There are many reasons why family business owners and senior managers sometimes hesitate or deliberately avoid strategic planning. Our experience has shown that business owners and senior managers avoid getting started on strategic planning for their family business for the following key reasons.
- The important concerns for your business and their impact on the future of your family are too difficult to define.
- The concerns you have identified are just too delicate to discuss with your family and key partners and it’s is sometimes easier to avoid, or
- You’ve identified the critical areas, but they seem enormous and too complex to handle, so knowing where to start causes a delay
Let’s consider a few ideas on overcoming these common and understandable difficulties in strategic planning in your family farm business.
Common concerns for your family business might include some of the common areas we have worked on with our family farm owners and managers: Growing the business, adding/removing different crops or growing methods, succession planning, estate planning, business structure, capital expenditures, new technologies, diversification, outsourcing, environmental and sustainability practices, etc. By identifying and defining your critical issues, you at least know where to begin.
How do you eat and elephant? One bite at a time…of course! By breaking the key issues for your business down into bite-sized chunks, they become more manageable. You can then prioritize them and start in the areas which your resources will allow.
Now, don’t get all excited and forget to take care of business…your core business operations. However, continuously examining your core business operations in light of your identified strategic issues (areas of critical importance like growth, methods, business structure, etc – see above) may require small changes in your operations. This process of strategic planning helps bring these issues to the forefront of your team for improved performance and long-term sustainability.