Whether you are building a business from scratch, implementing a marketing campaign in a major corporation, or devising a pivot, no project is possible without a plan and a strategy put in place before execution.
Building a thorough and comprehensive strategy will bring you to this crucial end result. It will carry you towards meeting your goals and accomplishing your project.
In order to formulate a strategy, start with the facts.
To know where you are going, know where you are — and where you want to be.
Setting clear, defined objectives is the first step in building a strategy. What do you need to accomplish? Understand your end in order to determine the steps that will help you reach that final goal.
Be clear about what has worked in the past. How have you best reached your prior objectives? How can you use these successes going forward?
Course correct the objectives that were too lofty or challenging to obtain. Similarly, push yourself further if previous objectives were met with little exertion. Aim for objectives that are attainable and reachable, but also challenging and forward thinking.
There are two main tools you can implement to help you set appropriate objectives and SMART goals.
A SWOT analysis looks at your own business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It reveals your position in the market by determining where you excel and where you need to further grow.
Determining where you need further development uncovers the types of objectives you will need. Understanding where you already excel tells you how you can accomplish these objectives.
PESTLE looks at the external influencers on your business. It includes Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental spheres. These PESTLE factors are intertwined with every business, so you will want to do thorough research to see how new trends, movements, or changes in these spheres will influence your company’s future objectives.
Read more about understanding objectives here: Setting Objectives In Your BusinessLife.
When looking at internal and external influencers, determine what opportunities and threats exist in each area. How will these affect your objectives and the steps towards reaching your goals?
Use your company’s mission and vision as guide maps.
The vision is the basis for where a company is headed long-term. It is a description of the organization’s strategic purpose and values.
By understanding the vision, you can then highlight the company’s key present and future priorities. This creates a mechanism that ensures the company’s set objectives properly advance the organization in the direction that the vision and values dictate.
A vision outlines a direction, and this direction helps to clearly define objectives and goals.
While the vision focuses on the future, the mission defines the organization’s purpose today and in the future. It answers the question: what do we have to do now to get to where we are going? This takes those future objectives and breaks them down into digestible steps towards accomplishment.
Where do we want to be in one year, five years, ten years?
How are we going to hit those milestones?
Who will it impact?
What is the value it will bring to the company?
The mission helps set strategic objectives by looking to how the company operates.
Objectives that are aligned with your vision and mission put your business on the proper track to success.
To create objectives that are aligned with your company, formative for its future, and push your organization forward in leaps and strides, focus on strategy and action.
Strategy is the plan, and action is the means to fulfillment. These militaristic terms help create specific objectives that are both strategically aligned with the business and are accomplishable through thorough processes and steps.
The strategy comes from your vision and mission. What does your company need to accomplish in order to be aligned with its values?
The action items help resolve the strategy. Each action should be a method to fulfilling strategic objectives. They are detailed, short-term plans that require individuals, capabilities, and resources.
Utilize your team, your partners, and your stakeholders to accomplish your plans. Look at your staff and their levels of competence. What can they do to move to the next actionable item? What do they need to learn or receive training for to reach the next step of the strategic plan?
Utilize the tools you have available to you. Include the allocation of resources when forming objectives and plans. What resources can you and your team use to attain key action items? What are the budget requirements that could hinder or assist this plan? What internal and external capabilities will influence how your company is able to achieve each outcome?
Every time you complete an action item, you are in a new place. You are bringing your company along a path of growth and expansion.
Even something like coming up with a new slogan for a marketing campaign brings your company to a new place. How does that slogan align with your company’s mission and vision? How will that slogan alter your company’s values and position within the current market?
However, completing an action item does not mean success. You must measure your results. What were the accomplishments of doing that action? Where does it bring your company? How will it influence your overall strategic objectives?
Each action is a footprint on the walk towards your strategy.
Consider your business’ vision and mission. What is the purpose of your company?
Consider where you want your business to be positioned in the next year, five years, or ten years. What growth does your company need in the long-term?
Consider which objectives will help your business move in that direction. What goals should you accomplish to drive your company forward?
Consider the strategy that will help reach these objectives. What individuals and resources do you have available to you to meet your goals?
Consider the individual actions that will help you implement this strategy.
It can be a lengthy process, but this macro-to-micro formulation of objectives will inevitably help you grow your business from where you are today to where you want to be in the future.