The biggest ball-and-chain we see on businesses is not talent, guts, determination or the state of the economy. It’s strategy (and lack of). Strategy is not just for the big companies. We’ve seen far too many business owners struggle because they lacked a clear strategy.
A strategy is not a plan (it gives rise to plans); it is a compass. A strategy carves out your business niche, makes your position unassailable (the venture capitalists call that your “moat”), and tells your market and your colleagues what you really rock at. Nobody rocks at everything. For that reason, the most important word in strategy is “No.” If everything’s a “Yes” in your strategy, what you have is a shortcut to mediocrity.
Your strategy is also your top-level decision-support system. Should we invest in chasing that bright shiny new opportunity? Well, does it fit with our strategic vision and direction? Or would we just be diluting our efforts and delaying our progress in our main game?
Flip side of that: if we know our niche well, a strategic review will uncover opportunities that bolt on to our existing work. Then we plan (see what I mean?) to maximise each new opportunity by piggy-backing on what we already know and do.
Execution is the difference between strategy and day-dreaming. As you put your plan into action, you will not only reap the benefits, you will learn how to refine and extend your strategy.
Are you ready to let your business reach its potential? You’ll need to start with strategy. Here’s a tip to get you going – don’t start with “What needs fixing here?” Start with “What’s working well here, that we can build on?” It’s from our four-stage strategy process, based on the internationally-recognised work on Appreciative Inquiry.
If you’re not sure where to start or need to revisit your business strategy, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.