Strategic Planning- Where to Start? Begin Here.

An approaching new year always causes me to pause and reflect on what I have or have not accomplished during the prior year and makes me think of what I want to achieve in the new year. I think most of us relaize that we need to do some planning for whatever personal or professional goals we have. What often happens when running a business is that two factors come into play that keep us from completing this critical task. First, is just finding the time to start the process. Starting something is often half of the battle. Decide that you are going to make a change and do it today! Second, is wondering where to begin and how to implement the process.

Combine WHEN, WHERE and HOW and the process can become overwhelming and paralyzing. It is easier to do nothing, particularly if the firm is already fairly successful. It is not easy to know where to begin and what to focus on in the strategic planning process. You might wonder what process should be used to do your strategic planning and how to follow through with it in the future to continue your momentum.

When? Start today.

Where (to find time)? Put time on the calendar to make time for strategic planning. More about this will be included in future posts.

How? Follow this series of posts. Each one will include steps and provide solutions for how to create an effective systematic strategic planning process.

Think of it this way. Would you allow one of your planning clients to “wing it” without a well thought out financial plan even though they likely have a large income and often numerous assets? They might make it to retirement successfully, but the odds are they will be much more successful by following a systematic process you have created for them. If you wouldn’t allow your clients to plan for their future in this manner, why would you put off planning for your own business. Your business is much more likely to be more successful if you spend more time working ON your business instead of just working IN your business! Strategic planning is part of the working on your business.

Strategic Planning is, in simple terms, the process of figuring out where your business is going and how you are going to get there. As a business owner, it also should incorporate your personal goals. As the owner, you have the ability to build the business any way you want. This is especially true in the finacial advisory business with its variety of business models. You can decide the size of the business you want to build, whether you want to hire staff or outsource many of the functions, how large you want to grow your business, how much vacation time you want to take, and so on. So, the main reason you want to do strategic planning is to place some “vision” on where you want the business to be in the future- for yourself, your family, and your staff. Once you have the vision on where you want the business to be, it allows you to focus all your energy on performing the tasks needed to get where you want to be.

Once your vision is set for where you want your business to be in the future, you can now involve your staff in the vision. When your staff is able to see where the firm is headed, they now become responsible for completing the tasks that need to be completed to reach each incremental goal. More details about how to set the vision and involve your staff will be presented in an upcoming posts.

This blog is the introduction to a series of articles to help your firm understand, implement, and follow through on the strategic planning process to build your business. By providing in-depth steps for implementing a sysematic strategic planning process, some of the reasons for putting off the process will be eliminated and you will know how to get your business to the point you envision today.

In upcoming blog posts, I will discuss a systematic process for successfully getting your firm to the next level.

Build your business wisely.

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