By Ryan Binkley
Change. Flux. Uncertainty. Over the past few years, these are words that most entrepreneurs are familiar with.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adapt their working practices and embrace new technologies in order to stay on course. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused some shockwaves for economies worldwide. Additionally, many are predicting a mild recession is on the horizon sometime in late 2023.
When change is a constant companion, the inclination is to keep your head down, maintain business as usual, and hope that you come out the other side of these choppy waters more or less in the same state you entered them.
As Robert Miller, the author of the widely recognized Strategic Selling, puts it: “Whatever got you where you are today is no longer sufficient to keep you there.”
Embracing change and adapting with the times is essential to not only surviving as a company, but to thrive and grow. In my experience, those who aggressively attacked the challenges posed by the pandemic fared far better than those hoping for a return to “normal”. Companies that weren’t afraid to adapt remained focused on their targets and ambitions.
In this article, I will explain how having an effective and flexible strategic growth plan can make it much easier for business owners to react to change and embrace evolution, rather than be stuck spinning their wheels.
An inspiration for writing this article came from a recent article by Vistage Worldwide, a strategic partner of our team at Generational Group and the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize business leaders.
In this piece, they highlight 4 ways to ensure your company is prepared to respond to change rather than shy away from it. Out of these, number three especially struck me:
During times of trauma, leaders tend to rely on what they know worked in the past and hope it’s a magic formula that can take them through the current challenges again.
Successful leaders instead focus on always improving and making progress. When that belief in continuous improvement is a core part of a leader’s mindset, they’re naturally going to be okay with transformation and change.
While this is undoubtedly accurate, in my experience it takes more than a positive attitude and a willingness to adapt and improve to be ready to embrace change. It takes a strong strategic plan to ensure that this desire and drive are reinforced with a tangible guide that keeps you on course to achieving your goals.
An effective plan is one that gives you a layer of flexibility and resiliency that others don’t. A roadmap that can consistently evolve as your business, the economy, and the world changes around you. One that means you can navigate any turbulence and come through still on track.
This is something our professionals at Generational Consulting Group specialize in. Crafting tailored, carefully thought-out strategic growth plans that help entrepreneurs:
Without these plans in place, it can be all too easy to lose direction on your short and long-term goals. It’s a simple trap to fall into during times of significant change, as you may develop tunnel vision focusing on the issue at hand, and not about the long game.
It’s crucial to have a written strategic plan in place, with clearly-defined goals. This ensures that your response to unexpected change is not an indecisive reaction, but is instead a thoughtfully planned course towards your targets. It is merely a diversion in your journey rather than a complete change in direction.
Determining what type of strategic plan is best suited to your business depends largely on your current circumstances and how immediately you are seeking results. At Generational Consulting Group, we provide two expert-driven solutions, designed to help companies at different stages of growth: strategic growth plans and tactical acceleration plans.
A Strategic Growth Plan (3 to 5 years) focuses on long-term improvements. It defines every step along the way to realizing your ambitions, and gets your team aligned on the extended vision for your company. This helps you push towards continuous, lasting growth, and will give potential investors a clear vision of your company’s future and how you intend to get there.
A Tactical Acceleration Plan (3 to 12 months) concentrates on short-term fixes and developments to spur profitability, cash flow and company performance. This approach is best suited to businesses that are underperforming and are in need of immediate guidance and results.
Both approaches have proven track records of success, helping companies reassess their processes and reaffirm their targets. If you want to know more, you can hear from a few of our clients by following the links below:
These plans set the goalposts that teams are working towards, providing a clearer focus when either internal or external shifts compel them to revisit their plans to remain on course.
They can also establish strategies for potential events that you can envision on your horizon. If you anticipate some turbulence ahead or want to have provisos included for different scenarios, these can be documented and followed to keep you moving towards your ambitions.
Furthermore, our plans are elevated by the assistance of seasoned strategists, made up of former CEOs, C-suite executives, and management consultants. This on-hand experienced support can be invaluable in advising you on the best way to respond to ongoing change while on the path to reach your goals.
The only constant in life is change. This is arguably truer for entrepreneurs than anyone else. There are so many variables, both known and unknown, that can influence the path a company goes on and where it leads.
However, with a mindset that embraces uncertainty, a strong supporting cast, and a well-defined strategic plan in place, it is possible to continuously adapt and evolve on your journey to fulfilling your ambitions.
Throughout the last several years, I have been so impressed by the leadership, resilience and adaptability shown by our clients and business leaders across North America. In some of the most tumultuous years in recent memory, they have not only survived but thrived. Their success has helped forge an economy that is even more flexible and robust.
For our clients at the very least, a big part of accepting change has been a firm awareness of their targets and the steps they must take to achieve them. This overarching strategy has empowered them to adapt where necessary, without compromising on the direction their business is moving in, or their long-term targets.
If you are interested in knowing more about Generational Consulting Group and the power of strategic growth planning, I’d urge you to attend a Growth and Exit Planning Conference. These are completely complimentary and contain a wealth of knowledge on how to successfully grow your business and stave off stagnation – all to ensure you can one day exit for maximum value.
Or, you can check out more insights on the Generational Group website that highlight the importance of effective growth plans:
I hope that this has given you food for thought over how you approach change in your organization, and whether having a documented plan in place might help you use this as a catalyst for improvements in the coming months and years.
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