The Importance of Strategic Planning in Family Businesses

As we all learned in business school, Strategic Planning is an important process in all organizations. Strategic Planning is particularly important in family businesses because it helps create business alignment with family, ownership and leadership around the future of the business. The process helps answer the most important questions in the future of the family business; “Why do we exist”, “Who do we want to be in the future” and “What values are important to us in operating our business”.

Achieving alignment is even more difficult in family businesses due to multiple generational influences, conflicting views on the future direction of the business, as well as different financial expectations by members of the family. Yet, family and leadership all need to align on a clear mission and vision for the company to maximize business success. The Strategic Planning process can be a great tool for developing this alignment. The process gives family members and leadership the opportunity to come together to discuss the future of the business and the differences that may currently exist in setting its future direction.

My experience has shown that when there is a lack of alignment or a clear direction for the business moving forward, it creates stress in the organization with employees, family and leadership, and ultimately effects the success and efficiency of the business overall. Alignment challenges can create lackluster performance, internal conflict, low morale and a waste of precious resources.

In working with many family owned companies over the years in the Strategic Planning process, I have learned that the process itself needs to adapt to a particular environment. It also helps to have some outside help in guiding the family business through the process. One size does not fit all in this instance, and an outsider’s perspective can help facilitate this process much easier.

A company’s Strategic Plan is not something to be developed and put on a shelf. Business success comes from engaging in the process of creating a Strategic Plan and using the results as a roadmap on a daily basis in leading the business forward. Those that follow this process are more likely to experience increased business success into the future.

Do you want help creating your own family business’ Strategic Plan? Quad Group ( can provide facilitation and guidance on how to create alignment and success through the Strategic Planning process for your family business.

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