This Is No Time To Put Off Your Strategic Business Planning
If you’ve been ignoring strategic business planning you do it at your own peril. By most accounts there’s going to be a reckoning for tariffs, isolationism, bad immigration policies, exploding federal debt, irresponsible corporate borrowing and an economic expansion that’s entered old age.
Sooner, rather than later it will be time to “pay the piper,” and when that time comes it’s not the big guys who will feel the pain, it’s all the little ones. So, here’s an idea. Do some strategic business planning in the next couple of months to stay competitive and economically resilient.
Wating for the inevitable will put you behind the eight ball. Not only is it frustrating to try to plan for events that are already unfolding, but without a strategic view of your business you can’t accurately plan in the near term.
The goal of strategic business planning is to lay out your long term plans (5+ years) with the goal of reviewing them annually. In any year, things can change enough to throw off your plans if you don’t review them for relevance. Growing your business is a dynamic activity.
So now is the time to tackle some of those long-term strategies that actually end up driving the short term tactical decisions. You have to be realistic about these things because they touch on issues and relationships that you might not be prone to viewing objectively.
It’s Time to Ask the Really Hard Questions
Is it a good time to diversify? Do you need to be more growth oriented in one area of the business? What about inherent weaknesses in the business that you should strengthen? Are all the bases covered in terms of continuity? Do you need a partner or new business manager? Thinking of going public this year? What about an exit strategy? Is it time and how can you make the business more attractive for sale or transfer?
What About the People You Work With?
As you do your strategic business planning you’ll have to also consider your partners and suppliers. What about weaknesses in their performances? Are you still getting the value you need from the relationships? What about processes you should review to make sure communication lines are open and clear? Do you see consolidation opportunities with these players? Is it time to find some new people with whom to collaborate?
Ultimately, your goal is to end up with a vision of what you want your business to look like at the end of the year. Of course this assumes that you’ve already reviewed the longer range goals of where you want to be in five years and beyond.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
If you have partners and others who need to be involved in your strategic business planning then consider how to accomodate them. Short of scheduling a series of meetings, you might suggest a retreat where everyone gathers for a weekend to map out the strategies. Sure, you could include some relaxation, but you better make sure you have a clearly-defined agenda and some clearly defined goals so the whole affair doesn’t deteriorate into an unfocused mess. That might be fun, but it won’t get the job done.
People are notoriously adept at avoiding to plan. That’s why so many people, and so many companies, look around at the end of the year and wonder why their long term goals are still just as far off as they were at the beginning of the year.
If you really are going to build it like you want it, you have to plan it.