Time for Strategic Planning

You must find time for strategic planning

businessman's hand holds an alarm clock.As a business owner, you know that it’s easy to spend nearly every working hour on the multitude of day-to-day tasks and crises that never seem to end. It’s essential to your company’s survival, however, to find time for strategic planning. Lost in the weeds Business owners put off strategic planning for many reasons. New initiatives, for example, usually don’t begin to show tangible results for some time, which can prove frustrating. But perhaps the most significant hurdle is the view that strategic planning is a time-sucking luxury that takes one’s focus off of the challenges directly in front of you. Although operational activities are obviously essential to keeping your company running, they’re not enough to keep it moving forward and evolving. Accomplishing the latter requires strategic planning. Without it, you can get lost in the weeds, working constantly yet blindly, only to look up one day to find your business teetering on the edge of a cliff — whether because of a tough new competitor, imminent product or service obsolescence, or some other development that you didn’t see coming. Quality vs. quantity So how much time should you and your management team devote to strategic planning? There’s no universal answer. Some experts say a CEO should spend only 50 percent of his or her time on daily operations, with the other half going to strategy — a breakdown that could be unrealistic for some. The emphasis is better put on quality rather than quantity. However many hours you decide to spend on strategic planning, use that time solely for plotting the future of your company. Block off your schedule, choose a designated and private place, and give it your undivided attention. Make time for strategic planning just as you would for tending to an important customer relationship. Time well spent Effective strategic planning calls for not only identifying the right business-growing initiatives, but also regularly re-evaluating and adjusting them as circumstances change. Thus, strategizing should be part of your weekly or monthly routine — not just a “once in a while, as is convenient” activity. You may need to delegate some of your current operational tasks to make that happen but, in the long run, it will be time well spent. One way to stay on track is to work with a business advisor. By way of scheduled meetings with your advisor, time is designated for planning. Contact Mike Benz, Ciuni & Panichi, Inc. Executive Advisor, 216-831-7171 or by email to learn about the many advisory services the firm offers that will help you achieve your business goals in 2018. You may also be interested in: Is Your Company’s Retirement Plan as Good as it Could Be? Private Companies and Financial Reporting