If you fear that strategic planning is all just pie-in-the-sky theorizing, here's a book that aims to keep you firmly planted in your own particular corporate realities: Total Business Planning, by E. James Burton and W. Blan McBride (John Wiley, 1991). This 245-page paperback is full of question-and-answer forms that could prove useful in helping you think about growing your business: "What Business Are We In?" one attempts to answer; others include "Where Are We?" "Where Are We Going?" "How Do We Get There?" and "How Do We Know When We Are There?" At $19.95, it's a more economical place to start than by hiring a consultant.

-- Jill Andresky Fraser