Einsehower said “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”... or it might have been “Plans are worthless, but planning is essential” - history seems a little hazy on that.
Regardless, the point is the same - the planning process is hugely valuable provided that the focus is not on producing a plan. A plan is largely static and becomes outdated extremely quickly.
Having a culture of planning means a live understanding and awareness of what the business is trying to achieve, what it’s financing is allowing it to do and how internal and external events change things.
We never want to hear a client say “well we didn’t plan for that”, only ever “how does that change our plans”.
Business planning and strategic planning are not the same.
Business planning focuses on the next 12 - 24 months and is usually conducted for a specific purpose such as raising finance, achieving a turnover target, making an acquisition, taking on a new office or introducing/exiting a partner.
Strategic planning is longer term and usually focuses on the next 36-60 month period. Strategic planning looks at long term financing, business value, business growth and eventual exit/sale.
There are naturally many crossovers between business planning and strategic planning but starting with a clear idea of what you are actually engaged in is important.
We work with clients in two ways, either leading and guiding the planning process or providing independent, expert input as part of their planning team. Engagements vary from (typically) two months through to ongoing support over several months or even years.