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  • Martin Harshberger

Do Small or Mid-tier Businesses Need a Strategy?

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

If you ask 10 small business owners that question, you will get at least 5 saying no.

First, let’s define a small business. There are 29 million small and mid-sized businesses in the United States. Those are firms with less than 500 employees, and they represent 99.7% of all U.S. businesses and about half of total employment.


They’re critical to the economy. Strategic planning could only improve their operations. Done right, it can’t hurt.


The planning process can add significant value. The plan is essential, but there are two things more important.


  • The planning process done right is a holistic look at the entire business. This determines the ability to execute the plan.

  • Execution: a strategic plan without an execution process is a waste of time.


And that is where some of the no answers come from. They tried planning, and nothing happened. Strategy execution is a separate subject.


Business coaches and consultants must offer a process for organizational analysis, a solid planning process, and strategy execution services to add real value.


Planning must answer three questions.


  • Vision! Where do you want to go?

  • Where are you now?

  • What do we need to do to get you there?


The easy part is the plan document. The hard part is getting an owner to define what they want, and then getting them to recognize and agree where they are now.


This thought process provides an excellent opportunity for coaches or consultants to create real value for their clients while increasing long-term engagements for their practices.


Providing an in-depth analysis of an organization through the planning process drives awareness and consensus. It helps management see the whole picture and prioritizes resources. Providing strategy execution coaching is an excellent opportunity for retainer-based revenue and creates value for the client by driving accountability and review.


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