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Keep Your Small Business on Track to Success with Strategic Planning


As a small business owner, you might feel that you are at a disadvantage when it comes to strategic planning. When it comes to developing a business strategy, companies at any size can find value in this process with the right approach. Karen Stern, Partner in Charge of the Brown Smith Wallace Entrepreneurial Services Group, provides a few recommendations to enhance your strategic planning process, in this month's "Financial Fitness," as featured in Small Business Monthly.

Whether brainstorming a new initiative or designing the path forward in a changing market, many organizations have engaged in some form of strategic planning.

Organizations of all stages, types and industries can approach strategic planning with a new perspective by adopting these general guidelines:

Transition transformation and transparency: Transitions bring in fresh thinking, new skill sets and different approaches to leadership. Once a transition is complete and a plan is in place, each person in the organization needs to identify their role. Since performance management is an important accountability tool for monitoring the strategic plan, it is critical to share the plan with those impacted in the organization to allow them to effectively understand their role in the strategy. Job descriptions and performance reviews in line with the organization’s strategy will lead to successful work and outcomes.

As above, so below: Many times, strategic plans remain at the top of an organization with executives and upper management, preventing people throughout the organization from contributing. Cutting out other levels can potentially cause organizations to miss out on additional creative thinking. One of the values of Lean Six Sigma methodology is to get the people who are in the process to design the new process because they know what is wrong with the old one.

Survey says: Encourage engagement by developing a strategic survey for key individuals throughout the organization to complete. This is a great way for management to reach people at all levels in order to receive insightful feedback and critical buy-in. Taking it a step further, an organization can choose some of its high-performing players for a focus group to discuss a couple of the issues they’ve been exploring in their strategic planning. This could be a market or financial analysis, demographics of customers, discussions of competition or what they want in their pipeline of R&D.

To discuss developing a strategic plan throughout your organization, contact Karen Stern, Partner in Charge, Entrepreneurial Services Group, at 314.983.1204 or


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