Strategic Planning in a Small Business?

As I reflect back on 2014, I must say that it was definitely one of the most interesting years I (we) have experienced at ISI since I started the business in 1996. The best news of the year is we rebounded from a tough 2013 and grew company revenue over 16% despite numerous industry and competitive challenges throughout the year. Very proud of the ISI sales and support team for their hard work in making that happen! Some more good news is that we got serious about new products in 2014 and now have new EMR telemedicine software (KrixiCare), We now have 24x7 nationwide network management support (ISI NET) and new ISI MD carts are now working in numerous high profile corporations throughout the country. We also grew company business in the Nashville area in 2014 with new clients like Corizon Health, Blue Cross, etc and will be looking for even more success in 2015.

Yet with the success of 2014, there are still numerous challenges and obstacles that ISI will have to deal with in order to have continued success in 2015. Eroding hardware margins, technology spending cutbacks and increased labor costs are just some of the provocative issues that we plan on discussing a few weeks from now in the ISI Strategic Planning Meeting. This is a change from our annual Kick Off Meeting which is mainly an overview of the past year. Why the sudden change? The answer is simple. The business has CHANGED and ISI has got to change and be better than we've ever been to be successful in the future.

Strategic planning sound a little corporate, right? Maybe a little heady for small business? I don't think so and frankly, I think it's vital for any size business to be successful in the future. The business world has gotten difficult to deal with in the past few years and small business in particular cannot get away with running it "off the seat of our pants." From a practical standpoint, how can a business expect success if you don't plan for it? 

Another value of strategic planning is that it's a perfect time for you and your team to make an honest assessment of the business and determine what's working, what's not and fix the problems in advance. I know at ISI one issue we are really going to work on is "our process" where we really feel the we can improve our profitability by increasing overall company efficiency. It's amazing what improving margins 1 or 2% can do for a $16m company! 

ISI is also honored to have my good friend Bill Courtney as a guest speaker at our meeting this year. Bill is Founder/CEO of Classic American Hardwoods and the author of a new book "Against the Grain." He is also the subject of the 2012 Academy Award winning documentary "Undefeated" that chronicles the inspiring turnaround of a inner city (Manassas) football team. Really looking forward to Bill's presentation!

Posted by Jay Myers at 9:51 AM