Why Strategic Planning Is Important–For Every Business

Business leader working his plans“We don’t have time for planning. Our industry changes so fast, by the time we created a plan, it would be out of date.”

I’ve heard this statement—and its variations—numerous times. Most often, it’s said by business owners who find themselves running in place or firefighting daily issues instead of creating opportunities for success. They’ve failed to heed the timeless advice of Alan Lakein that “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

I teach marketing and entrepreneurship to college students and invite business leaders and entrepreneurs as guest speakers to share their stories. Some of my guests tell the students they did not have a strategic plan when they started out, but all admit that had they done so, their success would have come sooner. They could have avoided costly failures along the way.

Yes, circumstances often change a plan before the ink is dry. The secret to strategic planning is the thinking you and your team are led to do while developing it. The discussions in which you hash out where your company is headed—and where it’s not—lay the foundation for the decisions you have to make every day. Planning creates a common ground of shared understanding that allows people to stay in sync even when in the middle of storm.

That’s what makes creating a plan—working on your business—worth the time taken away from working in your business. Many issues are more easily solved when you look at what’s going on in the forest versus paying attention solely to what’s going on around your particular tree.

Some questions to think about:

  • What is your plan for achieving business success? Is it written down or in your head?
  • How aligned are the goals you’ve set for your company with your employees’ goals at every level?
  • What would it mean to you personally if everyone in your organization were able to see the ‘big picture’ and know how they directly impact business results?

Want to talk to someone about your answers? Contact me, and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.