THUNDER BAY – Business – BDC Perspective – Strategic Planning: As entrepreneurs are gearing up for growth, strategic planning should always be at the top of the agenda. “This means looking at where you want your company to be in the next three to five years and determining what you need to do to get there,” says Erin Laine, Account Manager, BDC. “Whether it’s buying a competitor, increasing your capital or aiming for higher growth, you need the right strategies, structure, plans and controls in place to optimize the return on your investment.”
BCD Perspective – Strategic Planning shaking up things
A common misconception is that strategic planning is only for large companies. But the reality is that most businesses can greatly benefit from the exercise. “If you’re always busy putting out fires, you may feel you have no time for planning,” Laine says. “But by developing big-picture strategies to guide your day-to-day operations and setting goals, you’re no longer flying blind. A long-term plan simply increases your chances of success.”
Another reason for entrepreneurs to make strategic planning a priority is that it reduces risk, particularly in periods of economic uncertainty. “As part of the process, you’ll be assessing your current situation, resources, strengths and weaknesses, competitors and the business environment. This way, you will be better equipped to make decisions and therefore to minimize risk.”
Strategic planning also helps entrepreneurs to shake things up a little. “It’s a way to rekindle the entrepreneurial drive that got you started in the first place and reignite that passion for what you’re doing,” she says. “If you have a real plan with goals, it’s very rewarding to achieve each milestone. That sense of satisfaction builds the momentum you need to push even further.”
Laine recommends entrepreneurs involve their employees in the strategic planning exercise, particularly in smaller companies. When employees contribute, they take ownership of the plan and help you reach your goals, she says. “This builds enthusiasm in your company and gets everybody on the same page.” For example, entrepreneurs can ask employees to brainstorm about a company’s strengths and weaknesses. After all, your staff knows your company inside out.
A crucial part of successful strategic planning is to ensure you seek an external, objective point of view. Most small businesses don’t have the resources and expertise in-house to guide them through the strategic planning process. “A consultant can give you a fresh perspective on your business, help you envision the future you want and define your long-term goals,” Laine says.
“An expert can also ensure you follow a rigorous plan with clear timelines and assigned responsibilities.
At a glance Strategic planning enables you to:
· Envision your company’s future over the next 3 to 5 years
· Define your long-term goals
· Assess your current environment, as well as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
· Develop strategies and tactics to address any identified problems
· Assign timelines and responsibilities to turn your plan into reality
· Reduce the risk of doing business based on better decisions and achieve your company’s potential
The Business Development Bank of Canada is passionate about one thing: entrepreneurs. Helping them is our raison d’être. BDC listens and knows how to meet their needs. We have business relationships with 29,000 entrepreneurs across Canada. We understand the challenges they face every day, and we use our human and financial capital to provide the means to reach their aspirations. At BDC, we do everything to help entrepreneurs grow their business. BDC offers financing, venture capital and consulting services. BDC focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
BDC services are available across Canada in both official languages through a network of more than 100 business centres. Its head office is in Montreal. Learn more about the advantages BDC offers.
In Thunder Bay:
Thunder Bay, Ontario