Matt never wanted to talk about “strategy”. Whenever it came up he even used the air quotes with his fingers to mock the idea.
He saw it as an unnecessary distraction that didn’t apply to his decades-old business.
He had bought into some of the most dangerous myths about strategic planning – and strategic thinking in general.
- My business is too small (or too established) for a strategic plan.
- Strategic planning is an expensive, academic exercise with low ROI.
- I don’t have time to write a strategic plan. Besides, it will be out of date as soon as it is done.
- It’s all in my head and that’s good enough.
- My operating work plans have everything I need to succeed.
The truth is that lots of businesses achieve a level of success without having a strategic plan.
They might have been in the right place and the right time. They might have been lucky. Or maybe the founder really was that good.
This kind of accidental (or fortunate) success can be dangerous because it isn’t sustainable.
Thinking strategically, and writing up a simple and actionable plan is essential to avoid or minimize the impacts of the plateaus and stalls that impact every business.
A good plan will help you:
- Establish and communicate clear priorities and directions for your business.
- Attract and retain excellent team members and partners
- Ensure everyone is aligned and working together to achieve your true objectives.
- Simplify and accelerate decision-making.
- Anticipate and adapt to challenges and opportunities
- Prepare for business succession and transition.
Matt agreed that he wanted all of the things that a plan would give him.
But he wasn’t sure where to start – and it seemed like such a big undertaking.
Especially when he was so busy trying to keep up with all of the urgent and important things that packed his calendar.
I’d been in Matt’s shoes before, both as a small business owner and from my corporate life.
I’d also seen how overwhelming the planning process can be.
Luckily I’ve learned how to simplify and streamline the strategic planning process so it is doable – and usable by really busy professionals.
And when we do the work together – all of the various pieces and parts of the business fall into place and everyone starts pulling in the same direction – on purpose – to build the business you really want.
Have you done formal strategic planning before?
What’s worked out well for you? What would you do differently next time?