to identify a number of intermediate steps to reach its final goals.
  2. Promote efficient use of scarce resources. The plan will provide an outline for resources allocation so that money, time, and the people that are required for economic development efforts will not be wasted.
  3. Improve coordination. The plan will serve as a vehicle for communicating development activities so that the many programs, activities, groups, and individuals involved in the development effort will not have activities that that overlap or conflict.
  4. Build consensus. The plan will allow the public and private sector to agree on the major issues involved.
  5. Increase public awareness. The plan should allow for full public disclosure. Without public support, economic development cannot happen. It is important that the public know how strategic economic development occurs and how it affects the community.
  6. Strengthen the community's competitive position. A community with a strategic plan will be inherently more likely to succeed and will be more attractive to potential business or industry.
  7. Encourage forward-thinking. The plan will encourage community leaders to think about the future and not overlook opportunities for development.

Then, once the plan is developed, the real work begins! Implementing the plan includes all the hard work necessary in carrying out the identified action items. Once a community has determined a strategic planning effort is desirable, there are steps which can be followed to build a positive future.