As you are pulling your plan together, I wanted to tell you about four strategic planning mistakes that you’ll want to avoid. 

Starting with Last Year’s Plan

Starting with last year’s plan crushes creativity and encourages your people to take last year’s plan and add x%. Don’t do this. Start with a blank slate and challenge yourselves to put your existing model out of business. That is what your competition is doing. Beat them to it.

Thinking Growth is Strategy

Chasing growth is often the worst thing you can do. Growth is an outcome of delivering amazing value to your customers, not a strategy. Just because the demographics show that everyone is getting old, does not mean your organization needs to start building senior living facilities. A strategy is about focusing on what you can do better than your competition and saying no to everything else.

Forgetting Where You Came From

Did your mother ever tell you not to forget where you came from? Organizations do it all of the time. Leaders chase the next greatest thing and alienate their customers and people in the process.

Know your organization's purpose, vision and core values and use those as the foundation for your strategic planning process. The vision will change, but the purpose and core values rarely do.

Mistaking What Your Good at For Competitive Advantage

A competitive advantage is something you do better than your competition that your customer cares about.

If you can deliver your product within two hours to your customer’s door, but your customer cares more about price than speed, then your speed does not matter.

Let’s assume your firm excels at customer service and you have measurable evidence that you outperform your rivals at customer service. Is customer service a key requirement for your target customer? If it is, you might have a competitive advantage.

If you’d like to get started now, head over to to grab our free resources. You can always call me at (229) 244-1559 and I’ll help you in any way I can.

Here’s to a better business and a better life for you and the people you lead.

Curt Fowler is president of Fowler & Company and director at Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey. He is dedicated to helping leaders build great businesses and better lives for themselves and the people they lead.

Curt is a syndicated business writer, keynote speaker and business advisor. He has an MBA in strategy and entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and four children.

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