When business owners and executives pose the question, many agree with Benjamin Franklin’s quote “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” But, “When does my business need a strategy?” is a WRONG question. A business does not need a strategy if the strategy is perceived as a set of documents that beautifully and professionally presents carefully-developed contents. (Thus, developing strategy is costly.) Such perception misleads a lot of small and medium business owners into deciding that a business strategy is not appropriate to their businesses – struggling with a number of urgent matters. Whether the owners and executives acknowledge the appearance of a strategy for doing business just does not matter. Business strategy is always existing. When being asked about strategy for his early stage business, a young entrepreneur gave three words: trying to survive! His statement is really meaningful. While firmly believing his business does not need, and indeed have no, business strategy, the entrepreneur leads his entrepreneurial endeavor in a contingency strategy. Radar is opened widely to capture business opportunity. Then, if caught, resources will be mobilized and allocated to make the best use of the opportunity. What the business really needs is the leaders’ strategic thinking. The RIGHT question is “When does a business leader need strategic thinking?” Answer: NOW and ALWAYS. If one doubts about the answer then consults Benjamin Franklin. What is a business strategy? It is a document, or at least a statement, presenting (i) vision, mission, achievement, objective the business is pursuing in a certain period of time (often, 3 to 5 years); (ii) implementation principles and stages to reach (i); and (iii) resources that need to be prepared and mobilized for implementation process. Details and scope of the issues discussed in the strategy depend on the amount of resources which is available to strategic planning process. It is noteworthy that resources include focus, time and priority of the business leaders. A large financial budget for strategic planning does not assure the business of a success. In first car driving lessons, the instructors often guide the learners to look at the horizon in order to keep driving straight. What an advice! In addition, Steve Blank gives suggestion on strategy that fits your business in his comparison between lean startup and traditional business. (See picture.) If one still concerns his/her business is still too small and facing so many death-or-alive problems that need quick decisions and actions then the story about Konosuke Matsushita (1894-1989) may be of help. With an investment of JPY100, Konosuke started his business in electrical appliances in 1917 when he was 22 years old with two friends, his wife, and the youngest brother of his wife. The business was not good. The two friends left by the end of 1917. The company was on the edge of bankruptcy. At the most difficult moment, his wife and her brother found Konosuke Matsushita in a corner of the company’s store. He was thinking and… carefully writing. The two asked him to make decision and reminded him this was the time for some actions. Calmly, Matsushita said, he was writing down ideas and thinking about prosperous development of the Matsushita Corporation. His writing started with “Not for the bread alone.” Vietnamese consumers may know more about the Corporation’s brands – i.e., National, Panasonic, and Sanyo – than the name of Matsushita. Matsushita Corp. is also well-known by its personnel strategy of lifetime employment, consistently implementing during the Second World War. The leaders of Matsushita Corp. decided to end this in September 2001 in a recovering effort after the Asian financial crisis. Lesson: a strategy being praised and implemented in decades is possible, even necessary, to be changed./.