- Keep the team small – while 6-8 people are ideal for a 100-person company, 3-5 is likely to be better for smaller companies. Make sure your team represents the three points of the Tension Triangle – the market, finance, and operations. Also, of course, make sure the CEO (or in some cases, owner) is fully involved in the process.
- Don’t have too many market segments – we routinely work with 5-10 segments in most client companies, but 3-5 is a good number in smaller companies. Remember, while you lose some ability to focus on specific customer behaviors, fewer segments also mean less time is necessary for the planning process. A benefit of reducing the number of segments you use is that you may end up forcing yourself to focus more.
- Skip some of the less critical parts of the process – in past years, we have skipped some parts of the process with clients in order to focus on the most critical issues. While this can be dangerous, you might consider not doing the following exercises in a smaller company: Supplier Market Assessment (1.3), Significant Regulations (1.6), Other Assumptions (4.3), How Can We Shoot Ourselves in the Foot? (5.3), and Mission Statement (6.1). You can also save time by combining Measures of Success (2.3) with Goals (6.2), and reducing the number of Strategic Issues (5.2) you examine.
- Understand you will have next year to tackle another set of issues – It’s a good idea to do a great job understanding and dealing with a limited number of strategic issues each year. Some of the most successful smaller companies I know have a ”theme” for each year – one year it might be sales, the next year it might be quality, margins, or employee development.
- Push yourself – and your team – to keep the strategies as focused as possible. A two-million-dollar company CAN play in a billion-dollar market, but it’s much more likely to succeed in a ten-million-dollar market. Always ask the question ”Can we realistically expect to dominate this market in five years?”.
- Don’t have too many objectives – We often see 6-10 objectives in larger companies, but smaller companies will be well served to have 3-5 objectives. If you finish these off, you can always start to work on the next set of objectives earlier.
- Pay much closer attention to implementation – Because there aren’t resources dedicated to the strategic activity, routine functions will always demand a higher proportion of your team’s time in a smaller company. This means you will need to be very careful about allocating time to action plans and must be highly disciplined about having monthly monitoring of action plan progress in order to keep the ball rolling.
- Outsource as much as you are comfortable within the process itself. It’s hard enough to learn how to be the best at the things your company does, so consider outsourcing at least some of the planning process and possibly the market research to people who do those things professionally.
Remember, strategic planning should be viewed as a routine part of your year, rather than a separate event, so make sure the process fits into your normal business cycle with a minimum of hassle. If you use these tips, you should be able to get through the process described in our seminars in a reasonable amount of time and get tremendous benefits.
The Invesca is a firm that, provide fantastic and effective strategic planning services.Christopher longsworth is the founder of invesca. He has made invesca one of the best firm which already has achieved fam on strategic