How will your business define success in 2017? The simple answer is: by building and implementing a solid business strategy. Success depends on both your implementation and your overall strategy being in line with one another. You cannot have a successful implementation unless you have a business strategy to tell you where you are going. The flip side is true as well: you cannot have a successful business strategy unless you have an implementation strategy to tell how to get the job done.
With this being said, Lisa and I have put together six steps to determine how to devise and implement successful business strategy.
Most small business owners shy away from creating an annual business strategy because they think it is a waste of time. It seems to them to be an exercise that does not produce results and does not contribute to the bottom line. That could not be further from the truth. If your business strategy is not helping you reach your goals, you are doing it wrong. Successful businesses cannot function without an executable business strategy.
If you are someone who has never created a business strategy before, you are likely wondering “where do I start?” These three simple steps will get you on your way to creating a results-focused, implementable strategy.
Start with the End in Mind
The best way to craft a strategy is to focus on your desired result. At the end of this 12-month period, what do you hope to achieve? Put yourself in that moment, as if it is already happened. What would success look like? Then reverse engineer your timeline. If you want a specific result by the end of the year, what needs to have happened by the end of the third quarter? What needs to have happened by the end of the second quarter, and the first? This will allow you to see how you are going to achieve your goals.
Define Tangible Desired Results
Think about the financial metrics first, but do not just list out a revenue number. Consider how many clients you will need to serve, or how many specific services and products you’ll need to sell in order to achieve those financial results. Ask yourself, do you have the time and resources to do all of that? Think through all of the activities that need to take place to achieve those results. Make sure to tie these goals to the bigger vision of your business. Your end results should be a stepping stone to reaching your longer-term goals.
One of the biggest reasons why annual strategies / goal setting fail is because the goal in question was not realistic to start with. We get starry-eyed, we think we have an amazing, long 12-months ahead of us, and before we know it, it is June; and then December. Time goes by fast and we have a lot going on. Three goals should be your set-point for an annual strategy. It will be hard to achieve much more than that. It is a good idea to have someone review your goals—someone that is not afraid to push back if they think you are thinking too big or too small. You want your goals to be challenging, but you want them to be achievable.
There is a tendency by some business owners to immediately gather a team and to put their all into implementing their goals, hoping to achieve a specific result. This strategy will overextend all of your resources, leave you with no team synchronization, and establish no accountability. This is where project management can help establish an effective implementation strategy, which will help you to achieve your goals.
In order to have an effective implementation, businesses must have the right project strategy to advance their business strategy and to reach their desired results. Below are three steps to get your project started on the right track.
Appoint an Administrator
Appoint an administrator to communicate the company’s business strategy to the team and to manage the overall goals. It is amazing how many project managers and their teams have no clue on how their assigned project connects to the overall business strategy. More importantly, there is often no one to manage the goals to ensure they are successfully completed. Communication helps the team to understand how important successfully reaching the goal is to the business. Actively tracking progress, resolving issues, and allotting necessary resources helps to achieve the expected result.
Assess Your Goals
Even though your goals are identified while you create your business strategy, you should perform a comprehensive assessment to clearly understand and define your goals. By completing an assessment, you will determine if a goal should be further broken down into smaller goals. The assessment should also clearly define a solution to determine how your goals will be implemented.
Roadmap to Success
Planning is the most important part of implementing a goal, but businesses spend the least amount of time carrying out this activity effectively. If planning is not done properly, everything you did not plan for, which you should have planned for, will present itself during execution. This could extend all of your resources to their limits and derail the whole project. Planning maximizes your resources (time, costs, and people), betters coordination around the goal, and increases accountability among the team. Planning will help to orchestrate your success!
As important as it is to create an annual business strategy, of equal importance is the execution of that plan. If you create a business strategy, have no implementation strategy and file it away, only to check in on it at the end of the year, you are missing the point.
About the Authors
Cerila Gailliard holds a Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification from the Project Management Institute and a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems (University of Phoenix). Cerila Gailliard is the founder of Orchestrating Your Success LLC which provides Project Management services to help business achieve their business goals successfully.
Lisa Rehurek is a business development strategist, speaker and author who helps established businesses create business development success through effective proposals, people, and process. Learn more, please visit www.LisaRehurek.com