The Importance of Strategic Planning in your Business
Updated: Oct 15, 2019
All entrepreneurs have basically coined the term “Wearing Too Many Hats.” And at any given time, the hat that you are wearing is actually the most important hat; that job or function that is needed most urgently. Now, if every hat is urgent during nearly every moment of your day, you may be growing but ask yourself: are you as effective as you could be, and is this sustainable for the long term?
What can you do?
Put on your Strategic Planning Hat. If you feel like you don’t have the time for planning, then that’s exactly what you need to do. Stop what you are doing right now and start brainstorming. Start planning. If you’re in a constant state of urgency, stop and plan. But you are too busy? No, take time to plan. Because planning leads to growth.
How do you start a plan?
Start by scheduling time. You’ve decided you need to plan, now decide when. The best time to start is today. Don’t put it in your calendar to start on Friday or next week, look at today’s calendar, your to-do list (we like todoist.com), and determine how many things you must complete in the next hour and then start your planning after that. Ideally, you would head over to the local coffee shop or go into a different meeting room (change your scenery basically). But is that realistic for you? Probably not, so get up and get some tea or coffee, clear a space off your desk, spin your chair to different place on your desk, close down your client-related apps (including your email) on your laptop, and either head over to the whiteboard or pull out a poster paper, some markers, and start writing. Consider if you can also silence your phone and if so, do that too. Now if you don’t have a whiteboard, thinking-sized poster board paper or markers, the next step in your planning process is to purchase these items for your next planning session. Do not use a tablet, your laptop or your notebook to do this. The Notes app on your phone won’t cut it either.
What do you do now?
Start dumping ideas, issues, visions, dreams, challenges, etc., onto your clear white space. All the things that pop into your head throughout the day that you don’t necessarily have a chance to return to until you're in that particular situation again. Maybe you’ve had an idea about your company’s growth or growing pains and you just haven’t had a chance to process it yet. It’s always good to keep your vision for your business in mind when planning. If you have one that you are confident in, write it on the board so it’s present while you plan. If you have a team member that you trust, consider including this person in your planning session. Chances are he/she has a valuable perspective for you.
Categorize, then Prioritize
Once you have a few items on the board, take a step back and see which of them are related. If related, group them together. Once grouped together, determine which group you should tackle first. Not which ones are going to be more enjoyable to tackle first, but which ones need to be addressed first because without progress in this area your business growth is hindered.
What do you need to tackle it?
This could take a variety of forms. Let’s say, for example, you decided that too many leads are slipping through your fingers preventing your business’ growth. You decide you need a lead response and tracking solution; a CRM. You are going to need to evaluate a couple of different applications before you make a decision. You need to put a plan in place for system implementation. Be realistic about timing and get to it. If you are bogged down by everyday operations during the 9-5, this may be a weekend project. But prioritize it just as you would with other hats.
There are many experts out there that will tell you that as a business owner you should spend at least 20-30% of your time planning. If that’s not realistic for you, that’s ok. Start where you can and recognize when you’re not being effective and take the time to plan.
Chances are you are going to need financial info to help you make your decisions. It may come in various forms and analyses. That’s where we come in. Do you need financial data? We can help! Take the time because planning leads to growth.