A powerful strategy for business success is to, first and foremost, have a strategy.
Businesses fall apart because of a lack of strategy.
Many businesses go about their day-to-day activities without knowing where they?re going. They just perform task after task hoping that they?ll end up some place good.
Sorry to say, hope is not a strategy.
?How are we going to get our next job or our next client??
If this question is a driving force in your business efforts then you?re not thinking strategically.
What is strategic thinking? What exactly is a strategy?
According to the dictionary a strategy is: a carefully devised plan of action to achieve a goal.
What?s so important about having a strategy?
A well designed strategy helps you achieve your goals through the effective use of your resources.
If you have unlimited resources you probably don?t have to worry about a business strategy. However, if your business is like most businesses… you probably need a strategy.
When a powerful business strategy is in place it provides the fuel that drives your life and drives your actions.
Tactics are the specific actions you take to carry out your plan. With no plan in place, your tactics are simply task-based activities.
To illustrate the difference I like to use this example:
Imagine that you have an army under your command.
Your resources include the army itself, its weapons, its means of transportation, its food supply and the amount of money you have in the treasury to keep your army in the field.
You can use your army in two separate ways. You can devise a strategy for success and then have your army implement that strategy?or you can simply deploy your army on a tactical basis.
A hypothetical example of a military strategy might be: I?m going to conquer a neighboring country within six months.
If you approach life from a strictly tactical basis the following might be the way you deploy your resources.
I have an army under my command.
I?m going to send my army out and look for a battle to fight.
Maybe we?ll win.
Whatever comes up, we?ll just have to deal with it.
That is an example of tactics with no strategy.
You may end up fighting and winning. You may even end up conquering a neighboring country, but that was not because of any clearly defined strategy.
Now here?s an example of a strategy along with a set of tactics designed to reach your goals. ?I?m going to conquer a neighboring country within six months and I will do it by parachuting in my army at night to take over the neighboring country?s infrastructure while everyone is asleep.?
Compare this to running your business.
You have the equivalent of an army under your command. If you are an entrepreneur, that army might be you alone. If you run a business that employs a few or even many, it is those people who make up your army.
Your resources might include your sales force, your marketing team, your administrative staff, your accounting department, your budget or even your day to day cash flow. Regardless of the specifics, you have a limited amount of resources.
If your company doesn?t have a clear plan that?s guiding you towards the most effective use of those limited resources, you?re setting yourself up for disaster at worst and mediocrity at best.
Here?s an example of advertising without a strategy.
You need to ?drum up some business?. You create an ad and decide to place it in a local paper. You hope it will get the phone to ring.
The phone rings a couple of times and then the ad becomes a thing of the past. Soon it?s time to come up with another tactic to drum up business.
Compare that to the implementation of a business strategy in which you clearly define your long term advertising goals. Each ad you place is now an integral part of your strategy for success.
Sure, there are examples of companies who have ?struck it rich? without a clearly defined business strategy, but are you willing to risk your valuable and limited resources on luck?
There?s no sin in being lucky. However, to base one?s business success solely on luck is, excuse the pun, chancy at best.
Do you have a strategic business plan? Is it written out? Do you follow it? If you?re like most businesses, the answer to all three of these questions is,? No?.
Your day to day activities should be dictated by your overall strategy, not the other way around.
To come up with a strategy you have to ask yourself a question like this, ?Where do I want my business to be in three years??
What?s important to you? What are your dreams? What will success look like for you? What would your business look like in three years if you knew you couldn?t fail? Are you excited about your vision? Is your vision big enough?
Your strategy doesn?t have to be complicated. You get to create it any way you want.
You get to make it up.
Remember this quote when you devise your business strategy.
Here?s the tip ? Assemble a team to help you devise your strategy. That team could be made up of business associates, or possibly you and your business coach.
I help a lot of my clients devise a strategy for success. I would love to help you.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” –Alan Kay – American computer scientist, researcher and visionary
To your success.
Copyright 2006 Ike Krieger