It might be a while since you ran your last strategy or planning day for your business but I guarantee you never stop thinking about how it's running, what you need to focus on to improve and grow it, what you stand for and what you want it to become.
If I was to say in a couple of hours you can translate all your thoughts into a simple one page strategy that you can use to capture the essence of what your business is, where you want it to go and how you are going to get there, something that will provide you focus, direction and a road map for success, would you jump at it?
What Is It? - A strategy on a page is a road map to bridge the business you are now to the business you aspire to become, it helps you to prioritise and keep focused on what is important allowing you to make good, consistent choices as your business and the environment around changes. It moves you from “what do I do now?” to a position of clarity and action where you can start planning what resources you will need, what timeframe, do I leverage partners and what will it cost to make this a reality.
Set Your Vision & Mission - The first step is to outline the aspirational vision for the business. This is what you want the business to look like in 3 years’ time, maybe to be the best at what you do, the biggest or the most trusted or respected. Don’t worry if it feels a little “stretchy” or you aren't sure how you will achieve it, setting what seems like an unobtainable goal is how we get the best out of ourselves. Now lay out the nature of your business through your Mission, this will be a couple of sentences that details the purpose and what the business does in terms of its products & services, customer offerings and characteristics.
Set Your Business Goals - Now you have outlined what you want your business to look like and where you are now you need to set your core goals which will take you from here to there. If you haven’t already, work through each area of your business, setting clear and specific goals which can be measured and are time bounded. Once you have done this prioritise to the top two or three which will give you the greatest contribution to the vision. Typically these cover areas of growth, profitability, customers & markets and innovation and may be something like “to generate superior returns” or “attract and delight new customers”.
How Will You Win? - What are the key things you need to do to achieve your goals and vision. How will you ignite and grow your business, it might be to focus on your key markets and customers, it might be to uplift your technology platform to give your customers a seamless and simple experience, it might be to uplift your business or personal profile using social media or it might be to provide the best customer experience.
What are Your Values & Foundations? - Finally decide what the values of your business are, these will outline how you, your team members and the business will conduct itself in achieving the business goals. Some examples of what your values may be include being inclusive, respectful, bold or inquisitive. Also think about what your non-negotiables are, the foundations of your business which you won’t comprise on. For a financial services or HR business it may be risk, trust or compliance, for a technology business it might be innovation and for an engineering business it may be delivery or excellence.