Strategic Planning for Training Companies Term Paper

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" Of these respondents, over 50% of them stated that they lack a disaster recovery plan (Anthes, 1998). However, most of the problems stem from the lack of communication at the corporate level. (Hawkins, et al., 2000).

Business Continuity Plans (BCP) and other forms of strategic planning are no longer a luxury, but a must-have factor and an important element of any organisation's risk management system. Organisations are increasingly dependent upon it systems and infrastructure and eventually subjected to many risks, so business is inherently risky. How long can your organisation afford system downtime? How long does it take to recover a disaster; and, what does it cost? These kinds of questions are the ones that have to be addressed for BCPs. Also important, however, is using strategic planning to look toward the future and determine where a business wants to be at a specific point, so that plans to work toward that goal can also be created and addressed.

The background to a study is very important, and it often affects much of what is learned. Without a proper understanding of what has gone before, a study makes less sense and can be difficult to understand. However, the meat of the study itself is what is important, and it is not necessary to create a background that runs for many pages and uses up valuable space that could be used for the literature review, analysis, and other important issues.

The most important background issue to discuss is the fact that the problem strategic planning and how best to work with and implement it has been going on for many years. The way that SMEs work and how they change and adapt as society changes is significant, but strategic planning is still not used for all businesses in all areas, and many wonder why this is the case and how it might be hurting various industries and the customers. There are no easy answers to this issue, and it is not something that can be solved quickly. However, there have been ideas created and tried in the past for SMEs when it comes to strategic planning, both in the form of business continuity/disaster recovery, and in the form of future planning to ensure the meeting of goals and objectives.

Despite these ideas and beliefs, there are still many countries where the SMEs do not utilize any kind of strategic planning. The UAE is one of these countries where the rate of small and medium-sized companies with a strategic plan is only around 14%. This has been found to be troubling by those that study this particular issue, because strategic plans help businesses very much when it comes to serving their customers and making plans and changes that help them adapt to the future. Without these strategic plans, some businesses will struggle with issues that cannot easily be solved and these businesses need the help and stability that a strategic plan can provide for them.

The main theory is that these plans help companies not only in what they are doing in the present day, but also in what they are doing when it comes to future plans that they may make. These businesses must remain concerned about the services that they involve themselves in and use to assist the customers that they serve. They must keep up with the times and the needs of these customers, but they must be sure that they do not try to do too much too quickly and therefore offer a variety of services that do not work well, are fraught with difficulties, and only cause problems for their customers. Strategic plans help keep businesses running smoothly when there are disasters, either man-made or natural, that the businesses have to face, and they also keep businesses growing and expanding when the businesses are doing well.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this paper is to determine the impact of strategic planning on the performance of small to medium size training companies in the UAE.

The objectives are:

To identify the use of strategic planning as it relates to the company's performance (turnover, number of employees, number of customers);

To relate the use of strategic planning with international activity;

To determine the use of strategic planning as it relates to the use of high tech methods;

To correlate the use of strategic planning with the manager's characteristics (age, education, gender, foreign language proficiency, prior experience [general or specific]);

To evaluate the use of strategic planning with the company's age and the manger's experience; and to identify future development opportunities.

Statement of the research question

Is strategic planning essential for training companies (those that offer training for businesses) in order to remain competitive in providing relevant training for businesses with changing needs, from a sample of companies?

Chapter 2 - Background of the research

The strategic management process is highly important for any business. Before it is discussed, however, there are some specific issues that should be examined. These are Porter's Five Forces model, the SWOT analysis, and strategic decision making. Once these are examined and understood, a more thorough discussion of the strategic management process can take place. There are, says Porter, five specific forces that work to drive competition within a particular industry. The Five Forces in Porter's model are:

The threat of entry by new competitors.

The intensity of rivalry among existing competitors.

Pressure from substitute products.

The bargaining power of buyers.

The bargaining power of suppliers.

One of the main applications of this model has to do with the difficulty of being able to enter new markets. Another issue deals with the current competitors that are already in a market and the ability of a company to stay competitive in markets that they are already in. The most significant issue that can be seen from the Five Forces model, however, is that there is an inverse relationship between the intensity of the competition and the profit margins of the company - when the competition intensity rises, the returns and margins fall. There are other issues that must be looked at, however, when it comes to the Five Forces model, how to use it, and what it actually means for those in business.

For example, Porter also discusses the idea of diversification. By diversifying, a particular organisation is able to grow faster and spread out the risks that it is taking. There are various companies that have created models for determining which companies will rise and which companies will fall, but Porter has other ideas in mind.

The Five Forces model is not the only area of interest where strategy is concerned. Many companies also work with SWOT analyses. These outline the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that the company may be facing in order to help determine how better to deal with these issues. Strengths can involve issues such as how long the company has been around and whether people recognize the company name, as well as the philosophy that the company has when it comes to ensuring that the customers are happy. The amount of products that the company makes and the diversity that they have can be a strength as well, but it can also be a weakness. In a SWOT analysis, most of what is listed as the strengths of a company can also be seen as weaknesses in other companies. In other words, if one company is very diversified and another company is not, the first company may list diversity as a strength while the second company will likely list lack of diversity as a weakness.

Opportunities and threats are also significant in a SWOT analysis. The opportunities involve ways to expand the business or to make larger profits, and the threats are the issues that could prevent this from happening. These threats most often include other businesses that are selling the same or similar products, that have moved into the target market sooner, or that are otherwise causing difficulties for a particular business. While the Five Forces Model and the SWOT analysis are two very important tools, they are not everything when it comes to the strategic management process. It is important, therefore, to understand more about strategic decision making and strategic management throughout the rest of this section. There are many different issues involved when it comes to strategic planning, and many of them can be overlooked in the desire to create a plan and complete it.

The issues that will be discussed here will be the mission, the analysis of context, the strategic choice, the strategy implementation, and the strategy control. All of these work together to make up strategic management and planning. The mission is the beginning when it comes to strategic management and decision making processes (Parsatharthy and Booke, 2006, p. 11). For example, a mission…[continue]

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