Okay, maybe strategery is not a word, but it should be simply because Will Ferrell makes it so darn funny.
Here is my question to you: How much of your time do you spend developing strategy for your business? I love sports analogies, so I’ll share one on this particular subject. A coach is preparing for the championship game, and sits down with his/her fellow coaches to determine a game plan. They consider the other team’s playing style, strengths and weaknesses and how they match up to the other team’s strengths and weaknesses, etc. If one coach did this and the opposing coach didn’t, who would you expect to be more successful?
It is so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day of our business and neglect the planning and strategy part of what we do. However, this is one of the best ways to drive top and bottom line. Here are six things you can do (three questions to ask yourself and three strategic ideas) to ensure that you are taking full advantage of your opportunities:
1. Do you have a clear and deﬁned knowledge of your market? If you have not taken the time to fully understand your market potential, you are never going to be able to measure yourself against your competition.
2. What are you doing right, or what can you do differently, compared to your competition? It is easy to criticize the other guys, but it is a more thoughtful approach to look at the positive things they do. Take some time to map out the bad and good in everyone you are up against to see where the opportunities are for you. Don’t forget to look at people outside of your industry; there is great opportunity for learning there as well.
3. What products or services are you making the most money selling? What has the greatest potential? I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people trying to drive a category that really didn’t deliver great proﬁt. Yes, there are times where loss-leaders are needed, but be careful about how many things you allow into that bucket.
4. Brainstorm the bold move. One of my favorite things to do is to brainstorm about what could be, instead of what is. Do you have a set of ideas that you are testing? If not, make sure that your pipeline is full, and always be testing something new, or else you will end up following your competitors.
5. Deﬁne your core competency and understand what that allows you to do. Also, you must understand how this limits you. Just because you don’t have a core competency in one area doesn’t mean that you can’t acquire it. This is how businesses evolve, grow and improve.
6. Make sure you know how your customers, and the industry, perceive you. Then decide if that is in line with how you perceive yourself. Also, is that reality in line with what you need it to be in order to accomplish your goals?
I think I could write on this topic for days, as there are so many things you should be planning. Use this as a gut check for now and see where you land. If strategy planning is not a part of what you do every quarter, stop making those lame excuses and get your butt into a room with your top people and put a pen to paper. After all, coaches without strategy have very short seasons.
What am I missing here? What are you thinking?