Most of us often use words strategic planning and business development interchangeably, but in reality the two phrases vary considerably. While strategic planning defines jobs within the organization, which vary in their career path and responsibility; business development describes jobs that typically have a more external focus.

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Strategic planners are tasked with planning, exploring, analyzing or evaluating specific business plans. Their work generally includes – recognizing new products or merger and acquisition proposals, analyzing their feasibility, and designing new processes and business alliances.

Strategic planners work in two distinct roles within their company. They work either as internal consultants (working on temporary assignments) or work in a long-term position (working within the strategic planning unit in the company). Most projects (tasks) carried out by the strategic planners is their own idea or that of their manager’s, in very rare cases the idea comes from the CEO or the head of the business unit.

In process of implementation of a project, the strategic planner is required to collect and analyze qualitative data. The planner must interview all existing and potential customers, companies (including competitors) and then arrive at a conclusion, which should be presented to the head of the company.

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Strategic planner is a very unique profile in a company because unlike other functional responsibilities, the role of strategic planner is undefined. The role varies from company to company, which makes the task challenging and interesting.

In contrast to small companies, larger organization have separate strategic planning and business development units that feature professionals building their careers in strategic planning. While considering a career in strategic planning be sure to understand how the company defines strategic management role and whether these gel with your own career goals.

Yes, strategic planning jobs let you showcase your creativity, but you need to be wise in choosing whether you want to work in the strategic planning unit of a particular company or as strategic management consultant in a consultancy.

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