Drastic times call for drastic measures! It used to be that strategic planning sessions took three days and strategic plans lasted five years. Well, gone are the days of a predictable economy and gone are long-term strategic plans that went with them.

If you want to grow your business, if you want to expand in this economy, then you need to think small, get focused and strategize often. Face it: no one knows what is going to happen in this economy. One day we hear things are improving, the next we hear the bottom is about to fall out. The only thing certain in this economy is uncertainty. Markets are volatile, times are changing and customers are more demanding than ever.

So how do we position ourselves for success? How do we get above the turmoil? How do we make this ever-changing economy work for us? We think small, we get focused and we shorten our strategic plans.

In a fast-paced world, you need to be ready to change on a dime, to jump at opportunity and be strong enough to overcome the obstacles that will be thrown in your way. You can’t do that if your goals are numerous, your decision-making process is complicated, and your “change committee” meets one time per year.

You need to turn your business on its head, and you need a radical approach to the traditional strategic planning process.

First, Narrow your scope! Yes, you need goals, but who says they need to big, hairy and audacious? Save that for your vision. In a fast-paced economy, your goals need to be designed to keep you moving forward, but not so cumbersome and involved that you can’t expand  or change them if new opportunities should arise. In a fast-moving economy, goals that are small in number and narrow in scope keep your team moving forward while still leaving plenty of room for flexibility.

Second, Commit To Action — Once you know what you want to accomplish, you need to decide how you are going to accomplish it. The value of a strategic plan is that it establishes direction; the power of the strategic plan is in the steps you design to take action. You need specific, detailed steps that lay the path of exactly what actions you are going to take to accomplish your goals. Steps that you can measure and steps that you can hold yourself accountable to achieving. It is through action that  new ideas and opportunities will arise. Yes, MotionFirst is the best way to keep your strategic plan on track, your team moving forward, and your company prepared and ready for opportunity.

Then, Get Out Of The Weeds — Yes, there is more to building and implementing a strategic plan than making sure it takes hold in your company. You need to get out of the weeds, take your head out of the day-to-day, and see what is going on in the rest of the world. What happens outside your business has just as much, if not more, impact than what happens inside your business. Every other month you need to take a breather. You need to slow down, set aside some time, round up your team and some outside advisors, and brainstorm about what is happening outside the walls of your business. What is going on with the economy? How have our customers changed?What trends are we seeing in society? How will the changes in our political world impact our business? And the list goes on. If you want to stay ahead of the game, if you  want to drive change instead of having it drive you,  then you’ll need to get your head out of the weeds and get ready for what’s coming.

Lastly, Change Your Plan — If every three months your plan is not changing then you’re not paying attention. You designed this plan to be flexible, and this economy will make sure you have plenty of opportunity to bend, shape and redesign it. If your strategic plan is working, if you’re taking action, if you’re getting out of the weeds, then you’ll have no choice but to revisit your plan and consistently make small adjustments that allow your team to jump at opportunity and sidestep pending obstacles. In a shifting economy, a strategic plan needs to be anything but static. It needs to be a “living” document that is actively used, regularly updated and easily adjusted.

Yes, if you want to grow big in this economy then you need to think small.