Is Your Strategy the Good, the Bad, or the Ugly?
Strategic planning is crucial for businesses’ success, there’s no two ways about it. Most companies acknowledge this fact and attempt to draw their strategic roadmap early on. Unfortunately, sometimes the results clearly show their complete lack of understanding WHY the strategy is that important and which problems should one solve. As a result – it gets buried and forgotten under the weight of momentary challenges and short-term tasks. But why does this happen?
Well, let us tell you about the differences between good and bad strategies. We will provide you enough information to assess any strategic plan and understand if it is a “win” or a “learn”. But you have to understand there are numerous types of strategies, even within a business segment: production, brand development, marketing, etc. Thus, in this piece we will only cover the characteristics that are general to any strategic plan.
Those who dig…
Let’s say you are the owner of a young, quickly developing delivery company. Due to its growth, this is the first time you have to create a strategic roadmap, so you are anxiously trying to come up with ideas. So, “increasing revenue” would be a nice start, right? Then, “boosting company growth rate” is obviously what you want. “Developing customer loyalty” and “decreasing customer retention” are also extremely important, write them down too. There, you got yourself a nice list of goals, that counts as a strategy, doesn’t it?
Well, imagine you want to cook Tex Mex skillet Casserole and you need ingredients. You open up a recipe and see this:
- some veggies
- a lot of meat
- stuff for cooking
Not that it’s wrong, but would you be able to cook anything specific with such a list? Our guess is, no. Then why would you allow your business “recipe” to be broad, unclear, and vague?
That’s why so many thoroughly written strategies get put off. They don’t represent any actual valuable information, there is no reason to come back to them. Such strategies are merely dubious ideas rather than clear guidelines towards concrete goals.
…And those with a proper strategy
So what should your strategy look like? The list of requirements is actually quite simple and even somewhat intuitive. Completing every part of it is where the real challenge hides though.
- First and foremost, your plan and goals should be as precise and quantitative as possible. No more “increasing KPI” – decide on the exact metrics and numbers that you intend to achieve. Doing so will make it more clear what steps can be made in the correct direction and will help you evaluate your progress retrospectively.
- “Strategy is sacrifice”. This means you should leave as many items as possible out of your plan. Concentrate on the most of the most – crucial metrics, critical goals. It’s easy to succumb to the temptation of writing down 25+ key metrics and dozens of important targets that must be achieved. However, the more ambitious you make your roadmap, the harder it will be to overcome the choice paralysis. Everybody in your team will quickly become distracted trying to decide on which of the tasks to concentrate.
- Finally, you need to define your business’ mission. It must be something practical and it should represent your USP.
Diligently completing these steps will bear you the fruits. Then again, this doesn’t mean your strategy should be multistage and whatnot. Keep it simple and comprehensible. Here is an example of a well-drawn development strategy of the said delivery business, for contrast.
- Keep delivery prices below $15 all over the world.
- Building a web of departments to ensure the delivery price stays under $15, regardless the distance.
- Increasing the client turnover at the rate of 100 shipments/month.
Goals are specific and quantitative, mission represents the USP, and everything is short and clean. Employees know for sure what has to be achieved, bosses understand how to evaluate the progress, and everyone’s happy.
Obviously, this example is way too short and simple for a real-life business. You will at least have to expand the strategy to add certain sub-goals, milestones, task dependencies, etc. But the core, the spine of it should keep to the three aforementioned principles.
And to make such a development and adjustment easier and more visual, you should definitely try out the Roadmap Planner app. It’s an indispensable tool for building handy, visually effective strategic roadmaps to enhance your business performance.
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