SME and Family Businesses need to adapt, identify their unique differentiating value proposition and develop new strategies if they are to remain relevant, healthy and financially viable. The dynamic external environment, driven by increasing competitive markets, make it difficult for companies to maintain the status quo. What are the key focus strategy elements for SME and Family businesses?

Key issues stay constant year-on-year relative to particular qualities of the business and challenges inherent in the SME and Family business model. However, there is a definite sense of evolution. In 2012, the dominant themes were skills, scale, and succession. By 2014, this had evolved to focus on the need to professionalise. There is now a need to sharpen up systems, capabilities, processes and institute robust governance.

To date, the shift is more fundamental. It has shifted from the short term and the tactical to the medium term and the strategic. The challenge is in the middle: having a strategic plan that links where the business is now to the long term and where it could be. This is what we call the “Missing Middle.”

The 10 Steps to Strategic Planning is the key to the missing piece.

1. It’s about the “what,” not the “how.”
2. Stand in the future and look back.
3. Stand in the present and look around.
4. Invite input.
5. Be prepared for change.
6. Set a timescale.
7. Assign responsibilities.
8. Translate the strategic plan into an executable operational plan.
9. Measure, monitor, and adapt.
10. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Surviving in this volatile business environment will enable Family Business to pass on its legacy to future generations and sustain growth.

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