Validate your vision and strategy
Do you have a vision for your business? If so, will your strategy ensure that you achieve it? Businesses need a clear vision and strategy in order to focus their resources and get buy in from important stakeholders, be they staff, suppliers or lenders. A business with a clear vision and a strategy designed to achieve it will be far more likely to achieve success.
Vision gives way to strategy
Once you have the vision, you should start by describing in a couple of sentences what you want the business to look like in three years’ time. This can be developed from an analysis of your market, your competition and the opportunities and threats you are facing. Don’t be tempted to over egg the pudding at this stage – be realistic and consider your available resources.
You will need to think about what your success really hinges on. What are the four or five factors that are critical to the success of your three-year aim. Describe each in a couple of sentences, specifying targets and measures that you will use to show that you are on-course over the next three years.
Strategy gives way to tactics
Against each critical success factor, identify the tactics you will use to ensure successful delivery of your strategy over the three years, starting with year one. Clarify responsibility for delivery and consider what could go wrong and how you can reduce or manage these risks.
Involve the team
If you have a team, get them actively involved in strategy development as they are bound to provide additional ideas and insights. By working through the process together you will develop a detailed understanding of the business objectives and how they will be achieved.
If you don’t have a team, talk to people in your network or join a networking group. Find someone you trust who can help you develop your thinking. Don’t be shy – there are plenty of online and face to face opportunities available.
When you have reached your conclusions, try to capture the key points on a single page. Distilling your thinking will force you and your team to recognise what is really important.
Implementation is everything
Your strategy will be pointless if it’s not implemented effectively. Make sure that actions and responsibilities are clearly established at the outset and pursue these relentlessly. Allocate time at management meetings to consider the big picture and to check that you’re not going off course. If you are, take action. Circumstances change and strategy is emergent, so don’t be afraid to change your plans and priorities.