Strategy is a GPS for your business – you pick the route and the map shows you how to get there and recalibrates when you take a detour.
Most of us start each new year with a pile of good intentions, a list of ambitious goals and our fingers crossed.
But then reality kicks in. Within a few weeks, our goals are radically revised, if not forgotten altogether and the fingers are too busy to stay crossed. The good intentions are still there but you’ve been side-tracked.
Grabbing too hastily for what seems like the next trend or growth opportunity without a solid framework is risky business.
Having a clear strategy is a GPS for your business, it’s your co-driver on a frenetic highway.
So how do you get back on track?
Hack 1: Check in every quarter
Carve out some time every three months to check-in on your strategy.
Each quarter I review my priorities in terms of what’s worked, not worked and what I will let go of. This helps me reconnect with why I’m in business and what problem I’m trying to solve. It also helps me see where I do my best work.
By determining which set of opportunities have a good chance of success, I usually narrow my focus to three – more than this becomes unmanageable.
Remember, the more specific and clear you are about what you will do, and how you will do it, will make things easier down the track. It will also make it easier to measure.
Hack 2: Focus on what you need to change
Instead of being busy doing tasks that are not all that critical, get clear about what impact you want to have. This will help you to let go of what’s not working and pivot your business in a new direction.
For example, look at the number of courses you’ve sold versus whether your course sold out. This feedback will highlight where you may need to change.
Fine tuning happens when you’ve evaluated your service offering or product. However, a plan is useless if what you’re offering doesn’t resonate with your customers.
Knowledge and enthusiasm are no longer enough to sell your products or services, but talking to your customers is. Sometimes this raises more questions than answers or shows you how much work you still have to do. Sometimes it even puts the spotlight on goals that aren’t realistic. And sometimes it reminds us that ‘you have to peel back the layers to truly understand the psychology of your target customer’ and dig deeper.
Hack 3: Take action
A lawyer once told me there’s no IP in an idea, it’s what you do with it that counts. Same goes for strategy.
Once you’ve mustered your pile of good intentions, asked your customers what they thought about your services, or better still got a testimonial, you need to follow through on your plan.
Inaction may be a safer course to take, however it means you stay stuck in the same place and don’t reach your destination. It also means your savings for that overseas holiday slow to a trickle.
So, get moving. Send out your newsletter, promote your course and blog your story on LinkedIn.
As small businesses we work our butts off every day and you want to see it reflected in your bank account. So do some revision, turn on your GPS and you won’t miss the turns.