Knowledge and Insights

The Importance of Long-Term Strategic Planning

One of my core consulting activities is helping businesses with long-term strategic planning.

It’s an important, often overlooked facet of business growth.

You see, business leaders who spend too much time working in the business forget to work on the business. The day-to-day pays the bills, after all.

But if you want your business to stand the test of time, it’s important to step back and focus on long-term strategic planning.

Casting the Vision

I spend a lot of time with our clients on multi-day corporate retreats focused on long-term strategy.

As facilitator, my goal is twofold:

  1. To create a conceptual framework for leaders to imagine a future state for their business.
  2. To build a plan that will enable them to work towards that stated goal.

Make no mistakes, this is a cathartic process.

It’s also a big commitment.

The outcome?

Clients walk away with a solid 3-5 year plan everyone is aligned with.

Some go even further into the future.

At Mercadien, our board recently collaborated on a 10 year visioning project relating to certain aspects of our firm, and some very long-standing institutions will plan as much as 100 years into the future.

No matter how far you look into the future, the end goal remains the same: elevating leaders’ thinking above the day-to-day minutiae to focus on their long-term unified goals.

Sharing the Vision

Let’s be clear – the process of creating a strategic plan varies greatly from business to business.

Some organizations might come in with preconceived goals, such as driving profitability to higher benchmarks, creating an outstanding working environment, or becoming the go-to company in a niche.

I find that the best sessions happen when organizations come in with an open mind.

Together, we’ll explore their problems, build a shared vision of the future, and begin to plot their path forward.

These are the moments when epiphanies happen.

The energy in the room is palpable, and I often find these deep, probing conversations move businesses forward in exponential ways.

As facilitator, I’ll provide structure to these conversations, but generally, it’s best to let the magic happen. I’m there to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard.

Alignment & Action Plan

As the retreat concludes, it’s important to get everyone aligned on next steps.

I’ll do this by creating a matrix of tactics to be executed, post retreat, with the participants.

We’ll establish the important issues that were discussed, and then apply a series of evaluation criteria to weight the importance of the issues relative to one another.

These criteria are highly situational, but some examples might include the importance of the issue to the organization, or the cost of implementing recommended actions or the impact of making a change, etc.

Attendees rank the issues according to the criteria we defined together.

This way, when everyone leaves the meeting and responsibilities are assigned, there’s far greater buy in. Their fingerprints are all over the problems, the solutions and, most importantly, the commitment to solve.

The Future Has Arrived: Do You Have a Plan?

Most of the companies we work with hold these strategic planning sessions at least every three years.

At Mercadien, we make a point to do it every single year.

If you’re considering a strategic planning retreat for your business, Mercadien’s Private Company Services Group can provide expert guidance. Contact me at mgellman@mercadien.com or 609-689-9700 to get started today.

DISCLAIMER: This advisory resource is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute business or tax advice and may not be used and relied upon as a substitute for business or tax advice regarding a specific issue or problem. Advice should be obtained from a qualified accountant, tax practitioner or attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where that advice is sought.