Investing some time in planning up front saves you time because you are mapping out your whole strategy all at once. #StartupSins

Conscious Entrepreneurs Beat the Odds with Strategic Planning

By Andrea Jacques

In a previous post, we covered how impatience is a leading cause of failure for new entrepreneurs. Here, we’ll talk about annual strategic planning, a key practice successful conscious entrepreneurs use to avoid the pitfalls of impatience.

Planning can be like putting on clothing to go out. A certain amount – maybe a little bit more than you need – is usually best (you can always take off layers you don’t need). Put on too much and you’ll be burdened down by unnecessary layers. Not enough and you’re at the mercy of the elements. Sometimes you spend so much time stressing over the perfect piece to wear that you miss your chance to actually go anywhere (this is the perfectionist entrepreneur).

This post is excerpted and adapted from Kyosei’s ebook The Seven Sins of a Startup. Seven Sins was written to help entrepreneurs course-correct for common pitfalls in the early stages of their business. Get the book to learn more about honing your entrepreneurial instincts and developing a clear vision for the future of your company. Download it now!

Investing some time in strategic planning up front saves you time because you are mapping out your whole strategy all at once. This is much more efficient than having to sit down and think through a hundred separate decisions on their own. The fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants types are loathe to invest the time up front because they think it takes too long. The reality is that each time you need to make a decision about what to do in your business you need to stop and consider the big picture. This takes time. Entrepreneurs who rely too much on the organic approach to prioritizing and decision-making waste time and sacrifice quality of decisions because they don’t take the time to consider the big picture.

In the early stages of your business, strategic planning should take the form of creating some sort of business plan. There are tons of great free resources out there to support you with this step. For some great tools in Canada, check out this link. In the U.S., the Small Business Administration business plan builder tool is a great place to start. You don’t want to be a perfectionist entrepreneur in this stage – especially if you are not needing to seek financing – but you should be able to answer all of the questions these business planning tools will ask you to some degree before you take the leap to launch your business. Yes, this might feel a bit tedious, but honestly if you aren’t willing to roll up your sleeves and put in the effort to be walked through the key elements of building your business using the tools available, then you just don’t have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

t7sinsPrep-03If you are already up and running and have had some success, strategic planning takes on a different role. Regular strategic planning increases focus, decreases stress, and speeds up results. Unfortunately most entrepreneurs don’t do it for two reasons: 1) They don’t know how to do it right, and 2) They are too busy to take the time out of working “in” their business to work “on” their business. This is a huge mistake and a key failure point for most businesses. Strategic planning, done right, provides you with the energy and focus your business needs from you in order for it to grow.  Annual planning is a minimum, but we recommend quarterly planning updates as new opportunities (and distractions!) come up all of the time in business. It is easy for entrepreneurs to get off track pursuing BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects/ Opportunities) if they haven’t taken the time to identify their strategic priorities, goals, milestones, and the concrete actions they need to take to hit them.

The bottom line: Impatient entrepreneurs will avoid strategic planning like the plague, but they do so at the peril of themselves and their business. Done properly, strategic planning requires less than 1% of your time, but creates 80% of your results. When you don’t have a clear idea of where to focus your time, energy and resources, you guarantee that you will run out of gas before your reach your destination.

Not sure if you’re an impatient entrepreneur? We’re covering the other side of the coin in the our next article: perfectionist entrepreneurs. To read more about how to avoid dangerous mindsets and build a successful startup, check out our ebook The Seven Sins of a Startup, available for download here.

To receive our free Annual Strategic Planning Tool or for more information on how we can help you plan for and achieve greater success in your business, click here.

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