“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old”
― Peter F. Drucker
A strategy is a plan of action to achieve a major aim and future result. It requires commitment because making change is difficult. To describe what’s involved, Peter Drucker said:
“Strategic planning is the continuous process of making present entrepreneurial (risk-taking) decisions systematically and with the greatest knowledge of their futurity; organizing systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions; and measuring the results of these decisions against the expectations through organized, systematic feedback.”
So it’s not hard to see how businesses get off course, often unaware, and the commitment of a continuous process becomes a collection of words periodically reinforced.
To know if this is happening to your business, here at 11 signs when you don’t have a strategy
- STRATEGY IS A COLLECTION OF TACTICS: Often, we use the terms strategy and tactics interchangeably. They are interdependent but different. You need both. Sun Tzu, the Chinese general, philosopher and author of the Art of War said: The difference between strategy and tactics: strategy is done above the shoulder, tactics are done below the shoulders.
- STRATEGY IS MERELY AN OBJECTIVE: Increase awareness. Acquire new customers. Grow average order size. Inspire advocacy. These are not strategies. While they may explain the what of a strategy, they don’t explain the how, when, where and why where the heavy lifting is required.
- NO CONSISTENT EXPRESSION OF SUCCESS: A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a major future result. If your company isn’t clear what success looks like, you’re lacking the key ingredient of the strategy.
- NO CONSISTENT MESSAGE: Your brochure, website and sales collateral have inconsistencies. The content is even unclear to people in the company. When people within a company can’t understand it, neither can anyone else.
- IDEAL CUSTOMER ISN’T DEFINED: A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. It’s not uncommon to mention them in a strategy. Every business should know who they are.
- EVERYTHING IS A PRIORITY: When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. A strategy focuses on a singular major future achievement.
- IGNORING COMPETITION: A strategy reinforces a competitive advantage. But the competition is not static and is not only direct competitors but innovations that could make your product or service obsolete. A good strategy takes the competition into account and maintains flexibility.
- NO POLICY FOR OPPORTUNITIES: A reason to have a strategy is to guide new opportunities. When a business is not using its strategy for this purpose, your not taking advantage of one of its major benefits.
- DON’T DO MARKET RESEARCH OR SOLICIT CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: A strategy has to be grounded in reality and the achievable. A sound strategy has been researched with quantitative data about the market and qualitative data from customers and prospects.
- NO KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs): KPIs are the metrics that matter most to the achievement of the business objective. They are generally in the range of 6 to 8 metrics carefully chosen to keep a strategy on track. They are the actionable scorecard to help guide the desired result of a strategy.
- NO RAVING FANS: No business can survive without enthusiasts. If a strategy isn’t created around them, then your strategy isn’t going to work.
Do these signs help you determine if your business has a strategy? Do you need help creating and putting a strategy in place at your company?