Once you’ve set aside some time for strategic thinking, here are some ways to go about it.
Try thinking about your business at varying degrees of granularity. Start with a big panoramic view, and then zoom in to a detailed close-up. The panoramic view gives you the comprehensive look at the big picture you’ll need to detect patterns, interdependencies, and cause-and-effect. The close-up shows you fine details. Try to see both perspectives and develop the ability to switch between them fluidly.
Two other ways to develop effective strategies for your small business are divergent and convergent thinking. The website ceo.com explains it this way: “Divergent thinking imagines the future, any possibility, in any direction and deliberately diverges from the conventional while suspending criticism and judgment; the result is an abundance of ideas, even wild ones.” 2
“Convergent thinking narrows down options to one or more preferred choices through analysis, criticism, logic, argument and reasoning; less attractive possibilities are eliminated in order to choose and create a path forward.” 2
Divergent thinking is a terrific exercise for determining your end; that is, your business goal. Convergent thinking helps you think about the ways and means—the actions and resources it’s going to take to achieve the end.
Strategic planning for your small business is essential to your success, so take the time to develop your strategy. Also take the time to revisit your strategy regularly to make sure it’s still relevant and that you’re still following it. And remember, strategy will pay you back in the currency of time.