Marja Fox shares key tips on building strategy.
In a previous post, I laid out the signs that your small- or medium-sized business might be ready for a new strategy. Those signs include evidence that your current strategy may not function well to define your choices and align your organization but also outward triggers that suggest the time is ripe for investing in long-term thinking.
After all, the tangible benefits of a great strategy are real: from aligning your team to clarifying priorities, guiding investments to addressing threats, identifying your next wave of growth to articulating your enduring value creation potential. But developing a great strategy isn’t easy. It takes time – from your most senior leaders, but also those who will need to prepare the fact base upon which strategic decisions will be founded – precious time that would otherwise be spent with customers, closing deals, driving immediate business outcomes.
Strategic planning is no small investment for any company, and it can be especially demanding for SMEs when responsibilities are spread across a smaller number of people. What’s more: because of their smaller scale, the direct P&L impact of a great strategy is almost certain to be smaller in magnitude (though just as large – and I’d argue even larger – on a relative basis) for SMEs. It’s no surprise that the instinct for many small- and medium-sized business leaders is to skip (or more precisely, delay…interminably) thinking about tomorrow to focus on today.
There must be a better way, one that maximizes the ROI equation for strategy formulation so that SMEs can enjoy the benefits of great strategy at an investment that is right-sized for the upside. Unfortunately though, there are no corners to cut. SMEs need to answer all the same strategic questions as their larger counterparts and the answers should be based on an equally robust fact base and decision-making process. Simple math tells us we have two options: reduce the I(nvestment) or raise the R(eturn) of our strategic planning efforts. What follows are a set of tips for doing just that. (Note: most of these tips are equally applicable to large businesses too! It’s just that smaller businesses are most motivated to deploy them.)
Key points include:
- Building alignment
- Relationships with strategic partners
- Team management
Read the full article, Tips for an Efficient and Effective Strategy, on LinkedIn.