How strategy can maximise growth for your business

Tim Sprowson

Why do you exist?

You need to be able to put your purpose in words, know the reason for the existence of your business. You should also know ‘the right reasons’ for your existence. To be able to know this, you need to ask the right questions and then ‘answer them correctly’. When you do this, it actually tells you your mission.

The main challenge:

  • Have you asked the question?
  • Have you been honest about it?

The good news: If you don’t like the answer – you can change it.

Your business will manifest its true ‘colours’ – the true reason for its existence - because the fruit will show itself. For example, if you have mumps, it will not present itself as ‘measles’ – people will catch the mumps from you! Remember, people buy into authenticity and this will ultimately determine the sustainability of your business.

You have to know where you want to be with your business in the future, but that is going to take a bit of time – to really plan strategically!

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 or 10 years?

Write it down. Remember whatever you write down, should be measurable - and use ‘verb’s (actions – what will you be doing, or your business be achieving)

Ask yourself the following things:

  • In the next 2, 5, 10 years you are...
  • What are you doing?

Sometimes we get stuck in ‘first wave thinking’ but here is an interesting thought, “When you stop thinking, your real thinking starts……” Don’t get stuck in first wave thinking, move on to second wave thinking and ask yourself, ‘what more…..?’

Force yourself to think comprehensively with regards to where you would like to see yourself in the next few years.

Which of your current capability in each area is of sought after excellence?

Try to think what are your business’s critical success factors – think of five or six factors. What do you really rely on to help you to remain in business? We tend to work towards our strengths, and if you are weak in a certain area, one of the critical success factors, it would be a good idea to get someone to help you with that. Rather focus and work on your strengths. (Find out your strengths by doing the Strengthsfinder test – developed by Marcus Buckingham)

You can do a free test here:

This Test will help you find your preferred way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. You’ll find your strengths and weaknesses as a first step towards a better you. 
These questions and results were crafted by data in the Gallup / Clifton Strengths Test themed books. 
This test doesn´t guarantee the results will match the Gallup test over at strengthsfinder.com, but It could be pretty close. Either way, the results are useful. Also, you get your FULL results (that’s how you ranked on all 34 Strengths). 

It’s like doing a SWOT analysis – rating you in these areas. Look at yourself in the different areas for example, your finances, staff, capacity, etc. and ask ‘where am I right now and what is a preferred future that I would like to see for myself and my business?

Your key outcome in each area of sought after excellence:

We all know the story of the trainer and the lion in the cage? How does the trainer get the lion to do what he wants? Lions can only focus on the one thing he needs for survival – Lunch - the Kudu! So the trainer puts a three legged stool with him in the cage and so distracts the lion’s focus.

What’s the lesson here? TOO MANY OBJECTIVES BECOME SELF-DEFEATING.

I need to have a clear picture of a preferred future and know what the one critical success factor would be for my business. Which ONE will most effectively increase my ability to be successful in business?

You need to craft a strategy that:

  1. oDefines who you are
  2. oCreates your competitive edge
  3. oGives you a picture of your success
  4. oEvaluates where you are at
  5. oGives you a plan to create your success

Constantly challenge yourself by asking: ‘how do I keep my edge by doing things differently from the guy across the street?’

When crafting a strategy you have to work on these themes:

  • Vision – Projected picture of an expected outcome. This is a short, concise statement of the business’s future answers the question of what the company will look like in five or more years.

Ask questions about what you want to achieve, stand back and think to yourself, what is my picture of success? These questions help you to evaluate where you are at a certain time and then even make adjustments if needed. After having crafted your questions, you end up with a mission.

  • Mission – know your purpose – the why of your existence. Your mission is an expression of your purpose and aspiration, addressing both what you seek to accomplish and the manner in which your business seeks to accomplish it. It’s a declaration of why you exist as an organisation. Ask yourself why am I doing what I am doing? Who am I doing it for, etc.?
  • Strategic Themes These long-term strategic focus areas span a three-year (or more) time horizon. They answer the question of what you must focus on to achieve your vision. Strategies are the general, umbrella methods you intend to use to reach your vision.
  • Outcomes/Objectives – Activities: These are specific statements that explainhowyou will accomplish your goal. At this stage you start to move the strategy to become operations which are generally executed by those that are on your team and work with you. Your goals need to be SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable or Achievable, Realistic and Time bound)
  • Tasks, Projects, Processes: You have to operationalize your vision. Now you start to convert the strategic objectives into specific performance targets that fall within a one- to two-year time horizon. They tell you what, when, and who and are measurable.

The important thing is that you need to go and implement (DO) what’s been written out in your strategy. A lot of people just go and file it and then forget about it. It’s has great plans and strategies, but nothing comes of it!

 At this time you need good leadership within your organisation.

 Leadership – True leadership refers to ‘the art to influence and empower people to create results’. How do you empower your people? Let’s look at an example of a Leadership triangle

03-driehoekdiagram 

*KSA = Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes

 People are empowered when they are aligned to the vision. You want your people to achieve success as soon as possible. Let’s compare a round boat versus a canoe. Which should win in a race? The canoe. Good leadership is that you skill your people and then align the process by giving them authority to do a job. Allow them to make decisions within the parameters of their lives within the tasks you give them. E.g. tell them to send the fax and then you say wait, this is how you send the fax’ you are disempowering them. You’ve got to bring leadership into your business.

Decision-making:

Most strategic planning fails because of people not knowing how to make decisions. You need to make decisions on which persons you are going to give authority to do a job in order to align the values, vision and mission of your organisation. You also have to know who is going to make decisions at times. Keep the communication channels open.

Review

Three pictures and three lessons:

A chameleon: It will use the scenario that he finds himself in and adapt to it so it can hunt and execute its purpose.

An Eagle: has sight and vision – knows exactly where needs to be. Same applies to your business. Know where you want to be.

Lions: hunt in packs. Each lion knows exactly where it fits into the scenario of things, it knows what must be done. Know where you are in the team and work towards attaining your objectives.

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