5 Tasks to Help You Formulate a Strategic Plan

Whether you work in a family business or not, your business is a family asset. Up to 85% of firms are initially established with some sort of family investment, and the work you do every day is a vital resource for your loved ones.

Roots: A Course for Anchoring Your Business discusses 12 Best Practices which combat many of the obstacles that small/family/entrepreneurial businesses face so you can be prepared for the future. We encourage all CFBC members, their family and their key employees to attend Roots. From culture to legacy to succession, we touch on multiple business challenges throughout the course.

There’s a lot against you as a business owner—Product life cycles are becoming shorter, the workforce is changing and family dynamics are becoming more complex. Now more than ever, it is more likely for businesses to sell or fail than to pass on to their next generation. What can you do to ensure long term success?

Here’s a glimpse of one of the 12 Best Practices:

Formulate a Strategic Plan.

Four words that we constantly have at the back of our mind, but find difficult to achieve. This includes the development, evolution, communication and ongoing measurement of a business strategic plan. It can certainly be overwhelming.

There will never be one right way, because business is personal too. However, we break down this process into five tasks, making this daunting responsibility a bit more manageable.

Task #1: Create a strategic vision.

Take time to think about the core values of your business. What inspires you, and how do you want to make your customers feel?

Consider where you want to be personally in the next five to ten years. Then envision where you would like the company to be. You decide what milestones or actions would make you feel accomplished in the future.

Once you’ve formulated a mission statement from your vision, ensure that it is widely known, practiced and respected across the entire company. Engrain your mission statement into everything you do.

Task #2: Set objectives.

Develop, refresh and communicate your plan to the key members of your organization.

Set clear, attainable objectives that help you reach your end goal. It’s not enough to just talk about objectives, you must have implementers. With each step, decide who will execute and when.

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Task #3: Craft the strategy.

When you put all the stakeholders into a room, there will be a wide variety of strong opinions. You want everyone to have a chance to voice their thoughts, but enforce accountability. If someone has an opinion, ask for an idea or solution to follow.

If you find it difficult to get buy-in from other key members, present hard facts. Use market comparisons, employee feedback from the front line, your own performance numbers—whatever it takes to prove the necessity and validity of your statement.

Task #4: Implement and execute.

Following the timeline you have created, begin to check things off your list.

If things aren’t getting done on time, you will know who is holding the business back because people were held accountable from the beginning.

**CFBC members can visit the Resources Page  for a checklist template.

Task #5: Regularly evaluate performance.

Use performance evaluation and debrief on your efforts as a group. Did things go as you planned? What can you learn from the outcomes? This will help you avoid future mistakes and gather evidence for why something does (or doesn’t) work.

Continuously improve your strategic plan, and regularly communicate this plan to stakeholders and family members. Think about how you will measure your progress, and even use checklists to mark key milestones.

Learn more about the Roots course and the Business Families Foundation here. Check back to the CFBC blog for other information and resources.

This post is a recap of the Roots Program from November 14, 2017, presented by George Karavattuveetil of Psyched LLC, Deanna Salo of Cray Kaiser Ltd, and Judy Hogel of the Chicago Family Business Council.

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