Strategy your way - 3 steps to start aligning business with your priorities
Building a business, we often feel pulled in countless directions.
There’s that inspiring vision or impetus that got you started, but you may soon swoon with new shiny ideas, or feel the weight of problems to be resolved yesterday…
Starting out as a solopreneur, you seek to navigate #allthethings #allthetime, from finances to customer service, sales and systems, marketing and IT mishaps, business and personal growth, creative and strategic processes. It is unlikely you are brilliant at every single aspect of your business, or that you love each moment. It’s a rollercoaster of expectations, cash flows and black holes, failures and wins, and all the creative and soul-baring newness...
Here’s to you charge of your own decisions, failing fast and forward, and getting the support you need to make things easier and to achieve success as you define it!
Strategy is invaluable at any stage of business. With a great strategy, you are attuned to your vision and values, your priorities and those of your customers and community, and you know how you are going to achieve the outcomes and impact you envision. Your strategy and planning are dynamic, adjusted as you track what’s working (and not so much) and assess what is going on around you.
Don’t be alarmed, you haven't devoted months to writing up a detailed strategy and plans to print and gather dust on the shelf, or if you don't <3 spreadsheets and jargon.
Been there, and I will show off my crummy STRATEGY T-shirt soon! And I know all too well the feeling of being lost or overwhelmed in making business decisions, as well as the wing + prayer approach. So I have designed a strategic roadmap process to help bridge traditional business strategy and creative entrepreneurial growth.
I encourage you to begin mapping out your strategy so that you can review it all at a glance. There are popular business one-pagers which can be very useful (like the Lean Business Canvas and the One Page Strategic Plan). However for creative and purpose-driven entrepreneurs, I recommend this mapping approach to develop your strategy and orient yourself towards success on your own terms.
Here are three of the initial questions I ask to formulate or refresh a strategic roadmap:
Where is your ideal destination?
Define where you want this business to be in 2021 - or choose yourself a sexy 5 or 10 year timeframe, or whatever is meaningful for you and the impact you are setting out to make! You can slice and dice big-picture goals to suit you, but here are a few prompts to help you plot your ideal destination and what it means for:
- Your ideal customers, audiences and communities you work with. How will you ideally connect, serve and benefit them?
The amazing things you make and do. Maybe you dream of writing your bestselling book, proving your prototype and bringing this fantabulous innovation to the market, serving communities across the nation or the world, doing TED talks to inspire squillions, having your creations presented and purchased internationally? I’d love to hear some of your audacious goals!
Money. You can start with some basic financial goals for the business, your income, what you will do with profits and to make a difference, and your position in the market.
Connection and value creation. I often suggest such a purposeful approach to building your audiences and inspiring, serving and selling to them - or you may wish to call this spade marketing :)
You. Yes you are creating something much bigger than yourself, and are passionate and dedicated to your cause. But don’t forget you are at the helm and the heart of this business, to be a good boss! To make the impact you envision, in the long run, you need to create the business that aligns with your needs and desires in life. Some considerations may be, do you strive to be recognised as a leader, what personal and professional growth do you seek, are you enabling new opportunities or an exit strategy down the track, and do you have enough time for you and those you love?
2. What does success mean to you?
As you map out your ideal destination, it’s important to recognise success along the way.
Brainstorm indicators of success across your business, and imagine what they look and feel like so you can really embody the goals you are setting. How will this success be measured? Why is such success significant and what is at stake if you don't succeed?
You don’t have to have it all figured out now, but it’s powerful to have 1-3 measures for each big-picture goal. You may start to notice that there are long term and short term goals jostling for your attention and to get gone already - keep calm and jot them all down - as you refine the strategy these ideas will be prioritised, planned out, and you may like to put some of the red-herrings aside to reconsider or play with later.
3. What is at stake?
Get clear on where you are at now, and what may be risked and gained with your success. Your vision is so important to realise!
It can be beneficial to refresh your perspective with SWOT analysis, and to reflect on what’s going on for you right now. What is timely and powerful to now enhance, accept, release and to create anew? Where do you face external challenges or notice resistance within yourself? Are you striving to be perfect and so never getting started? Are there aspects of sales, systems or being seen that you avoid? Such observation, with compassionate awareness and a willingness to take the next step, can unlock solutions and encourage you to reach out for the support you may need right now!
I’d love to hear about your interests, vision and challenges when it comes to strategy, sharing your inspiring story and making your impact with business. Your input will help me best renew my services and content to support you :)
To share your insights, please simply line up up a 20 min chat, and you will also get a free 30min Scope Your Strategy session in appreciation for your input and time. With this complimentary session, we explore your vision and the building blocks of your strategy, so that you gain clarity for your next steps.