Why We Should Start Looking at Strategy as an Investment, Not an Expense
Let’s be honest: business is tough. There’s a lot to do – and it never stops. Business owners and managers often find themselves armpit-deep in work, but there’s also never enough time in the day to get it all done. A classic Kiwi way of doing business is to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. But this keeps business owners working in the business instead of on it.
Here’s why we need to ‘slow down to speed up’ and focus on the bigger picture.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
A business will go nowhere without a plan
I won’t beat around the bush here: without a plan, your business won’t go anywhere. That’s where an effective strategy comes in. Simply put, a strategy is a plan of attack designed to achieve a long-term or overall goal.
Knowing where you want to go and how you’re going to get there has a double effect:
1) it focuses you on what you should be doing, and 2) stops you doing work that you shouldn’t be doing – the stuff that sounds like a good idea but either doesn’t add value to your business or should be done by someone else.
A strategy that’s visible to everyone across the business also provides full transparency about what’s going on behind the scenes and gives everyone the ability to see how they fit into the bigger picture.
The benefits of long-term planning
Long-term planning is like going for a walk. Those who don’t plan are the ones who walk with their head down, looking at their feet.
They’re only interested in the next couple of steps, not the next kilometre.
They’re the ones who are more likely to accidentally walk into a pole.
Those who do plan ahead walk with their heads up.
They take in the beautiful scenery around them: who’s doing what, what’s going on around them and what potholes (and poles) might be coming up.
Harvard Business Review ran a three-year study on nearly 400 businesses. Those that chose to focus on key strategic activity improved their top and bottom lines, averaging 40% higher sales and 52% higher operating profits. These increases came back to their strategies: businesses that know where they’re going and how they’re going to get there are more focussed and successful than those that aren’t.
Companies with strategic focus ensure that every staff member and every department works towards the same goals. When staff members can see how their particular responsibility feeds into the wider vision of the company, they become more engaged.
A transparent, visible strategy coupled with engaged staff encourages the birth of new ideas and discussions. As people have the time to breathe, think and reflect, they also have the time to come up with new and innovative ideas – and people who feel like their ideas are encouraged and respected are more likely to work harder too.
Typical strategic plans look ahead to the next 3-5 years;
Toyota’s strategy goes on for 250 years!
Strategy, metrics & outsourcing
To achieve in the future, you need to know how you’re performing now. To see how you’re performing, you need to know what you’re measuring and why you’re measuring it. Stop focusing on ‘vanity metrics’ (the ones that sound good but are actually pointless). Focus your strategy only on metrics that show value within your business.
Once you’ve figured out what you need to measure, you need to work out how to measure it. Do you have the right systems or software in place? Do you even know where to start? This is where outsourcing comes in. Take advantage of 15 years of marketing experience and a whole lot of trial and error to find out what works and what doesn’t, and take your business to a whole new level.
Written by: Cory Gordon
Cory is your key contact for developing a strategy that could hit your target demographic.
With 20 years of marketing experience in businesses of all sizes, industries and segments (we’re talking SME, large global organisations, B2C, B2B, retail, education, automotive, and fashion), he has the ability to add real value across all levels of an organisation.
More than just a senior marketer, Cory is your general nice guy, he is a father and a husband, and a lover of all things Star Wars.
Ready to take your business to the next level?
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