Strategic Planning for Growth and Sustainability
At the end of the day, what is strategic planning all about? Growth. Businesses strive to grow more customers, more sales, positive cash flow, larger deal sizes, higher volume, more billable hours, justification for higher prices, and so on.
Ask any hardworking entrepreneur what he or she is working on and you’re bound to hear a comment related to growth. Growth is why you’re in business — to build or create something bigger than yourselves. Because if you’re not growing, you’re shrinking.
With that said, you don’t want to focus on growth for growth’s sake, because growth is just the means to an end. Your desire to grow must match up with your vision for your organization. Growing rapidly, growing incrementally, or maintaining your current position requires specific strategies.
As you develop your strategic plan, you discover the different paths for growth and sustainability strategies. You understand how to travel in more than one direction to find partners and acquire others. Lastly, you look at how to evaluate the different growth strategies against each other to get a clear picture of your strategic choices.
One thought to consider: Only 49 percent of executives surveyed say their companies have no list of strategic priorities. According to Cesare R. Mainardi, coauthor of The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy (Harvard Business Press), Too many companies grab too hastily for what seems like the next answer to growth.
However, on the other side of the coin, if you have too many strategic priorities, you end up with a plan that’s just too cumbersome and something you can’t manage. So the key to a good plan is having the right strategy recipe.