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The function of strategic planning is to position a company for long-term growth and expansion in a variety of markets by analyzing its strengths and weaknesses and examining current and potential opportunities. Based on this information, the company develops strategy for itself. That strategy then becomes the basis for supporting strategies for its various departments.

This is where all too many strategic plans go astray-at implementation. Recent business management surveys show that most $\text{CEOs}$ who have a strategic plan are concerned with the potential breakdown in the implementation of the plan. Unlike $1980s$ corporations that blindly followed their $5-$year plans, even when they were misguided, today’s corporations tend to second-guess.

Outsiders can help facilitate the process, but in the final analysis, if the company doesn’t make the plan, the company won’t follow the plan. This was one of the problems with strategic planning in the $1980s.$ In that era, it was an abstract, top-down process involving only a few top corporate officers and hired guns. Number crunching experts came into a company and generated tome-like volumes filled with a mixture of abstruse facts and grand theories which had little to do with the day-to-day realities of the company. Key middle managers were left out of planning sessions, resulting in lost opportunities and ruffled feelings.

However, more hands-on strategic planning can produce starting results. A recent survey queried more than a thousand small-to-medium sized businesses to compare companies with a strategic plan to companies without one. The survey found that companies with strategic plans had annual revenue growth of $6.2$ percent as opposed to $3.8$ percent fo the other companies.

Perhaps most important, a strategic plan helps companies anticipate-and survive-change. New technology and the mobility of capital mean that markets can shift faster than ever before. Some financial analysts wonder why they should bother planning two years ahead when market dynamics might be transformed by next quarter. The fact is that it’s the very pace of change that makes planning so crucial. Now, more than ever, companies have to stay alert to the marketplace. In an environment of continual and rapid change, long range planning expands options and organizational flexibility.

 

Between $1979$ and $1983$, the number of unincorporated business self-employed women increased five times faster than the number of self employed men and more than three times faster than women wage and salary workers. Part time self employment among women increased more than full-time self employment.

Each of the following if true could help to account for this trend except:

  1. Owing a business affords flexibility to combine work and family responsibilities.
  2. The proportion of women studying business administration courses has grown considerable.
  3. There are more self employed women than men.
  4. Unincorporated service industries have grown by 300 percent over the period; the ratio of women to men in this industry is three to one.
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