Even though the evidence is strong that the likelihood of success for a new business increases when the members of the management team embrace some sort of formal planning process from the outset, it is still tempting for entrepreneurs to charge bravely into the fray in pursuit of their dreams of a successful new product or service that will immediately attract the interest of thousands or even millions of customers. Certainly their examples of “instant successes” where companies seemingly appear from nowhere, create new markets and enjoy staggering levels of early growth. However, the more prudent course for successful and sustainable entrepreneurship is the time-consuming, and admittedly sometimes tedious, process of collecting information relevant to the proposed business and developing clear ideas about how the company’s product or service will be positioned, marketed and distributed in the marketplace that appears to be best suited for early acceptance of the product or service. The process has been analogized to an architect creating a blue print for a new building before construction begins—in the case of a new business or an existing business looking to expand significant, that blue print is the strategic business plan. While the primary goal of the strategic planning process is the end product—the tangible business planning document—the journey itself provides the participants with an invaluable opportunity to collect information and knowledge about the proposed business and grapple with and resolve the fundamental issues that need to be addressed in order to determine the best way for the company to operate and compete in its chosen markets.
The International Center for Growth-Oriented Entrepreneurship has just released a chapter on "Strategic Planning Processes" from its Library of Resources for Growth-Oriented Entrepreneurs on Strategic Planning which is available for free downloading and sharing by clicking here. Also, take a look at the Center's article on LinkedIn Pulse discussing important things you need to know about implementing a strategic planning process for your business.