How to Rework Your Business Strategy and See Real Results
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there” – Alice in Wonderland
Do you have a strategy for your business? Or is it just filed in the “strategy” folder to be reviewed once a year? Most small business owners don’t employ an overall strategy, but instead use a series of unlinked and spontaneous decisions. Far worse is that their team can’t easily articulate where the company is going. For them, strategic planning means an annual offsite meeting and then no discussion of it until the beginning of next year to formulate a new one!
Many owners argue that they do use a strategy. But, don’t confuse strategy with tactics. A strategy is an overall plan to achieve multiple long term goals. It involves a series of alternate choices since resources are always limited. A tactic is a chosen solution to reach a specific goal. For example, the strategy for Android is to be the universal mobile operating system by offering it free on all devices. A tactic is to let companies easily develop applications for it.
Here is a guide to reviewing your company’s strategy and identifying its strong and weak points:
The purpose: What pain does your company solve? People will always buy painkillers more than they will vitamins. It is important you can easily articulate the pain you alleviate. For example, if you’re a life insurance rep, you protect clients’ families from mishap.
The mission: Why should your employees care? What is the higher purpose goal that they come together to achieve? For example, a lighting recycler wants to make sure the earth in the future has less trash and waste in it. This is something they can rally around.
The market: How do your clients find you? Just because you build it does not mean they will come. How will you market your product so your customer will choose you? For example, a gift manufacturer can use internet specialty retailers for distribution of their products.
The team. Ideas are meaningless. It’s the execution of those ideas that lead to success. How will the team use the company’s strategy to achieve the stated goals? For example, a consulting firm only hires experienced sales reps who know how to sell complex services to mangers throughout the entire customer organization.
The money. Where is the leverage inside the company to make money as it grows? For example, it may be in the product. The company develops it once then sells it many times over to different customers for a very low cost added cost.
The competition. Who is it and how would they answer all the questions discussed above? This will assist you in predicting where they are going and how you will react. For example, they may lower their price to acquire customers quickly.
A good way to test what your strategy is to ask two of your managers and three employees to articulate it. If they can’t, go back to the top and ask these questions, redefining your business strategy and setting a groundwork to deliver real results.
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