02 Jul Strategic planning is a journey, not a chore.
Strategic planning is a journey, not a chore.
The next person who tells you that Strategic Planning is a complex and difficult process, suggest to them, politely, they don’t know what they are talking about!
I am convinced that any struggle people have with strategic planning, is a mental thing, not rooted in any kind of reality. To make matters worse, those perpetuating this mental blockage are the very people who tell you that strategic planning is essential to avoid making costly, and often fateful errors in business – the strategic planners themselves.
Let’s set the record straight. Strategic Planning is as simple as understanding four basic principles – knowing where your business is today; knowing where you want your business to be in, say, ten years’ time; identifying the strategies that will get you there and, finally, determining the resources you will need to do the job.
On my bookshelves are several books about Strategic planning. The books are as intimidating as their authors – the so-called experts in strategic planning – who want you to believe that this is a complex, highly managed process.
Here’s their pitch!
Without a properly prepared and structured Strategic Plan, your business will most likely fail. To back that up they will quote statistics such as: 30% of all new businesses in Australia fail before their first year is finished. Unfortunately, this is a real stat and one linked very ominously to a failure to plan.
Step two in the pitch, is to present their ‘solution’, which, of course, is easily interpreted as their methodology.
Step three, and the logical progression, is to offer their help when it becomes clear that you are struggling with their methodology and have given up at page 30.
So, there’s their trap. Without a plan, you will most likely fail. However, there is a process you can follow to prepare the plan, but, and it’s a massive ‘but’, you will need their help to do it.
Oh, and I forgot one small component, it will take three days of planning to get it right. Frankly it doesn’t have to be that hard.
Here’s my pitch:
Focus your planning around your brand and you will find the task, not only refreshingly simple, but one that hones right in on your greatest asset – your customer.
The starting point is to think like your customer. If you understand their needs better than your competitors, your plan will have every chance of success.