Bill was doing his best to explain his strategy to grow his business. It wasn’t working.
He was throwing around words that should have sounded important, but when they were strung together into a series of sentences it wasn’t making sense. When he stopped speaking he looked at me with hopeful eyes.
“So…what do you think?”
There was a moment of quiet and then I explained, “You have a good product. You have great people. You have strong process. The thing missing is a good strategy. Without it you will not grow this business.”
His face revealed that he knew I was right.
This story is not unique to Bill. Having a clear and concise statement that articulates how to grow a business is a difficult discipline. Many business leaders struggle to clearly articulate their growth strategies. This seeps down through the organization. What’s worse, at each level of the organization the effects of this lack of clarity compounds. By the time the message gets to the front lines no one is able to explain why they do what they do. As a result the businesses becomes stagnant. Growth becomes illusive.
The Strategy Formula
This problem can be fixed using a simple formula. Follow the formula and your business will be back on track to growth.
Strategy = action + owner + metric + unit + deadline
The action element of the strategy answers the question, What are we going to do? These statements will include words like expand, increase, improve, reach, and grow.
Owner answer the question of who will be taking the action. This can be a department or a group within the organization. Unless you are a one-person business rarely will the owner be “everybody.”
Measurement gives your team a target. The measurement needs to correlate with your action word or phrasing.
Tied closely to measurement is unit. It describes where you are going to see the results. The unit puts additional parameters on the scope of the strategy.
The deadline is the final parameter placed on the scope of a strategy. A deadline is usually tied to an annualized time frame, like a quarter or year end.
If you are struggling to clearly articulate a strategy, use the formula. It will help identify exactly what you need to do to get your business growing again.
NOTE: If you would like to learn more about the strategy formula you can find details in the white 5 Elements of a Useful Strategy. You can see examples of effective strategies crafted using the formula.
Armour Martin Consulting LLC consults with small to mid-sized companies to develop strategies to win in the marketplace. We provide expertly crafted business solutions to solve any business need.