As a business owner, do you usually cringe and shy away from anyone who says the word “strategy” because you think that is for big companies and is not important to you? The term ‘business strategy’ does seem to conjure up a picture of a large overwhelming task that many business owners think is not needed for their business. Many think the that any kind of a strategy is something that consultants do for large business that generates a lot of paper and sits in the drawer. This thought is not the case with many of the businesses we work with that have found themselves stagnate and in need of help with moving their business forward.
It is true there are many companies that make a lot of money generating a lot of paper that can be confusing to a business owner, but that is not what a business strategy has to be, that just is how some choose to implement it. A business strategy is a plan of how you are going to achieve your business and personal goals related to your business. In two words, it is your ‘game plan’. It is the map a coach draws on the board to let his team know the ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘when’ and by ‘who’ needs to be done in order to win the game. When we hear a business owner tell us “we are just all over the map”, it usually tells us that they do not have a business strategy in place. This is not a 50-page document that sits in a binder on a shelf can be captured in a few pages. To build your business strategy, you need to understand at a minimum these points about your business:
A business strategy should not remain stagnate, as it is forever changing as your business does. When you make changes to your business, you have to adjust your strategy. A business strategy is usually focused on a 3-5 year outlook and is a guide to help you achieve your business goals. Even with a 3-5 year one, there will be things that will need to be tweaked here and there.
Businesses that have a business strategy from the beginning tend to have a better chance of staying out of trouble down the road. If there has never been a business strategy, developing one is more difficult once the business is running for a period of time. Change will have to take place if the majority of the items above have not been defined and addressed. Change is easier to implement in a business before you have employees on board and are generating significant revenue.
If you do have a business strategy in place and are looking to grow your business, you will want to take the strategy you have now and look at the areas that need to change to meet your business goals. For example, in order to grow you might be adding additional channels to market or new products. You just need to modify or add those items that will help you achieve your growth.
Business strategy does not have to be 4 letter word or be an onerous task. Having a business strategy makes it easy when you need to put together a business plan when you require financing as well, as you have most of the information needed already outlined. If you are looking for financing and need a business plan without a strategy in place, a business plan will end up costing you a lot more money as while the plan is being done your strategy is having to be developed as well.
We offer facilitation sessions that are usually only one day in length where you are able to walk away with your business strategy defined. We also provide a balanced scorecard with the strategy as it provides the action plan for what is needed in the business in order to implement the strategy. This is especially important for those businesses that have been operating without one, as implementing strategy into a business that is in full operation requires more effort.
RK Fischer & Associates