It’s a piece of advice you hear over and over again: have a business strategy. But, what exactly is a business strategy? How do you write one and then how do you use it to make sure it benefits your business?
As a business coach, I help all kinds of business leaders create strategies and then implement them to skyrocket their business to success. I am a big advocate of the idea that every business must have a plan, and that plan should evolve and change as needed, but it should also be used consistently.
In my experience, I’ve seen the vast differences between businesses that have a strategy and businesses that don’t. I’ve also seen how the results are greater when the business strategy is executed properly and the action plan is bold and consistent.
Anatomy of a Business Strategy
Each part of a business strategy is absolutely necessary and you shouldn’t move on to the next step until you have finished the previous one, as each builds on the others. Let’s break it down.
Your Current Standing
Whether you are just starting a small business or are in your tenth year of business, your business strategy should start with an analysis of your current standing. Outline things like what you have accomplished, what resources you have available, your current operating procedures and your costs and profits.
Consider what your long-term vision is. What do you want your business to look like in one year, five years, 10 years and even beyond? These descriptions could be general, but they need to be detailed enough to outline the kind of growth and changes you hope to see.
How will you accomplish your long-term vision? Your mission statement will say, in just a sentence or two, how your business operates to be successful. It should include your values as well as your services and what you hope to accomplish as a business.
Setting goals is absolutely essential if you want your business to succeed. Your goals should be tasks and hurdles you need to accomplish and overcome in order to make your long-term vision a reality.
Your goals should be very detailed and measurable. A good goal would look something like this: “Achieve X amount in quarterly profits by July 2016.” This goal is specific, gives you a timeline and tells you how to measure your success. Make as many goals as you need to to cover your vision and all aspects of your business.
Benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators
Now, set some benchmark goals that will help you achieve the detailed goals you just set. For example, if you want to increase quarterly profits, you may set a benchmark goal for the number of sales you need to make each week or month to achieve that overall goal.
This is also when you should set your key performance indicators (KPIs), or figures you will use to measure your success. Things like number of sales, number of leads, percentage of growth and number of current customers are very common KPIs.
How to Execute your Strategy
A business strategy won’t help your business much if you don’t execute it. While I tell business leaders their strategies may change and evolve over time, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be used and followed carefully.
Make Everyone Aware
First, make sure your entire team is aware of your strategy and understands what it means. Getting everyone on board will help make execution easier and build unity, which can go a long way in reaching success.
It’s impossible for any one person at your business to execute a good business strategy alone. Delegate responsibilities to departments or team members as it makes sense so everyone can help put the plan into action so your long-term vision will come to life.
Revisit your Strategy and Goals
Revisit your strategy and goals on a regular basis and gauge how well you have executed your plans. You may decide to set up a weekly review or a monthly meeting, depending on your plans, to make sure you are on track to reach your goals.
Hold Each other Accountable
As you revisit your strategy, hold team members accountable for their portions of the plan. Follow up on assignments and make sure everyone has what they need to be successful.
Congratulate team members and celebrate your success when you reach goals and your business strategy begins to bring results. Taking the time to recognize achievements and how far your business has come can inspire your team to aim higher and work together more closely to be even more successful.
There’s no doubt that businesses that have a strategy and consistently work toward goals are much more successful than those that don’t. If you would like one-on-one help creating a business strategy and learning how to implement it at your business, contact me.