Building a Resilient SME Business with Strategic Business Goals

by | Sep 20, 2023

“If you do not know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere”

Henry A Kissinger

Building a resilient SME business with strategic business goals is the key to your success. A client said to me recently “It’s a waste of time us setting 3 – 5 year goals because everything changes so rapidly around here. There are so many external influences that we might now be here in 3 years time.

My response went something like: “Do you still want to be in business in 3 – 5 years? If not, I agree, we are wasting our time here. If you do, what do you need to do to ensure you are still here in 3 years time? What are the strategic business goals that will provide the direction to the business to navigate those external influences in order to thrive?

What is a resilient business?

  1. One that is sustainable.
  2. In spite of changes in ownership and changes in leadership and other key staff.
  3. A business where the value resides in the business itself and not only within the current owners and leadership team.
  4. A business where knowledge is captured in a way that it can be transferred to others.
  5. This means building a business where the Founder can walk away one day and the legacy and success of the business will continue.
I am working with a client, a family owned business where many loyal staff have been there for over 20 years.  These staff members are the back bone of the company. They know everything. They are worth their weight in gold due to their organisational knowledge.  And I worked for many years in a similar family owned company.

The risk is that when these amazing highly thought after, trusted and loyal staff eventually leave to start their grey nomad adventures, their knowledge walks out of the door with them.  A resilient business has strategies in play to mitigate against this risk.

The road map is the strategic plan

Strategic planning is an important part in building a resilient, healthy and profitable SME business. It serves as a roadmap for guiding the business toward success and sustainability.

As a founder or owner of the business do you:

  • feel like a proverbial hamster on a wheel?
  • feel like you’re stuck on the tools?
  • feel like you’ve just bought yourself a job?
  • know that you want to transition out of the business one day, but succession is far from your thoughts at the moment?
  • admit to being a control freak, and/or
  • frustrate your management team by constantly changing direction and jumping from one thing to the next?
I have worked with entrepreneurial owners that do what entrepreneurs do, constantly coming up with new ideas, communicating on the fly, leaving the management team floundering with the lack of consensus on the priorities. This absence of clarity resulting in confusion,  frustration and people pulling in different directions doing what they think is best or often what they enjoy doing, which may well be not what the company needs right now.   As a consequence the owner gets frustrated because their priorities have not progressed as much as expected, having wasted time and money in the process.  And I’m not talking about start ups. I am referring to established Owner led SMEs.

Making time to work ON the business

If you want to:

  • feel like you’re in control of where your business is heading, but
  • without having to do all the work yourself.
  • be surrounded by a management team that you trust and have confidence in their leadership capabilities.

And in doing so:

  • see some real progress by kicking some business goals, knowing that
  • everyone is pulling in the same direction
You need to carve out some time to work ON the business.

I am not into a strategic planning process that involves being locked away for a couple of days with an expensive consultant who knows nothing about your business, to produce a 20-30 page strategic planning documents that gather dust until you do this all again in 3-5 years time.

I like strategic plans that are “living”, that evolve and flex as circumstances change and are operationalised within the business. That means that there is a mechanism to maintain strong alignment between all operational decisions and the strategic business goals.  As a result:

  • the vision, business purpose and values are clearly articulated, widely communicated and become embedded in the modus operandi of the business
  • a thriving and healthy workplace culture perpetuates
  • the systems and processes that make the business hum are documented, facilitating knowledge transfer; and
  • the leadership team are empowered and trusted to make decisions.


I once heard a senior business leader say: “Communicate, communicate and just when you think people are starting to get it communicate some more” .

Everyone within the business wants to know where the business is headed, what is important and the part that they play. We all like to belong and be part of something bigger than ourselves, and to know that what we do matters.  For this reason it is recommended that the strategic plan is communicated widely across the organisation and importantly, progress is also communicated. This is not a one time event.

You can build a resilient business with the Adapt Foundations Program. Allow me, as a business coach and consultant, to introduce you to a proven system created by SME business experts to empower business owners and leaders to build great businesses.  Read more.

dhm Coaching & Consulting - Debbie Millard - Building a Resilient SME Business with Strategic Business Goals

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