What are the most important things to consider when mapping out your business strategy? Here are some essential tactics that will help move your business closer to success.
If you only observe what others are doing and follow the pack, you’re almost certainly selling yourself short, and you’ll end up competing on price alone. Think about the things your company does best and make them the focus of your product development and marketing efforts.
No business should try to be all things to all people. You will see much better results by being the best you can be to the audience you want to reach.
2. Always be improving
Whether you are installing kitchens or designing business cards, set aside at least an hour each day for activities that will add value to your business – such as training, writing a blog post, improving your website or following up with clients.
Whatever you choose to do, do it consistently. And don’t be afraid to fail, as it can be a great learning opportunity.
3. Have a clear vision
Working out your priorities should begin with a clear picture of where you want your business to go.
You might find you can engage with your core audience more effectively using social media than with a blog. If you trade locally, you could find more ways to get more involved in the local community. Aligning your activities with your core goals and values will keep you moving in the right direction.
4. Get buy-in from employees
An effective strategy has all employees on board with it. A good place to start is customer touchpoints. Each should also be a branding experience, so train your front-line employees to be great brand ambassadors.
This whole process must begin with training that clearly defines, and explains, your company’s strategy and branding, and the specific employee behaviours that align with them.
For your staff to ‘live and breathe’ your strategy as a part of company culture, you must get them directly involved. This could be through brainstorming sessions, and asking questions such as “Which products should we be focusing on this year?” and “How would I react if I were in the customer’s shoes?”
5. Put a plan together
A strategic business plan must contain certain key elements, including:
- Mission statement: What is your company’s overall vision? What are its supporting values and principles?
- Objectives: What are the actionable steps needed to achieve the mission?
- Target audience: Who are they, and what research supports this? This is hugely important, as targeting the right people will save you from wasting your marketing dollars.
- SWOT analysis: Meaning ‘strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats’, this is where you identify the specific factors that will support or obstruct progress towards your objectives.
- Metrics: How will you be measuring the success of your plan? What key performance indicators (KPIs) will you be using?
Your business strategy doesn’t always have to be radical – even little changes can be leveraged into great successes. In essence, it’s about letting the big picture guide the smaller decisions.
Matt Meakins learned more than he’d ever expected to about money and finance when he switched careers from software engineering to running his own online marketing business. It also made him get his own spending habits in order, which can only be a good thing.