[Part One] Why Do Business Owners Resist The Strategic Planning Process?

March 19, 2013

by Justine Parsons

This is part one of a three part series looking at the challenges small business owners face with the strategic planning process.  I’m not a business coach or a guru of strategy but dealing predominantly with small business I see those who plan … and succeed, and those who don’t.  This series looks at the biggest challenges in strategic planning and how to overcome them.

Why Do Business Owners Resist The Strategic Planning Process?

Reason 1: I don’t have enough time

Sound familiar?  I’m definitely guilty of not practicing what I preach but open your mind for a minute and shush those thoughts for a sec.  I know how hard it is to find an extra hour in your day but ask yourself this, can you find time to work on the strategy of your business?  If not, it’s quite possible you are in the position of working a job, rather than that of a business owner.

As business owners we too often focus on the ‘here and now’.  There are emails to reply to, accounts to pay, customers to serve … the list is endless.  It’s ok to work in your business (it has to be!)  But you need to know why you are doing what you’re doing, where it fits in with your goals and what needs to be done that isn’t happening at the moment.

You would have heard the saying ‘working on your business rather than working in your business’.  Working in the business is doing everything that needs to be done to meet ongoing requirements.

Examples of working in your business:

  • ordering supplies
  • interactions with customers and suppliers
  • taking orders or bookings
  • your accounts
  • customer service

Working in your business is a fact of life.  It has to happen or chances are you wouldn’t have a business.  But keep it relative to the time you spend working on your business or you risk taking your eye off your goals and off the vision of what your business could become.

So, working on your business?  These are tasks which require time to be spent on planning, with both long term and short term goals identified and incorporated into your strategic plan.

Examples of working on your business:

  • planning management succession
  • selecting and training your team/employees
  • assigning and delegating tasks
  • introducing new products and services
  • arranging your finance
  • meeting potential clients
  • researching new markets

Look at your own business.  If you focus on working in your business, you no doubt work very hard and have a successful business now.  But as you grow you may struggle to meet customer demand, growth you haven’t spent time planning for.  If you let this happen, your growth is determined by your personal capacity.

If however, you have made time to work on your business and have staff you are able to delegate daily or routine tasks to, you will be able to undertake a greater volume of work.  You will also have planned to actively drive new business and know which resources you will need to meet greater demand.  You have spent time on the strategic planning process!


Are you currently planning strategically and spending time working on your business?  If not, what is holding you back?




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