Does this sound familiar to you? You are caught in the moment, you feel like you know what you need to do to run your business now but you also know that things will need to change in order for you to be able to grow in the way you want to.
Maybe you feel as though the creative magic and 'all hands on deck' mentality that got you here is losing it's charm as you start to bring more team members in? Perhaps you have a sense that you are probably not being as efficient as you could be.
I'm guessing you feel a certain loyalty towards the way of working that has got you to this point? I'd even go as far as to suggest that you might fear you'll lose something of what you really are if you dare to change a winning formula.
What I told you it was actually fairly easy to feel confident that you know exactly what to do to take your business to the next level? That you could be absolutely clear on where you want to take the business and why. Simply put, what if you felt like you had A PLAN?
What if you felt like you had a plan?
There’s one thing that never fails to move people forward and create the kind of clarity and confidence they crave and it's called a strategic business review. Every time I do this with a client it moves them to from feeling confused to feeling confident. They know what they need to do, they’re clear on where to take the business and and they're clear on why. They know where the profit is going to come from and where they need to invest both time and money. They have confidence in the numbers and what they need to do to hit them.
People hire me in to help and there’s a lot of value in having someone to ask probing questions, keep you on track etc. but if you feel as thought you’d like to do it yourself read on to find out how.
I see a lot of these kind of things that are either too complicated or too high level. Too focussed on the overall plan. The trick is to focus on the right detail, not all of the detail. My version focusses on overall and then diving into the detail where it makes sense.
Focus on the right detail, not all of the detail.
The steps are as follows:
- Work out where you are now
- Get clear on where you want to get to
- Identify the gaps between where you are now and where you want to be
- Plan how you are going to get there
Where are you now?
This is the place I start with every single business I work with. You need to be clear on each of the points in the diagram. If you run a service based business you can use this too - just replace product with service. Here are some example questions for each area:
Overall - What are your numbers? What is your annual turnover, revenue and profit? What are your costs?
Product - Start in the middle with the product(s). Is it right? Is the range right? Is the quality right? Do you need to make changes?
Customer - Who are your customers? Are they happy? Are you speaking to them regularly? Is the product getting to the customer in the right way? What is the customer feedback?
Suppliers - Are you working well with your suppliers? Can you depend on them to help you grow? Does anything need to change.
People - Are your people right? Are they the right people to help you grow? Are they having the right conversations with your customers and suppliers? Are you the leader your business needs? What shadow are you casting?
Cash/Liquidity - Is your cash flow right? Are your customers paying you on time? Are you paying your suppliers on time? Is your balance between payables and receivables right.
Are you the leader your business needs? Ask yourself what shadow you're casting.
Where do you want to get to?
The next step in the process is to work out where you want to get to.
You can work backwards from a big year 3 number or forwards from the short term plans you have now, depending on where you have the most clarity. In summary though:
Year one should be a detailed plan of where you want to get to and what you need to do to get there.
Year two should be about getting clear on what numbers you want to hit and a longlist of activities that could get you there
Year three - five should have some big buckets of activity that you intend to do.
Identify the gaps
The next step is to identify the key gaps between where you are and where you want to get to. Go back through each of the key areas and think about how things will need to work in order to achieve what you've set out in your overall plan.
Your aim should be to answer each of the following questions:
Where do we want to get to?
How do we get there?
Who do we need?
Aim to be as specific as possible about each answer. This is going to form your overall plan.
The final step is to gather up all of the insights you've gained in each of the previous steps and begin to create a time bound plan of what you need to do and when.
Build an action plan that ladders up to the overall goals you want to achieve. Be very clear about each step and how it links back to the goals either short term or long term.
There will be many people involved in the plan, including customers, suppliers, you and your team. Think carefully about who plays what role in the plan (this might be a new way of thinking about customers!) and how you're going to make sure they play their part.
If you like the sound of all this but feel as though you'd like some additional support or a fresh set of eyes on your business why not book a call to talk about how I can help.
A guided business strategy review costs from £950 for a half day session.