By Ryan Binkley
Change. Flux. Uncertainty. Over the past few years, these are words that most entrepreneurs are familiar with.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adapt their working practices and embrace new technologies in order to stay on course. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused some shockwaves for economies worldwide. Additionally, many are predicting a mild recession is on the horizon sometime in late 2023.
When change is a constant companion, the inclination is to keep your head down, maintain business as usual, and hope that you come out the other side of these choppy waters more or less in the same state you entered them.
As Robert Miller, the author of the widely recognized Strategic Selling, puts it: “Whatever got you where you are today is no longer sufficient to keep you there.”
Embracing change and adapting with the times is essential to not only surviving as a company, but to thrive and grow. In my experience, those who aggressively attacked the challenges posed by the pandemic fared far better than those hoping for a return to “normal”. Companies that weren’t afraid to adapt remained focused on their targets and ambitions.
In this article, I will explain how having an effective and flexible strategic growth plan can make it much easier for business owners to react to change and embrace evolution, rather than be stuck spinning their wheels.
An inspiration for writing this article came from a recent article by Vistage Worldwide, a strategic partner of our team at Generational Group and the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize business leaders.
In this piece, they highlight 4 ways to ensure your company is prepared to respond to change rather than shy away from it. Out of these, number three especially struck me:
During times of trauma, leaders tend to rely on what they know worked in the past and hope it’s a magic formula that can take them through the current challenges again.
Successful leaders instead focus on always improving and making progress. When that belief in continuous improvement is a core part of a leader’s mindset, they’re naturally going to be okay with transformation and change.
While this is undoubtedly accurate, in my experience it takes more than a positive attitude and a willingness to adapt and improve to be ready to embrace change. It takes a strong strategic plan to ensure that this desire and drive are reinforced with a tangible guide that keeps you on course to achieving your goals.
An effective plan is one that gives you a layer of flexibility and resiliency that others don’t. A roadmap that can consistently evolve as your business, the economy, and the world changes around you. One that means you can navigate any turbulence and come through still on track.
This is something our professionals at Generational Consulting Group specialize in. Crafting tailored, carefully thought-out strategic growth plans that help entrepreneurs:
Without these plans in place, it can be all too easy to lose direction on your short and long-term goals. It’s a simple trap to fall into during times of significant change, as you may develop tunnel vision focusing on the issue at hand, and not about the long game.
It’s crucial to have a written strategic plan in place, with clearly-defined goals. This ensures that your response to unexpected change is not an indecisive reaction, but is instead a thoughtfully planned course towards your targets. It is merely a diversion in your journey rather than a complete change in direction.
Determining what type of strategic plan is best suited to your business depends largely on your current circumstances and how immediately you are seeking results. At Generational Consulting Group, we provide two expert-driven solutions, designed to help companies at different stages of growth: strategic growth plans and tactical acceleration plans.
A Strategic Growth Plan (3 to 5 years) focuses on long-term improvements. It defines every step along the way to realizing your ambitions, and gets your team aligned on the extended vision for your company. This helps you push towards continuous, lasting growth, and will give potential investors a clear vision of your company’s future and how you intend to get there.
A Tactical Acceleration Plan (3 to 12 months) concentrates on short-term fixes and developments to spur profitability, cash flow and company performance. This approach is best suited to businesses that are underperforming and are in need of immediate guidance and results.
Both approaches have proven track records of success, helping companies reassess their processes and reaffirm their targets. If you want to know more, you can hear from a few of our clients by following the links below:
These plans set the goalposts that teams are working towards, providing a clearer focus when either internal or external shifts compel them to revisit their plans to remain on course.
They can also establish strategies for potential events that you can envision on your horizon. If you anticipate some turbulence ahead or want to have provisos included for different scenarios, these can be documented and followed to keep you moving towards your ambitions.
Furthermore, our plans are elevated by the assistance of seasoned strategists, made up of former CEOs, C-suite executives, and management consultants. This on-hand experienced support can be invaluable in advising you on the best way to respond to ongoing change while on the path to reach your goals.
The only constant in life is change. This is arguably truer for entrepreneurs than anyone else. There are so many variables, both known and unknown, that can influence the path a company goes on and where it leads.
However, with a mindset that embraces uncertainty, a strong supporting cast, and a well-defined strategic plan in place, it is possible to continuously adapt and evolve on your journey to fulfilling your ambitions.
Throughout the last several years, I have been so impressed by the leadership, resilience and adaptability shown by our clients and business leaders across North America. In some of the most tumultuous years in recent memory, they have not only survived but thrived. Their success has helped forge an economy that is even more flexible and robust.
For our clients at the very least, a big part of accepting change has been a firm awareness of their targets and the steps they must take to achieve them. This overarching strategy has empowered them to adapt where necessary, without compromising on the direction their business is moving in, or their long-term targets.
If you are interested in knowing more about Generational Consulting Group and the power of strategic growth planning, I’d urge you to attend a Growth and Exit Planning Conference. These are completely complimentary and contain a wealth of knowledge on how to successfully grow your business and stave off stagnation – all to ensure you can one day exit for maximum value.
Or, you can check out more insights on the Generational Group website that highlight the importance of effective growth plans:
I hope that this has given you food for thought over how you approach change in your organization, and whether having a documented plan in place might help you use this as a catalyst for improvements in the coming months and years.
Greetings Mike. Thank you for the captivating and compelling presentation you made at the Phoenix presentation last week. Over many years in business yours was the most informative and well-presented presentation, on any subject, that I have ever attended! Your energy and enthusiasm combined with your concise and captivating support of your positions with easily understood examples and data was compelling.Pete L.
I am pleased that I was able to work with Andrew Byrd throughout this experience. From the first meeting we had in Minneapolis I felt that I was in good hands. His knowledge and expertise is second to none. He guided the process consistently throughout. I feel lucky that I was pared with Andrew and could not be happier that I chose Generational Equity to handle this major life event. Thank you Andrew and GenEq for everything!Eric Erlandson, Owner, Action Fastenings, Inc.
We were happy to see the interest in our company and what we cherished has not just a valuable company but an important company to the communities we served in.Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
I would like to thank you and your firm, Generational Equity, for being our valued advisors in our journey.Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
Thank you again for all your guidance and support. Any company will achieve what they intend, if they have you on their team!Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
The most important contribution I think Ahmad made was with his personality and work ethic. He is sincere, efficient, and very hard working. He was available to me at all times, whether it was for specific detail of the negotiation or just to talk through the bigger picture. He listened, advised, and recommended, but never forced his idea or opinions. In the time we worked together, he became a valued colleague and also a friend.Salvo Stoch, Founder and CEO of Sleeping Partners
After attending a conference with GE, I decided that the value they bring would be worth the expense and as soon as I started working with them, I realized that was the right decision. When we started to get LOIs, Fred Zweifel took the lead on the communication and supported negotiations throughout the process, which got tricky as we moved forward. I learned that it can be common for companies to make a great offer then work to erode that price with their discoveries, but Fred and the GE team kept that from happening.Caroline Connelly, CEO, OptoTest
Your wisdom and experience were invaluable to me during this once-in-a-lifetime transaction.Ralph Noblin, President of Noblin & Associates
Generational Equity educated and informed us – so that we could be on the upside of a good decision (to sell).Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
Through the sale process, Generational brought in several interested buyers and we closed in about 6 months. I am so glad I accepted that invitation to the conference and could not be happier with the whole process. The team at Generational coupled with their knowledge and guidance was so valuable that in the end, I know I could never have done this on my own!JoAnn Ellis, Owner of Fondren 5 Star Kennels
I decided to attend the conference and hopefully receive some guidance on how to structure an exit plan of my business. Upon arriving at the conference, I was so impressed with the presentation given by Generational Equity that I set a future appointment that week to discuss the possibility of selling my business with their Senior Managing Director David Robinson.JoAnn Ellis, Owner of Fondren 5 Star Kennels
The process was much more involved than I expected and your help, experience and advice was a big factor in making the negotiations go as smoothly as possible.Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
Michael worked tirelessly, He followed every lead meticulously and urgently to make sure nothing was missed.Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
We knew it would be a difficult task to have someone really understand our business and our market, prior to researching a possible buyer, so it was imperative that we found someone of your caliber, with definite proven experience in this area.Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
I need to say an immense thank you to Don Ho for his stellar work ethic, attention to detail, and tireless effort. Also thank you to the whole crew at GE! Without you, Don could not do such a phenomenal job. We were shooting for closing and funding before the end of 2020, due to the uncertainty of the political landscape and taxes. I am happy to report we closed last week and will be funding tomorrow.Dr. Caty J. Catron PhD, RN, VA-BC – Owner, Vic The Picc, LLC
We were represented by Michael Goss with Generational. The due diligence was grueling and exhausting, but Michael propped us up and kept us motivated throughout the process. Debi and I continued to ask each other how we could possibly make it through this process without the assistance of Michael. Michael's professionalism and knowledge is absolutely amazing, and we are so blessed to have had him by our side as we made our future dreams come true.Bob and Debi Lee, Owners of BL Technology, Inc and BL Tl Services, LLC
I wanted to write you a quick letter to express our appreciation and our delight on the outcome of helping us through the process of our recent sale. We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
T.D., thank you so much! You are a great leader! I love how you are using your gifts and talents to better others. You are clearly a GREAT COACH! This 3 day session undoubtedly changed the future of our business, and very well may have been the sole catalyst to save my company, my health and my marriage! A genuine “thank you” from the bottom of my heart.Bryan D. Horn, Owner, Over Under Clothing
Generational Equity’s assistance was invaluable in compiling and marketing our business.Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all that you have done for us. Not only did you take care of all the aspects of the sale but took extra care to make sure we knew what it looked like every step of the way. I will definitely recommend your company to anyone that is in a position to or looking to exit their business.Shane and Johanna Kline, Owners of Vision Upfitters
We had the pleasure of working with Mr. Ahmad Behjati Managing Director, M&A, for Generational Equity during our acquisition of Papa's Dodge in late 2021. Generational Equity and Mr. Behjati represented and marketed Papa’s Dodge. As our primary contact, Mr. Behjati was professional in every facet of this acquisition process, conveying valuable advice most times and assisting us in every step of the process.Rick Greene of Dobbs Equity Partners LLC
We thank you Eric and Generational Equity making our dream come true.Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
The help you provided us during each step of this process made us feel very comfortable and confident we were selecting the right approach to transition our Company.Andy Graham, Vice President, Modern Heating & Plumbing
Thanks to you, the entire GE team and especially Michael Goss for driving a great valuation, coaching me and driving the process across the finish line. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support GE going forward. P.S. Given my experience with GE I felt comfortable enough to sign up with Generation Wealth Advisors!Tom Currier, Former President & CEO, Rackmount Solutions
The professionals at Generational Equity then helped develop a roadmap for enhancing the value of the firm and an evaluation report. This was completed by June 14, 2021. We then developed the Confidential Information Memorandum and put Taylor Studios, Inc. on the market by July.Betty L. Brennan, President, Taylor Studios
Generational Equity’s professional staff helped me every step of the way. Their network and professionals are the only reason I sold my company this quickly. For me this is a once in a lifetime sale and I was unfamiliar with the process. I was able to lean on them with questions and concerns.
I couldn’t have asked for a better team than Michael and Deborah. We couldn’t have done it without them.Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
I must say that I have never worked with a more driven, competent and focused individual as Don Ho.Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
I quickly recognized that Don was working for Sharpe Mixers above all else, and held our interests above others.Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
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