The Importance of Strategic Planning

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How many years have you put work-life balance on your list of New Year's resolutions? Every day, I see so many business owners struggle with the same issues: working 60+ hours each week, not being able to remember the last time they had a vacation, and simply feeling like it's up to them to do it all in their business. After working with countless business owners to identify and overcome their challenges, I've realized the most common root cause of these challenges is a lack of strategic planning.

The activity of strategic planning can seem daunting. In fact, 95-97 percent of business owners don’t have a strategic plan in place to measure their progress and achieve their goals. And it makes sense - if, as a business owner, you're working over 60 hours a week, when are you going to have time to sit down and create a strategic plan?

With the new year right around the corner, it's time to stop making excuses about when you'll take that next vacation, give that next promotion, or trust your best people to take on some of your responsibilities. With a strategic plan, you can get out of the day-to-day of your business to help your people and your profits grow.

Here are steps you can take to create a strategic plan for your business:

  • Start by thinking through where you want your business - and your personal life - to be in 10-30 years (depending on your age). List a few characteristics and goals.
  • Then create goals for each year that will insure you get where you want to be. These could be profit, sales, expense and expansion goals, for example.
  • Next, set 3-4 goals for the coming 12 months and then break them down into quarterly goals.
  • Finally, take the next quarter's goals and break them down into a list of weekly activities. List who will accomplish each by when.

For more than eight years, I’ve helped business owners, leadership teams, sales teams and others to identify their challenges and opportunities, while tying their personal goals back to their company, its culture and its future. By taking one day to really think through the above steps and mapping out a plan, business owners and their teams will know that what they are working on each day is leading to achieving those goals. When tasks are delegated with a purpose, it leads to a higher level of motivation to produce better work. Increasing employee performance can take enormous weight off the business owner’s shoulders, freeing you to focus on the overall direction and future of your company - and your personal life.

Having a 1-page business plan gets you focused on the important things - budget, priorities, and resources needs - and gets steps in place so that you can accomplish those things.

Roger Engelau is the owner of Inspire Results Business Coaching.

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