5 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW WERE HURTING YOUR BUSINESS
Some things aren't obvious...until they are...
Running a business is difficult. There's always daily business management issues to address and problems to solve. Sometimes these day-to-day responsibilities steal time away from strategic planning. In most cases, the daily emergency gets attention first and the business strategy issues get left for another day. It's not until the unwanted effects are realized that we understand the importance of the strategic imperatives. Below are 5 such strategic imperatives that can make or break your long-term growth.
1. Lacking an exit strategy for your business
No matter if you’re just starting the journey as an entrepreneur or just got hired as the Director of Strategy for a corporation, understanding your end game is important to sound strategic planning. Understanding the ‘destination’ brings better clarity to the path needed. A clear exit strategy provides a litmus test for proposed actions. Those proposal that don’t align with the plan are put aside for better options. The exit strategy captures the goal that all actions should support.
2. Lack of a Product Road Map
A company needs to continually evolve to stay relevant in the market. This is a strategic imperative that can’t be ignored. Without a guiding roadmap, the “fire of the day” or the “loudest complaint” will get the attention and most support. While this alleviates the short-term need, it often doesn’t best serve your business. A product/service roadmap is necessary to keep the focus on long-term growth.
3. Lacking Product Success Planning
A great product doesn’t always mean a successful product. Market success requires thoughtful planning and effective execution to provide the expected return on investment. Make sure your product/service plans include a strategy for the lifecycle of the offering and not just the first month after launch.
4. Suboptimal business processes and operations
Inefficient processes are a silent killer with both direct and indirect revenue effects. I know a company that has lost over $1M in revenue because of lacking back office tools that would have cost $100K to fix. I know another company where the strategic account sales managers spend countless hours fulfilling $1,000 reoccurring orders rather than hunting million-dollar accounts. Investing in the right areas of your business WILL pay off.
5. Shorting project management resources
A project needs a project manager in the same way that an orchestra needs a conductor. A symphony could assign the conductor responsibilities to the first-seat violinist, but then the symphony is short a violinist. The same can be said for a project. Don’t assign the PM responsibilities to the lead engineer unless you’re willing to accept responsibility for the negative results. Strong and purposeful project management ensures schedule, budget, and product goals are met. After the first project, you’ll wonder how you survived without a good PM process.
Obviously this list isn't all-inclusive, but it provides the top 5 areas where I've seen lacking strategy have deep, impactful effects.
As Steve Jobs once said, "Manage the top line: your strategy, your people, and your products, and the bottom line will follow." I couldn't agree more.