If you noticed I did not post much last week it was because my wife and I went to Austin, TX to visit our son and his family. We had a great time there. Our family keeps getting spread further and further apart, and we just don’t get to see everyone enough.
I was very pleased to read an e-mail when I returned from a reader of my book Mistakes: Avoiding the Wrong Decisions That Will Close Your Small Business. He wrote to tell me how much he enjoyed the book and felt that it should be a required book for a class for entrepreneurs. He said he especially appreciated the chapter on strategic planning.
That was also one of my favorite chapters to write because too much of what small businesses do is open their doors each day, fight through the daily challenges, and wonder why nothing much changed over the past year. The reason little changed is because the owners of these businesses did little intentionally to make changes. They spent so much time working in their business they had little time to work on their business. They assumed that somehow magically things would change and improve without their doing anything intentional to making that happen.
One of my favorite sayings recently is “What got you here won’t get you there.” One of the mistakes I made in my former business, which I point out in the book, is that the company had done so well for so many years I assumed it would continue to do well if we just kept doing what we had been doing. Big mistake! None of my competitors were thinking like that. They were adapting to the changes in our industry, and we were not. Like the proverbial buggy whip factory, we just kept plugging away doing what we had always done not realizing that our business was slowly leaving us.
Small business owners must spend a portion of their time with their feet on their desks thinking about the future of their company. They have to have a clear vision of where they want their business to go over the next year or so and then determine what steps will be needed to get there. Begin with the end in mind, and then you can work backwards to identify the actions you will have to take that will get you from where you are to where you want to be. That is strategic planning.
To read more about strategic planning and other decisions you need to make to keep your small business strong I encourage you to read the book. If you prefer to use a NOOK reading device it can be purchased here.