From Passion to Profit – Strategic Planning for Women-Owned SMEs

I am fascinated and excited by the growing number of professional women entrepreneurs all over the African continent.

Women who when they were younger dreamed of being in the corporate world, then went on to leading universities in the UK or the United States and came back home to rock the corporate world in the business and financial enclaves of Nairobi, Johannesburg, Lagos or Accra.

Women who then decided that they wanted to own their own corporate world. Brave, heroic and adventurous women. Women determined to dream and women courageous to pursue those very dreams. I salute you all, my “Sheroes”.

Accolades aside, it’s a tremendous undertaking starting and running a business. As a management consultant and business adviser with two decades of international consulting experience, I have seen the highs and lows, the joy and the pain, of running a business. The joy and pain of those who want fame and celebrity from their venture, the highs and lows of those who want to execute their enterprise demonstrating best practice, the success and disappointment of those who pursue business for purely monetary gain, and the frustrations of business owners as they deal with the inefficiencies of their value chain. Yes, it is immensely trying. Tremendously tough.

Plan: Think Deeply About Your Business Aspirations.

Many women start their business from a passion. Why else would you leave that well-paid management position in Citibank Kenya or MTN in South Africa? They want to serve that deep cry within themselves to step out into the deep and start the entrepreneurial odyssey. When they separate from their employees and well-paid jobs, the new business card is printed, the enterprise website is set up and one or two well-meaning and even carefully chosen non-graduate employees are recruited. A few years down the line, things start getting complicated and the business’s reality may not match expectations and aspirations. Whilst this is ‘normal’ and or to be expected, I often think one of the things that smaller women business owners on the continent do not do at all that could ease their business journey is strategic planning.

SEE ALSO |  6 Unique Approaches to Choosing Friends and Business Partners

Whilst to some that may sound like a big phrase, something that only big corporations indulge in and something that is not necessary for the small business, a documented strategic plan is a critical planning tool for the endurance of a business – even in the small and growing business sector. I would even say especially in the small and growing business sector because of the aspiration to GROW.

One is already tested by the very fact that one is an entrepreneur in the SME sector – with many more established, older, and trusted businesses around the corner. Add to that the desire to make profit, satisfy customers and be responsive to their needs, listen to and train staff, and deal with third party suppliers. Exasperation then sets in.

Envisioning the future of your business.

Whilst a business plan is used to assess the viability of a business opportunity, a strategic plan provides focus and direction for moving a business from where it is now to where it would like to get to. It is a futuristic document that documents your vision, your mission, your goals and the ensuing activities for your business over a specified period – usually 3 to 5 years.

SEE ALSO |  Important Steps in Starting A Successful Business

Not that you cannot run a business without one, but a more deliberate and focused picture of where you are going and what activities and initiatives it will take to get you and your business there is valuable for horizon planning and scenario mapping.

Let’s start with the envisioning: Having to deliberately consider a vision statement for your business forces you to think of the purpose of your business, ‘the Why’ and ‘the Why’ is where it all starts. Your response, a succinctly documented vision statement, puts a lot into perspective.

Let’s move on to your mission. What do you do? More importantly, what do you do expressly better than other businesses? What will distinguish your business? In many ways, your response to these questions will then also shape your goals for your business. I always say it is best to have a maximum of five goals – have one on organisational and people issues, one on branding and communications, including social media, have another on revenue targets, and yet another on your products focused on how you will distinguish your service, your brand and your brand outputs.

Having documented the goals, we then move on your initiatives and all activities. For each goal agreed on, you need to articulate the activities you and your business will undertake to realise each goal.  These can be as many as six or seven, but I would say ideally limit it again to five – we want to ensure the possible, let’s KIS (keep it simple).

SEE ALSO |  How to Face Challenging Days

Having Done All, Do

Having done all of that, do execute. Have timelines for the achievement of each initiative – I like to say these should be quarterly targets. To support you in execution, for accountability purposes, I would say institute a small Advisory Board, or a group of friends who you trust and who are professional enough to respect and value your business aspirations but also comfortable enough to ask you the tough questions about your business, or get a business coach. Many of us doers are driven by our passions and our passions alone. A runner wants to run, a golfer wants to golf and a business owner with a passion for jewellery wants to make and sell jewellery. That’s all very well and good, but if you really want to excel at what you do, a lot of the time you need a little, or a lot of, extra help.


Strategy planning is a tremendous exercise in self-examination and business planning. It takes a lot out of you.  It’s hard. You must ask yourself the right questions, and you probably need someone to guide you through the process so that you don’t just document the first things that come to your mind as you think – it’s more to do with strategic thinking. And yes, for a small business, it should be done. I promise you. Good luck!

Was this article useful? Kindly leave us a comment.

Follow #TSH on Facebook and Twitter for more awesome articles.


  1. When do you want me to start? l arginine tablets australia “It was both exciting and eerie to watch an imagined action from my brain get translated into actual action by another brain,” Rao said. “This was basically a one-way flow of information from my brain to his. The next step is having a more equitable two-way conversation directly between the two brains.”

  2. What line of work are you in? So ironically, Schwartz was grilling Gross on SNY, home of the Mets, while Francesa was bashing the Yankees on YES, the Bombers’ TV home. The SNY report was quickly circulated on Twitter. Yet on WFAN/YES, Francesa kept hammering the Yankees. Either the report wasn’t brought to his attention or he chose to ignore it. Bad idea.

  3. I’ll text you later review Obama’s trip has caused some criticism locally because of road closures and traffic delays. But crowds have reacted positively to him when he has appeared in public. As he arrived to pick up some takeout seafood at a local restaurant Tuesday, bystanders cheered. He shook hands and greeted about 40 people who gathered outside the restaurant.
    piperine forte atsiliepimai Karen Carbonaro, who brings her 25-year-old son Frank to Floyd Bennett, told the Daily News: “This completely disrupts everything they know. . . . I can guarantee if one of them [members of Congress] had a child like any of these children, maybe that would change some of the decision-making.”
    http // reviews Some financial institutions have reduced the use of Treasurybills as collateral for trades as the deadline gets closer. HongKong’s securities exchange is applying a bigger discount on U.S.Treasuries used as margin collateral.
    can you take ibuprofen with mucinex cold and flu Weaker demand means property investors, who had been luredby Cairo’s established business district, could swap what wasnorth Africa’s only viable property investment market forcomparatively stable cities in sub-Saharan Africa, propertyexperts said.
    200 mg ibuprofen for 8 year old Minnesota Vikings cheerleader perform during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Minneapolis, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. The used pick pompom to promote breast cancer awareness.

  4. Who do you work for? reviews All three are radioactive tracers designed to light up deposits of an Alzheimer’s-related protein called beta amyloid when used in conjunction with brain scans known as positron emission tomography, or PET.

  5. Could I have a statement, please? blue ups pill In fact, even when Begich and Landrieu had the most leverage with the White House — when their votes were needed to pass Obamacare in 2010 — they couldn’t get anything meaningful for their states in exchange.
    maxsize male enhancement formula cream review
    July 24 (Reuters) – Akamai Technologies Inc, whoseproducts help to move content quickly over the Internet, postedquarterly results ahead of Wall Street estimates as more peopleturn to the Web to watch movies and TV programs.
    isotretinoin 40 mg Bunkered down at the ALP’s temporary campaign headquarters in Melbourne (known to all as CHQ), Wright and his team could see Kevin Rudd’s messages bouncing all over the place. There had been no cut-through, no key themes sticking – despite the frenetic activity of the first week and a half on the road. Internally, the party’s own numbers were telling a similarly bleak story. For the first time, Labor had fallen below 45 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.
    ropinirole medscape The imminent deal was initially reported by the Wall StreetJournal late on Thursday. The WSJ also said Samsung is close tosigning a smaller order for its devices with the U.S. Navy,citing people familiar with the matter.
    download fate hollow ataraxia english patch Twenty-four cents of the earnings per share came fromdipping into funds the company had previously set aside to coverloan losses. More than half of that reserve release was from areal estate loan portfolio that has benefited from rising homeprices, and the rest was from loans on credit cards.

  6. Good crew it’s cool 🙂 The programme will also focus on how social media has changed activism, following the campaign launched earlier this month to bring to justice those who gang-raped a teenager in Kenya, as well as to raise money for her medical treatment.

  7. Whereabouts are you from? buy effexor xr 150 “Everybody starts crying and it’s just really happy because we tried for a long time — for five years,” he said. “I know people have tried for much longer, but if there’s anyone out there who’s trying and just losing hope, just hang in there, try every avenue. Try anything you can do because you’ll get there, you’ll end up with a family and it’s so worth it. It’s the most worth-it thing.”

  8. I’m not interested in football finasteride 5mg tablets uk Ineos and Unite have been embroiled in a bitter dispute for weeks, initially over the treatment of Unite convenor Stephen Deans, who was involved in the row over a selection of a Labour candidate in Falkirk, where he is chairman of the constituency party. login Angola’s ambassador to the government in Brazzaville told journalists on Thursday that he was still seeking information on what, if anything, had happened along the border. However, he denied that Angolan soldiers had detained Congolese personnel.
    clarks pharmacy simcoe ontario The plan to reduce the cost of single fares is one of the most significant changes still being considered. More radical plans to abandon above-inflation fare increases were dismissed as too expensive.
    baclofen 10 mg tablet price Dassault said that for the full year it now expects earningsper share of 3.57 to 3.67 euros, representing growth of 6percent to 9 percent, up from a previous estimated range of 2percent to 7 percent. (Reporting By Christian Plumb; editing by Mark John) review ‘I cannot remember feeling anything other than that I was running at 50 per cent. At this point food, bizarrely, became my sanctuary of a sort. At least if I was home on my own I could treat myself to a nice meal — but that was just making things worse.’

  9. Go travelling true med hemp oil And while most women in the U.S. will start their babies off with breast milk, by the age of six months 35% of women have stopped breastfeeding, notes an accompanying editorial. That figure drops to 20% among African-American women.

  10. Where do you study? He added: “The idea that somehow Ed Miliband gave [the Conservatives] a signal of support [on Wednesday] … that is categorically untrue. We listened to what they had to say, we said we would reflect on it … and we made our position clear.” Labour later named the spokesman responsible for the “succour” comments as Craig Oliver, the Prime Minister’s director of communications.

  11. Do you know each other? dejac t “Two big mistakes,” Sabathia said. “I feel like I’ve been letting these guys down; we’ve been struggling to swing the bats and we scored early against Shields. It’s only 1-0, but still, you don’t want to give up the lead.”

  12. Insufficient funds taking viagra high blood pressure “Literacy is low out there – people don’t even know that Obamacare and Affordable Care Act are the same thing,” says Aaron Smith, executive director of Young Invincibles, a nationwide non-profit that helps inform young Americans about their healthcare options.
    panasilver There are some issues that inevitably unite the caucus though On Sept. 20 Boehner gave his Republican caucus exactly what it wanted: a chance to vote on a government funding bill that defunded the president’s health care plan. He’d given his caucus more than 40 opportunities to repeal Obamacare, but this, many in his caucus argued, was the best chance Boehner had ever given them to stop the law in its tracks.
    paroxetine side effects weight gain He said he had to see the film like a “fairy tale” – one in which he had to ignore all his knowledge of the slave trade and its repercussions. He himself is Igbo, a West African ethnic group that was a major source of slaves to the American South.
    sirtuins and cancer America’s largest investment bank had already agreed to pay out $920m in fines to US and UK regulators, over a series of high risk trades which went wrong in 2011 and put a $6.2bn hole in its balance sheet. The mounting legal bill helped to push JP Morgan to a loss in the third quarter – its first quarterly loss under chief executive and chairman Jamie Dimon. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 128.48points, or 0.83 percent, at 15,628.02, a record close. It alsohit a new intraday high of 15,650.69. The Standard & Poor’s 500Index was up 21.14 points, or 1.25 percent, at 1,706.87,also a record. The benchmark S&P surpassed 1,700 early in thesession after failing to break above that level on Wednesday.

  13. What do you want to do when you’ve finished? mopani pharmacy clinic The Hang Seng Index, which has dropped the past fourdays, was down 1.1 percent at midday to 21,724.93 points, itslowest since Aug. 8. The China Enterprises Index of thetop Chinese listings in Hong Kong fell 0.9 percent.

  14. What sort of music do you listen to? medicines for ireland group Mrs Tetlow said: “The increase in the female state pension age has led to a significant number of women working beyond 60. There could be a financial motivation from people who have a lower income so chose to work more.”

  15. Very Good Site onde comprar citrato de sildenafila 50mg Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Erasmus University in the Netherlands used economic modeling to calculate the consequences of a release of a 50-gigatonne reservoir of methane from thawing permafrost under the East Siberian Sea.
    precio de ron havana club aejo especial “Improving the standards of maths and English will benefit many youngsters looking for work but there are many social skills and an attitude to the world of work that is totally unacceptable in parts of our young workforce that skill-based apprenticeships can remedy”, said Mr Davies.
    directions for libido max “York almost preserves the city in its history. But I definitely think the heritage of English cities needs to be celebrated. In the cases of Nottingham, Leicester and Derby, you can still see that medieval history in their fabric.
    pharmacist first used by Flies were buzzing around the bloodied patch of earth outside a ransacked mosque in Tha Phyu Chai village where police removed Khin Naing’s body after he was hacked to death by ethnic Rakhine Buddhists. Regulators have turned the spotlight on to Spanish banks’bad loans to companies and homeowners following the massivewritedowns last year on soured real estate assets dating from a property crash that began in 2008.

  16. I’d like to cancel this standing order where can i get generic valtrex The 2013 MLB All-Star FanFest at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center held fun family events and, according to a lawsuit filed by a volunteer seeking wages, is said to have generated $191.5 million for the New York economy.

  17. Will I get paid for overtime? slimex 15 reviews The airline is currently owned by a disparate group of 21investors including bank Intesa Sanpaolo and highwayoperator Atlantia, a consortium pulled together in 2008by then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi after he rejected atakeover by Air France-KLM.

  18. I’m not sure medrol dose pack muscle gain The select committee that is examining the draft lobbying bill which has raised hackles throughout the voluntary sector, said yesterday that it had only received submissions from two charities so far and that more should send in evidence for MPs to look at.

  19. I need to charge up my phone maca man label “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s score is not surprising, given her lengthy political career, and [she’s] especially strong support among Democrats and women,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement.  ”But Gov. Christopher Christie’s rating is impressive given that  his experience — less than four years as governor — pales when compared to Mrs. Clinton’ s resume.  What is interesting is that only two of the 22 figures rate better than the absolute middle of the scale, not exactly a ringing endorsement of the nation’s political establishment.”

  20. Not available at the moment benicar anlo 20/5 mg preo Wireless providers in the United States have said that this hack isn’t likely to affect their customers. A T-Mobile spokesperson said, “T-Mobile SIMs use the newer ‘3DES’ technology, so customers will not be affected.”

Comments are closed.