Any kind of strategic planning requires time, space and an approach that most of us don’t utilize so much in our day-to-day
Marine Institute Ireland, Strategic_Planning_Symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
business. This is too bad, but not surprising. We’re focused on the day-to-day, tactical bits of the business and the strategy time is time not spent on keeping the whole thing moving forward.
Anyone who starts their own business spends time (how much is variable…) up front writing The Business Plan
. Even if you don’t go to a bank or a room full of investors to get funds to get rolling (or a class in your MBA that made you create it…), you still spent some time going through the steps to make sure you had all the pieces in place. It is a terrific tool to ensure you don’t miss anything. A big component of it is your marketing strategy….how do you raise awareness, increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage? How much or how little time should you agonize over this?
OK, look – realize that you’re not planning the D-Day invasion! Depending on your business or service, you may focus on very specific segments, channels and geographies, or go broader. What’s the mix of message, conversation, support and sales? Is this plan a stake in the ground, a foundation or Holy Writ?
My belief is you need to identify the “city on the hill”…that is, what is your ultimate goal? Your strategy can describe the journey and some of the potential directions you can take to get there. However, this needs to really flexible. Your ultimate goal doesn’t change, but message, conversation, platform and the rest need the freedom to evolve and grow based on your experiences, feedback from your customers, new opportunities and well-learned best practices uncovered along the way. It is important, but maybe not granularly comprehensive. Then it is less like a journey and more like a death march.
How big is your strategy, anyway?