Have you looked at your strategic plan yet? Is it an actual business strategy, or is it a list of ideas and tactics?
The right plan, can grow your business and make 2019 your best year yet. A lot of businesses make the mistake of putting together a list of ideas and tactics, but they don’t take into account the overall goals and direction of the business.
Your strategy should answer:
- Where your business is going (what you want your business to look like in three to five years).
- What your business will say yes to and what it will say no to. This includes looking at customers, partners, employees, your approach and more.
If you don’t first have a clear understanding of where you’re going to work from, then any amount of execution won’t have an impact, no matter how well it’s planned.
Creating your strategic plan
While your strategic plan must include vital information, the shorter the better.
By making your strategy as concise as possible, you get your ideas on paper in a format where you can see all their interconnections. This allows you to consider the internal and external aspects, seeing alignment, and where there may be gaps.
In doing this, you keep yourself at a higher level of thinking. It also means once it’s determined it’s easier to articulate to the team and be remembered. When developing your strategy, you should identify:
- Who your customers are
- What your clients’ pain points are
- What value your business provides for relieving these pains
- How your business provides value to clients
- Who or what your key resources and partners are
- What your unique value proposition is
- Your cost structure for making money
- What your business wants to be known for
If you’re inspired to start now, we’ve put together a handy PDF you can print out and jot down your thoughts.
Look for gaps
It’s important you test your strategy with people in the real world – your clients, potential customers, team etc. Doing this allows you to identify where any gaps or misalignments are. From here you can clarify your tactics for each team member, your metrics to measure it and how you’re all contributing to moving forward.
With this clarity in your strategy, you, along with your team, can build the strategic execution around how you’re going to get to where you’re going.
Keeping your team aligned with the strategy
It’s important for everyone in your team to know what they should be focusing on. Align their job descriptions directly with the strategic plan so they understand their role and how they contribute to the overall strategic plan.
Break this down into quarterly goals to focus on for them and then drill down even further with a monthly plan to reach these goals. This way you are giving them clear direction to stay on track and a lense to prioritise their work through.
Create a one-pager of your goals for each team member that will help you clearly visualise everyone’s tasks. This will also help you have an early indication on which team members or area of the business might need more help with their contributions to the strategic plan.
Keeping yourself aligned
Schedule weekly solo clarity meetings for yourself. These aren’t metaphorical meetings, and they’re not negotiable. Block off between 30 and 60 minutes in your calendar each week and ensure your actions for the week are aligned and are supporting your overall strategic plan.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of your business and start prioritising things that aren’t necessarily going to help you achieve your goals and the big picture. By holding yourself accountable each week, it ensures you aren’t drifting off course and lets you lead by example.