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Part One: Better Strategic Planning in the Smaller Company

By Robert W. Bradford, President and CEO of Center for Simplified Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning Expert Robert W. Bradford

Strategic Planning Expert
Robert W. Bradford

We get questions about how to adapt our Simplified Strategic Planning model to smaller companies. The model was initially developed for companies with 50-500 employees, but has been used with great success in much smaller companies as well as Fortune 500 companies. This being said, there are a few tips we can offer which will make the process work much more effectively in the company with fewer than 50 employees (or one with a very limited management staff).

There are several key differences between doing strategic planning in a business with 10 employees and one with 100 employees. First, the team will likely be smaller, and include people with greater front line responsibility. The sales manager might be the only salesperson, and the operations manager probably does a significant part of the operations. Even the CEO in such an organization is likely to have a big chunk of time required for routine sales, operations, and financial functions. It’s also quite likely that there is no distinction between sales and marketing in the smaller company, and that some overhead functions, like IT, finance and HR, are largely or completely outsourced.

The second key difference is that the smaller company obviously has fewer resources to invest strategically, in terms of both time and money. This limits the strategic options available, which is a negative, but also makes the necessity of focus easier to understand, a real positive.

The third important difference is the availability of resources for the planning process itself. While it might be a good choice, it is a significantly more difficult investment for a small company to invest a few days of management time and thousands of dollars in any process.

We will discuss the important tips for smaller companies in the next articles of this series.

To learn ways to take your strategic planning to the next level please listen to our webinar:  Why my strategic planning isn’t working.

Robert Bradford is President/CEO of the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc.  He can be reached at rbradford@cssp.com.
Note:  This article was previously printed in full in Course and Direction in September 2006.
© Copyright 2015 by Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI — Reprint permission granted with full attribution