9 Tips for Strategic Business Planning and Implementation

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Author: Kam Kaila, Partner and President, Computing by Design

Regular strategic business planning is essential to the steady growth and success of your MSP. Strategy is the most important topic when planning because it is about developing a vision for tomorrow; it’s the guide that shows where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. But planning and implementation can be quite difficult for a myriad of reasons. Budget. Leadership. Culture. Whatever.

I know. I’m the co-founder of an MSP that was created from an idea. So from that experience, I’ve identified nine key planning and implementation principles that I want to share that I believe will guide you in creating a solid plan and help you get your business there. wherever you want.

The nine key principles

1. Commitment and time

Effective strategic planning takes time and attention ― two things that are usually in short supply during a busy work day. It is therefore essential that you commit yourself and devote time to it. You and your team should schedule at least three working days dedicated solely to setting goals and formulating steps to achieve them. It comes down to making time for other important areas of your life, like spending time with your family. It’s so important!

2. Don’t be territorial

Business planning is about what’s best for the business, not for each department. Although you should involve department heads in the planning, you as the business owner should make the final decision for the whole business and not let other people’s feelings influence your decision.

3. Cross coverage

Real business growth does not happen when a department is successful. It is marginal growth. Exponential growth occurs when two or more departments learn what they can do to help each other be more successful. Consider asking all your department heads to submit the impact of other departments on them – negatively and positively – before your planning session. This can lead to eye-opening achievements and major breakthroughs during your planning session.

4. Do not fear the truth

Not everyone involved in business planning should self-censor; everyone must tell the truth, even if it’s hard to hear. Why? Because if you’re not dealing with the truth and the awkwardness it can bring, then you’re not talking about the things that are essential to your MSP’s growth. If participants are reluctant to tell the truth, consider asking them to write down these points anonymously before the session. Then assign a random individual to read each one.

5. Forget “speed to market”

Businesses always want to take the path that allows them to quickly achieve their goals, such as bringing a product or service to market before the competition. This is not a good strategy for business planning. Start with perspective. Ask questions like “What worked this year?” and “What went wrong?” and “What’s missing?” for each division. Create lists and hang them around the room before you gather. Spend a lot of time on it; it could take a whole day. A bigger perspective will provide you with more informed solutions than just trying to find answers quickly.

6. Generate a clear vision

Once you’ve spent time on the prospect and generated answers to the questions posed, you and your team should be able to come up with a very clear, tangible – yet achievable! – vision of what the business should look like at a desired target date. This vision can include revenue goals, staff size, etc. and the steps to be taken to achieve these goals. If you still don’t have a clear vision, then the facilitators need to go back and review what’s missing with the team.

7. Focus on what’s important now

So, once you have your list of goals or things to do, the list will likely be long. It is very good. But first focus on the three to five most important goals you need to achieve immediately to help you reach that final destination. It will be difficult to select so few from a long list, but you should do this and set aside the other objectives for now. Such a difficult exercise is where strong leadership shines.

8. Plan ahead of organizational changes

Before hiring new employees or creating new departments, have your plan in place. Don’t hire individuals or create new things and then try to design a plan around them. It must be the reverse. Why? Because you can determine that the decisions you made might be the wrong ones for the strategy you and your team have devised.

9. Be flexible

Change is the only constant in life, so leave room in your planning for any change. For example, technology is changing rapidly. You may need to address a technological change that has not been considered in your plan. If the plan is too rigid, panic breaks out, any good rhythm the team has found is impeded, and any success you’ve had in achieving your goals is diluted. There’s nothing wrong with revisiting your plan when changes occur.


This guest blog is courtesy of Computing by Design and authored by Kam Kaila, Partner and President, IT By Design. Read more IT By Design guest blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of the ChannelE2E referral program.

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