Strategy and Business Planning

Former Redwood Cellars owner and Supreme Business Award Winner Justin Hall – now a director of business consultancy firm Strategic Value Partners – presented this Business Building Block workshop on strategy and business planning. Here’s some key points;


  • Strategy is how your business plans to bridge the gap between “means” and “ends”
  • The process of defining your strategy is invaluable – it gives you the series of steps you’re going to take to achieve your goal
  • A strategy also helps you stay on track and avoid the “Magpie theory”. Ie seeing something shiny and new that causes you to lose focus.


  • It doesn’t matter where you begin – the order isn’t crucial and chances are you’ll be constantly reviewing and revising as you go.

Justin Hall strategy process











  • Break down your mission into manageable steps
  • Get good industry data however you can. It may mean even talking to shelf fillers or surveying customers
  • Finding ways of measuring things is important
  • There is value in collaboration
  • Self awareness is critical


  • At some point as your business evolves, you may decide to get specialist help for certain areas
  • Think about “who is the best parent for this job” in your business
  • People cost a lot of money but they are the most valuable resource to help you achieve your business goals
  • Numbers are a really good way to test all the assumptions you’ve put into words
  • Give a one-page plan from your strategy to everyone in your business and make sure it includes a time relevant goal. It’s hard to row the boat if everyone isn’t paddling in the same direction
  • Governance is incredibly valuable. It means having someone outside the business that you trust who can look at it with fresh eyes and be relatively brutal
  • Make sure you tell your team what’s coming out of board meetings. There’s a good chance that by feeding down, you’ll get information bouncing back.

“Strategic planning is your way of grasping your own future”