Every journey needs a map. A well-drawn map sets you on the right path and helps you get to your destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. And it is just as relevant to business as it is to the great outdoors. Whatever goals and objectives your business may be working to – growth, new product development, digital transformation – you will need a roadmap to make sure you don’t get lost on the way. This roadmap is your killer business strategy.
A good business strategy will help you make all the right decisions to meet your short- and long-term goals, and so many businesses fall down by not taking sufficient care to implement a thought-out, cohesive strategy.
The first step to achieving your goals is to recognise that your business needs a strategy to succeed. The next step – actually creating one – is a little more challenging. Whether you are an entrepreneur looking to start your small business or a large corporation looking to break organisational barriers with Hoshin Kanri, the following five tips present a quick and easy guide to successfully creating an unbeatable business strategy.
To continue with the map analogy, before you can figure out how to get to your destination, you must first know exactly where you are at this present moment. Review your past performance and your current position to evaluate your success and failures. What has worked well for your business, and what mistakes have you made? What are your strengths and weaknesses as a company? What opportunities and external threats may lie ahead? Involve several key members of your team in this step to ensure you are collating as much relevant information as possible.
Define your vision
Your next step is to come up with a vision statement for your company. A vision statement is a glimpse of the future, which outlines where you want to be in X years time, what success looks like, and what type of company you envision yourself being. Be as explicit as you can, as this vision will serve as the goal for all subsequent strategic planning. A vision statement is typically accompanied by a mission statement, which effectively puts the meat on the bones, outlining precisely what you need to do to reach your vision.
Identify your strategic objectives
Now your task is to identify strategic objectives for all areas of the business. These objectives will highlight and prioritise the actions that will help you achieve the destination outlined in your vision and mission statements. Your goals should be SMART i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-sensitive. Think about the budget and resources required to implement them.
Now you will need to expand upon your objectives by translating them into more detailed short term plans. These tactics will involve the specific actions required to be undertaken by all departments of your organisation. This is where the execution of the strategy really begins.
Monitor your performance
Once your strategy is underway, and the tactics are being carried out, you will need to monitor the success of your plan continually and assess whether you are on track to meet your objectives. Managing the performance of a complete business strategy is a complicated task. Still, with a clear strategic vision, you will be able to identify success and failures and tweak as necessary.