So this is the time of the year when business owners are urged to plan. And there’s no end to the types of plans. In my experience though, moist small businesses don’t have the time (or probably the need) to plan to the degree of detail some of the plan-crazy business writers urge. Of course there are those that don’t plan at all and fly by the seat of their pants, and that’s not good either.

BDC produces a lot of good material for small business management including, of course, planning articles. I’ve selected two of them from which to pick the best ideas for implementing a strategic plan. They state the obvious when they say that a strategic plan is essential for every business. It’s just a question of how detailed the plan needs to be, which in the case of a time-strapped small business is less important than at least doing some kind of strategic plan. You and your employees need a simple, clear roadmap of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.

Then, having developed a strategic plan, it must be used and kept current and not stuck away somewhere gathering dust. As for an action plan, there are seven steps for developing one:

  1. Involve your team early on.
  2. List concrete actions for each plan item.
  3. Include timelines.
  4. Designate resources.
  5. Establish a follow-up and measurement process.
  6. Communicate the plan.
  7. Keep the plan alive.

That’s about as much room as we have space for here, so don’t let this be all the reading you do on implementing a strategic plan. You have homework to do.