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"I find the column inspiring and helpful to me in running my own small business."
"'Ask the Small Business Professor' is a must read for small business owners looking for free expert business advice. Using a Q&A format, Bruce Freeman covers important small business topics weekly by bringing in recognized experts on subjects including accounting, legal issues, trademarks marketing and sales. Don't miss it!"
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The Value of a Strategic Plan
Dear Professor Bruce:
Many business books advise that I write a strategic plan for my business. I’ve been up and running for three years without one. The idea makes sense, but is it worth the time and effort?
Many businesses get by without a strategic plan, however all they do is get by. If you really want to succeed in business, a strategic plan is essential.
Sid Kemp, president of Quality Technology & Instruction (San Antonio,TX) and author of Entrepreneur Press's Ultimate Guide to Project Management for Small Business illustrates this point with two examples. One small business owner spent eight years planning his new business—a café at the shore. He designed the business, scouted the location, and launched when the time was right. He ended up opening four businesses in four years. He is very successful, and is having the time of his life. He planned, and followed the plan, and got what he wanted.
Another small business owner was a highly respected landscaper in a small town in Texas. He really enjoyed his work. He thought it would be good to grow his business. When he started, he had just one team—himself and one assistant. When he finished growing, he had twelve teams—24 employees, all doing landscaping in the area. He came to two conclusions. First, after paying all his employees, he wasn’t making any more money than when he started. Second, he was spending all his time doing paperwork. What he loved most about his business was being outdoors! He undid everything he built and went back to being a landscaper with one assistant.
Write a plan, follow it, and you won’t just keep your business running—you’ll be on the way to the life and business of your dreams. A strategic plan isn’t for everyone, but it increases the chances that you’ll get what you want, instead of letting your business take you where it will.
If you really want to succeed in business, a strategic plan is essential.