You don’t need a mountain of fancy resources to craft a strategic roadmap for your business, but you do need to give up a lot of preconceived notions about strategy.
Sometimes the thing that holds a small business back the most is small thinking. For example, believing that your size is a disadvantage when it comes to strategic planning. After all, the big companies have the financial resources and the manpower to throw at market forecasting and prognostication. You don’t stand a chance, right?
Fortunately common sense, not money or headcount, is the key ingredient in creating a strategic plan, and that beats (or at least matches) bells and whistles every time. According to business experts interviewed by Pedro Hernandez at Small Business Computing, your company size is not a strategic disadvantage. In fact, it lets you change course much faster than your larger competition.
How can you develop your strategic-thinking chops? Listen up.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
You might be surprised to hear that the first step is to stop strategizing. Say what now? Yes, you need to understand your market conditions, and you still need goals; the point here is to stop planning unnecessarily or obsessively.
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Instead, business author Kaihan Krippendorff suggests relying on your company’s nimble size. Shoot for shorter, regular sessions to “address challenges, explore options and seize opportunities to out-maneuver bigger, slower rivals.”
If you’re a big believer in the status quo, you might need a big steaming cup of reality. The business climate is changing faster than ever. For an example, just consider how quickly the Internet, social media and mobile devices have changed the way people conduct business. Now consider how many companies are littering the information highway because they couldn’t see or adapt to the changing times.
Question everything. Krippendorff suggests that you write down all the reasons you think an idea won’t work, and then test your reasoning. Gather your team and devise ways to make your idea viable. While it’s true that some business principles remain absolute, don’t let your preconceived notions about what is and isn’t possible control your business strategy.
Chances are you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunity if you stay too focused on your day-to-day activities. Instead, look outward and reassess both your course and your progress. Joe Fuster, senior vice president of global sales for SAP Cloud believes in building a sales strategy based on the outcome you desire. Changing your perspective in such a way could show you new opportunities or get your team thinking in new, more profitable directions.
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Jack (or Jane) Be Nimble, Eager and Unafraid
Here’s where that nimble small business stuff really comes into play. Course corrections are a part of life and business. You can’t control how the market changes or what your customers might do, but you can and should be prepared to adjust your action plan as needed.
And when you do need to make adjustments, don’t be afraid to try a new approach. Keep an eager, open mind and look for unconventional ways to grow.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of Small Business Computing. Follow Lauren on Twitter.
Adapted from 5 Strategic Thinking Tips for Small Business Owners by Pedro Hernandez at Small Business Computing. Follow Small Business Computing on Twitter.