Strategy – What’s Your Next Move?
There are over 4.5 million businesses in the UK and every year 400,000 are formed, with nearly as many failing. Most businesses stay small or plateau at a certain turnover without being able to grow – probably because business owners are working ‘in’ the business rather than ‘on’ it; making tactical day to day decisions rather than strategic ones.
So what distinguishes a successful business?
How about the following?:
- Knowing your strengths and weaknesses
- Having targets in place
- A business plan covering all aspects of the business
- Effective targets and measurements in place
- Ensuring that product and service offerings meet the needs of the market
- Ability to create a competitive edge
- Efficient, clear and consistent business processes
- Inspired and driven leadership
Getting back to your core competencies and strengths in order to focus and build upon them is where having a strategy is important.
So where to start?
Initially you need to establish what your vision and mission are.
A vision – the overall intention of your business e.g. Toys ‘R’ Us:
“To put joy in kids’ hearts and a smile on parents’ faces”.
Your mission explains what you do and how you do it in line with your vision e.g. Ebay:
“To provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything”.
The next step is to clearly define your marketplace – what’s the product or service you are offering? Is it what the customers want? Who is a an ideal client? How are you going to distinguish yourself from the competition?
In order to reach your desired market, you need to review where your business is currently positioned across all ‘pillars’ of the business: finance, sales, marketing, operations and resources (e.g. staff, IT infrastructure) and where you need to be in each of these areas to achieve what you want for your business.
The gap generated from this exercise is the challenge and defines the next step which is ‘How are you going to get to where you want to be?’.
With these business issues identified you can now establish a list of actions that are required to resolve them and move your business forward.
These actions then need to be prioritised into what are the ‘now’ actions that need to be implemented straight away and what are the ‘next ‘ actions that will follow on to keep this action plan dynamic – most importantly who is going to do what by when and what are the targets and measures that can be put in place to ensure that the business is moving in the direction you want it to?
Documenting this will provide you with a simple and effective strategic plan; to be reviewed and updated regularly, defining the next move(s) to either start your business, enable you to grow your business or to better manage your time effectively; thus moving you from a tactical to a strategic business owner!
Profile: Paul Green
Paul is a business expert specialising in business planning and strategy. He is a founder partner of UK Business Advisors and Fellow of the Institute for Independent Business. Primarily he works with SME business owners offering practical, hands on business advice to help companies survive and thrive. He is the author of the recently published book “50 Essential Business Advice Tips To Prevent Your Business From Failing” – available as a free download at www.paulgreen.biz/downloads.htm