7 Steps to a SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS STRATEGY
What do I want to achieve for the year ahead? At the end of the next 12 months – some will have achieved, unfortunately many will have not. What is the difference? Is it technical skill? Probably not. Is it due to laziness? Nope. Most business owners work bloody hard. Then what is it?
The answer is – they lack either a plan to achieve their goals or the discipline to stick with the plan. Below are seven key ingredients to a winning business strategy – to give you a starting point.
1. KNOW YOUR WHY
What you want to achieve this year is a starting point, however what is more important is WHY you want to achieve this. I have observed many business owners lose touch with the reason that they originally went into business for. They automatically think that they should be growing sales revenue every year, employing more team players, expanding, etc. Sit down and work out what is REALLY most important for you in your life. Perhaps a stable business, with greater profits and more time off for you to spend with your family is what you value. Everyone is different – listen to your heart – and let the ego go!
2. WHAT DOES WINNING LOOK LIKE?
To know whether you have achieved your outcomes, it is important to have a scoreboard to let you know if you are winning or not. A scoreboard has a number, which gives you instant feedback to let you know if you are on or off track. This could be a representation of:
- Gross profit %
- New clients
- Net cash flow
Work out what the end result looks like and a measurement that you are going to use to record your progress.
3. WORK BACKWARDS – REVERSE ENGINEERING
One way to know what your „first steps‟ are is to work backwards from your ideal end result. For example – if your magic number is to have $2,000,000 in sales revenue for the year, then what is the target for 30th September, 30th June, and 31st March, given that you have 90-day targets? You can then break this into your targets for the next 30 and 60 days. You then have a much smaller time frame to work with which helps narrow your focus.
4. WORK ON THE ‘VITAL FEW’
Very rarely is it how many actions are required to achieve your results that count; it is how few are required. Decide which major actions will impact the majority of the results, and ensure that there are no more than five. Any more than five – even though it appears easy, will complicate the process. Be rigorous in selecting these, as it easy to create a to do list as opposed to a priorities list.
5. WHO DO YOU NEED ON YOUR TEAM?
Now that you are clear on WHAT you want to achieve and WHY you want this result, the next question to ask is WHO do you need on my team (internal and external) to help fulfil on your strategy? For example:
- Sales Manager
- Office Manager
- Site Supervisor
- Book keeper
- Strategic Alliances/Partners
- Network/Industry groups
- Business Coach/mentor
- Training co-ordinator
- The quality of the results you achieve will be determined by the quality of the people
that you have on your team
6. TRAIN, DELEGATE AND EMPOWER – AND LET GO
In many businesses, the person that can get in the way of results is the owner themselves! Often a difference between successful businesses and those that don’t succeed is the ability of the business to operate independently of the owner(s). Ensure you create the structures, systems and then training to allow your team to take responsibility of key parts of the business. This does not mean that you lose control; it just means that you empower your team to take on a greater role. Then…let them do their work! Remember to inspect what you expect and provide guidance and feedback where and when required.
7. REVIEW YOUR PROGRESS REGULARLY
At least once a month (winners do this weekly and even daily), schedule a time out to STOP and check in with your progress. We live in a time of intense noise and distraction. It’s just too easy to start off the New Year, being really busy chasing the wrong things. This review session is your personal GPS telling you whether you are on track or off track. Ask the following questions and answer honestly.
1. Are we on track/off track – according to the scoreboard?
2. What is working?
3. What is missing (that if was present would make the difference)?
4. How am I going – as a leader (or other role you play in life)?
5. What changes are required to keep on track/get back on track – and when?
This time out is one of the most powerful actions you can take to ensure you stay close to
your strategy and plan for the year.
Learn to say NO
Never confuse enthusiasm with priorities. Steve Jobs was known for his unwavering discipline to stick with a plan. He was quoted as saying, “Success is learning how to say NO a thousand times!” You can be good at many things or truly great at a few. Unless your plan is completely off the rails, and needs a major overhaul, have the courage to say – “Great idea…not just now!” All the best in creating your best year yet!