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Failure to plan is planning to fail

Oct 7th, 2014

There are many different descriptions about what Strategic Planning is. Some in the planning world offer five or six different types of plans based on what a business is trying to accomplish. In other parts of the business world, the phrase Strategic Planning brings with it a thought of a costly consultant who creates fancy binder of material with no follow up or advice on implementation; leaving a business owner to ask, “What did I just pay for?” In any way it is accomplished, Strategic Planning is important and can play a role in moving your business forward. The alternative to some kind of planning is to “make it up as you go” or to “wing it.” When compared to those philosophies, Strategic Planning within your business becomes critical to staying ahead of the competition and significant to the future success of your business. Failure to acknowledge the power of strategic planning can be the end to any growth within a business and if you don’t know where your business is going, it’s going nowhere.

Regardless of what method of Strategic Planning you decide to carry out, there are a few basic questions you should be trying to answer in your process. These questions include: Where are we now? Where do we want to go? How are we going to get there? Who will do what and by when? How are we doing? This is a pretty simple way to describe Strategic Planning but if you are focusing on some form of these questions, you can put together a road map for the business. The planning process does not have to be complicated. In fact, if you planning process is complicated then you run the risk that nobody in the organization will understand it (or people will interpret it a different way). To help with the simplicity, analyze the words for your own reaction: Strategic, which is developing a strategy for the organization; and Planning, which is the steps needed to execute the strategy.

Some of the benefits of Strategic Planning include the following:

  • Provides a method for decision making within a business.
  • Allow staff to ask and answer important questions within a business.
  • Should reveal future opportunities and concerns.
  • Sets objectives and goals for the business and staff.
  • Provides a measuring stick for performance.
  • Develops team and team work that is focused on the business’s future

A well done plan will align the organization, the people, processes, and resources with a clear, captivating, and wanted future position.

ISBDC Business Advisors have been trained in Strategic Planning by Michael G. Goldsby, PhD, Stoops Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship and executive director of the Entrepreneurship Center in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University. Ball State University’s Entrepreneurship Program has continually earned national rankings. ISBDC Business Advisors can walk a business through the Strategy Design Prototype process in as little a one 2.5 hour meeting.  This simple session will result in a plan that everybody will get involved with and lead the company into probable success.