What are the critical elements of your business strategy? And by strategy, I mean, how are you going to build your business? That is how we define it in our methodology at Clear Path Coaching and Consulting using the One Page Business Plan framework. It is a tricky question. In some ways, it’s easier to refine, or even define, Strategies a few years into your business. That allows you to learn what works to grow your business and what does not. In today’s post, we are going to cover how to build your strategies. Strategies not only inform what you do. They also enable the leaders and team members underneath you to make better decisions as it’s clear how they will run the business.
Is Business Strategy as important as Objectives and Action Plans?
When I work with my clients to build a One Page Business Plan, Strategies are the piece they tend to struggle with the most. Why? They believe that nailing how the business will be measured and what projects they prioritize is far more critical than the “how” of the business. People aren’t used to thinking about all the nuances of how they will do business. How will you be known as a company? How will you launch products and services? How will you develop and grow your employees? How will you transition out of the business in five years? These questions matter for your business. And you owe it to yourself, your employees, and your customers to give them as much thought as the amount of revenue you will generate and what your margin will be. When you have identified the “how” of your business, you become infinitely more productive. You know how to set priorities. Your employees and leaders know how to make decisions. Everything is clearer when you have outlined at least five to seven Strategies for your business.
How do you determine what your business strategy will be?
I coach my clients to look at three things as they develop their strategies. The first is to identify where they have been successful in the past. And how can they expand upon those successes? The second is to look at past mistakes, what they have learned, and what they will do differently with that knowledge? Finally, I ask them to look at what ideas they have had in the past and not acted upon? Pulling from this brainstorming session creates a robust launching off point. If new approaches are needed, you can also look to industry trade publications, the work of other companies in your space, and brainstorm with trusted advisors. The key is to work toward five to seven strategies that will become the guidelines for how you will grow your business.
Some final tips
As you finish up the Strategies section of your One Page Business Plan, there are several things I encourage clients to keep in mind:
- Get focused, find your niche. You can’t be all things to all people.
- Be economical. How would you build your business if you had very limited resources? That will keep your Strategies focused on what matters!
- Think comprehensively. Your strategies should cover:
- Financial matters (growth rate, expense control, profit)
- Customer issues (positioning, customer service, customer acquisition)
- Process (sales and marketing, employee recruitment and retention, planning and execution)
- Learning and Growth Opportunities (technology, productivity, professional development)
With all these pieces in place, you will have a very comprehensive view of how you will move your business forward. And this matters. You need to be clear in your mind as a business owner what it is you want your business to be. When you have this clarity, communicate it to your leaders and your employees. Repeat it often. This clarity ensures that when you are not there, the team handles the business and makes decisions in the way you want them made. At some point, you will want to shift away from being an employee of your company to being a true leader who can live in the future of your business. But you can’t do that until you have your team aligned and doing everything the way you want it done. Strategies are a critical piece of that for your business.
Would you like to start building or refining your business strategy? Set up a consultation call today.