Because I often assist with small business strategic planning, I get a front row seat for the business owner’s fear of formalizing an effective business strategy. The apprehension is understandable, but I believe many small businesses fail because they were unable to overcome these concerns before it was too late.

  • The entrepreneur feels he is giving up too much control too early.
  • The drive and passion behind innovation is convinced that it will surmount all odds – or meet them head on – as they present themselves.
  • The entrepreneur is so busy working IN his business that he lacks the time to work ON his business.
  • The small business manager thinks strategic planning is an MBA idea, intrusive and counter-productive.
  • The entrepreneur confuses strategy, logistics, and tactics.

If any of these fears seem familiar to you, I would suggest a bit of honest reflection before engaging an advisor to assist you with the strategic planning process. You’ll save yourself time and money if you’ve pushed past these fears before hiring a strategy consultant.

Strategic planning is a way forward. It is horizontal, so to speak, rolling out in increments into your future. Once it’s in place, it’s up to you to deliver. Sure, your strategy consultant is available and accessible, in person, on call, or through Skype. But your strategist’s job is to nudge you back on the line and pace you decided on, not to determine the line or pace on your behalf. Neither a strategic plan nor a strategic consultant is intended to “take over” your business. The work that is to be done cannot happen without your leadership and collaboration. Best to think of the plan as a proposed map and the strategist as an experienced navigator – to help you reach your destination as quickly and easily as possible…


By Steven Schlagel