With the New Year upon us, many people will use the change of calendar as an opportune time for self-reflection, to reset healthy habits and set ambitious but achievable goals.
Businesses should use this time similarly, with the start of a new year providing an excellent platform from which to accelerate growth and reset strategic direction.
Strategic plans are fantastic tools to help set and maintain your business’ direction. Unfortunately, these concepts have been overused by many consultants looking to make a quick sale. As a result, ‘strategic planning’ has become synonymous with an expensive document that fails to equate to outcomes. The epitome of irony.
However, one way to effect real change in your business is through the development and execution of a good business strategy. Rather than outlining the key steps in strategic planning, below we’ve touched on some non-negotiables relating to how you approach your planning.
Clearly communicate your vision
Every business owner has a vision – the problem is that often this vision doesn’t make the journey from their head to paper. Even more of a concern is that it’s often not communicated with staff and stakeholders.
If you want buy-in from your stakeholders, you should communicate your business strategy simply, so that’s it’s easily understood. Likewise, you should do so with your employees, referring to it often to ensure everyone lives and breathes the plan and understands their role in its success. This is key to driving growth and creating momentum.
Change is a process not an event
If over the Christmas break you find yourself reflecting on how your business could be improved, don’t expect a quick fix. Change is a process, not a one-off event.
You need to invest time and commitment to achieving your strategic goals.
Regular strategy meetings are a must! These should be held with your key leaders and employees from different areas of business. We suggest holding fortnightly meetings initially, to establish the importance of the strategic plan, share ideas and build momentum. The frequency of these meetings can be reduced to monthly once you feel your team understand the strategy in and out and you’ve achieved buy-in.
Continual focus on differentiation
Sustainable, competitive advantage is dead. As the pace of change continues to increase, any competitive advantage you might hold is rendered temporary. To stay ahead, you should constantly review your business, the market in which it operates and its main competitors.
You should also be exploring opportunities for your next competitive advantage. This starts with having a solid understand of your current advantage and where you stand in your competitors’ matrix. Successful business owners understand that a competitor’s matrix is fluid and always have an eye on where they are moving in relation to their competitors.
High performing team
Every great business has a high-performing team, even if that business is operated solely by the owner – there will be no doubt that the owner is exceptional.
High-performing teams don’t happen by accident, but through careful consideration and 360-degree feedback from staff.
Attracting and retaining talent has never been harder due to increased competition and a shift in what workers want. Understanding how to motivate and incentivise workers is critical, as is providing the learning and development that not only support your business goals but their career progression also.
Boss v leader
Are you a boss or a leader?
A boss relies on his or her authority, says ‘I’, places blame for breakdowns and likes to command.
A leader relies on goodwill, says ‘we’, focuses on fixing the breakdowns and asks questions.
It’s important to understand your own leadership style and that of your management group. A poor manager or boss will undo all of your good work. Determine what style of manager will be most effective for your business and hire and develop accordingly.
Like all of your new years’ resolutions, you are far more likely to succeed if you have people around you that hold you accountable. Ensure that you surround yourself with a management team and advisors that will take the time to understand your plan, work with you to achieve it and most importantly, hold you accountable to drive it forward.
If you are serious about driving growth and thriving in the new year, consider your business strategy and approach it with the above points in mind.
The true value of strategic planning occurs when the plan is completely integrated into your business. Don’t pay for an expensive report which sits on the shelf.
The team at William Buck wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Please contact your local William Buck Business Advisor for assistance with your 2022 strategic planning.