• Service: Enterprise, Family business
  • Type: Business and industry issue
  • Date: 6/20/2013

Small family business? Strategy can be a challenge… 

family business
Some business owners might feel that their businesses are too small for strategic planning. This is a mistake as it leaves the business open to a number of risks, not least the challenge of longevity in the long term.

As a small business owner, it’s important to take time to develop and implement a strategic plan – make this one of your regular business challenges and watch your business thrive as a result of your efforts. If you don’t take the time to implement a business strategy, you will expose your business to a number of risks including an internal lack of focus.

This lack of focus can be translated into a lack of drive on the part of the business owner to set long-term goals, implement and follow through on a business model, and take into account competitor and external / market threats to business success. Without a strong business strategy in place, you’ll probably fail to make economically-driven decisions that are designed to drive your business forward.

The family business owner’s strategy challenge

Engaging in an effective strategic planning process will help you to take control of the future of your business and remain focused on critical business areas and deliverables. The result? Sustained periods of growth and success.

Simply put, strategic planning is the design and implementation of a measurable plan that helps your business achieve its key objectives. Taking the form of a dialogue between business owners and strategic partners, the results of successful strategic planning should include:

  • Clear objectives that are lined up with the business’ vision
  • A list of specific actions that will achieve those objectives
  • Key indicators to measure the business’ success in achieving those objectives.

It’s important to see strategic planning as a regular business activity, not a once-off exercise. And, it’s important to make time for this process as it will change and develop as your business does.

Manage your risks through strategic planning

  1. Review your business’ purpose and vision to ensure it’s aligned with its key services and competencies.
  2. Determine the focus of the plan – what do you want to achieve with each planning session? And overall?
  3. Develop a clear list of key objectives to be completed over the following one to three years. At least initially, stick to four key areas for the objectives: leadership, process improvement, market / audience development, and product / service innovation.
  4. Establish key indicators to measure progress on the objectives developed above.
  5. Identify projects, with action steps, that will help your business meet the established objectives.
  6. Communicate the completed strategic plan throughout your business so that everyone is on the same page.
  7. Conduct periodic reviews to ensure that your plans are progressing as expected.
  8. Take action when necessary to get your business back on the track established by the plan, if necessary.

Planning for success

Strategic planning requires clear focus, in-depth discussion, and reflection from all involved parties to ensure that objectives and actions are achieved. The steps above are just suggestions to get you moving.

Strategic planning can be a valuable and in-depth process at every level of your business, and the process will depend largely on your business’ needs. If you do not have the skills to develop and implement a strategic plan on your own, consider hiring an expert to help you get the most out of the experience.

Want more tips on running a successful business? Because being in a family business can be a challenging experience, KPMG’s family business blog is a place for entrepreneurs and family business owners to interact and learn from each other’s experiences. Join the conversation and learn more about creating success within your family business…. 

Christophe Bernard

Christophe Bernard
I am a KPMG partner based in the French firm’s Paris office, responsible for encouraging the growth of our firms’ middle markets practice across Europe, Middle East and Africa, a majority of that market comprises of family businesses.

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