Look, we all want to get things done fast. So why not look for shortcuts? But when it comes to the 7 Stages of Business Success, it’s not smart to skip any of the stages. Especially the one many BOEs (Business Owners and Entrepreneurs) want to skip most: Stage One, the strategic planning stage. It’s easy to understand why this stage frustrates so many BOES. When you launch a business, you want to get started NOW! Whether you plan to make, create, or sell – whatever your business model – you probably want to start doing it and start making money. Strategic planning may feel like a stall or even a waste of time. That mindset is a mistake. The most profitable, sustainable businesses know how to sell things even before they make them. They have a strategic plan in place that helps them decide what to sell, how to sell it, what makes it special, how to price it, and more. Consultants like myself, for example, have to find customers before we can “create” anything. We sell ideas, promises, and results–not widgets. So we HAVE to start with a strategic plan. This “sell first, make later” approach takes a little discipline, but it’s worth it in the long run.