Thursday, August 02, 2012
No business is too small to engage in strategic business planning. So says Scott Goemmel, business advisor with 4-Profit, who led a workshop on business strategy planning today at Breakaway 2012.
“Most companies spend less than two percent of their leadership’s time on strategy, yet we’re the fastest changing industry,” said Goemmel. “That’s not nearly enough to take your company and move it forward.”
In the IT industry especially, Goemmel said very successful technical people will start and grow a company and then get stuck at a certain level and not know why. He encouraged attendees to sit down and “define your destination.”
“It’s the most fundamental piece,” he said. “What do you want out of this business?”
Businesses typically fall into three categories, according to Goemmel. Some are lifestyle businesses, others are growth businesses and still others are businesses looking to be acquired. Most IT companies fall into the lifestyle category and run relatively lean and small. They experience growth, but not hyper growth.
Among the questions business owners should be asking themselves:
- How long do you want to be there?
- Do you have a management team in place to run the business when you’re not there?
- Do you have an exit strategy?
He also advised them to take stock of the technology providers and partners they work with, and to honestly assess the degree to which those companies impact your business’s success or failure.
Apple, Cisco, Google and Microsoft – which combined have some $300 billion in cash – qualify as “market movers,” Goemmel noted. Most IT businesses do not.
“Most of us are really competent middlemen who take other people’s inventions and make them work really well for our customers,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re not market movers, but we have to accept that in our plan.”