Strategic thinking for the 1-person business

by Michele on April 19, 2011

Solopreneurs need strategy as much as big businesses do Solopreneurs need strategy as much as big businesses do

One of the skills I use all the time in my business is strategic thinking.  This sounds complicated, and in fact it’s one of the skills emphasized in MBA programs but there are certain parts of strategic thinking that scale perfectly for a solopreneur or small business.

You can start your strategic thinking by always asking and establishing why you are doing anything.  Ideally, you should be asking this of every single task or activity you are thinking of doing.  If you decide you’re going to start Tweeting, then why?  What’s the purpose?  How will it add to your bottom line?

Why do you have a website?  What’s the purpose of your website?  Why are you writing that particular blog post?  When I first start working with a new client and we begin to ask these questions, it can be unnerving.  It’s an entirely new way of thinking and running your business.  We’re used to hearing an idea and doing it.  That freedom is one of the joys of being a solopreneur, and our natural inclination to take action is one of the hallmarks of solopreneur success.

While I would never want to stifle those tendencies, we need to put the breaks on ever so slightly and establish why we are doing this new thing, how it fits into our plan for success and if in fact it’s worth it for our business.  One of the least effective ways to manage your business is to jump from one bright shiny new activity to the next and keep cramming more and more activity into our business without having a plan for how it will help our success.  It’s fine to have a few activities that aren’t absolutely pulling their weight in your business if you enjoy them, but having a day full of purposeless activity will lead to exhaustion, discouragement and lack of motivation.  Your success will most certainly come from activity, but not just any activity – it has to be a carefully orchestrated mix of actions that work together in a strategic way.

(BTW – I just launched a FREE 5-day e-course on the 5 Essential Skills for Solopreneur Success and strategic thinking is one of the skills I cover.  If you want more information on strategic thinking and 4 other essential skills, use the sign up box below.)


  1. Michelle- great post. If everyone checks their activity against their mission, they WILL achieve their mission. And, as you said, not every activity has to be totally directed at that (eating is necessary, but not generally part of one’s mission) effort.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Michele says:

      Thanks Roy! I love how you summed up strategic thinking in one phrase: “check your activity against your mission.” Great way to put it! Thanks for the comment.

  2. Wendy says:

    Thanks Michele! One of my new favorite quotes is “Hope is not a strategy” US Airforce fighter Pilot. As in “I hope this works”. The why is very important.

    1. Michele says:

      Thanks Wendy! I love that quote – hope never made sure anything worked!

Previous post:

Next post: