Strategic business advice

Strategic Business Advice

Many entrepreneurs want to grow their business, increase profits and improve cash flow.

We provide specialised business strategy advice to lots of our clients which examines our 4½ building blocks for a successful business. These are as follows:

• Vision statement
• 3 key concepts
• Time blocking
• Annualisation versus a 12 week strategic action plan

Vision Statement

The vision statement is where you would like to be in 2 to 3 years’ time. I have spoken to lots of entrepreneurs over the years and each have a different vision statement. Here are just a few of the vision statements I have heard:

• I want to increase my turnover by 100%
• I need my cash flow to improve so I am not dependent on the bank
• I want to sleep at night and not worry!
• I want to work 20 hours a week and not 80!
• I want to be able to take a 4 week holiday without worrying about my business
• I want to increase the number of employees by 10
• I need to diversify my product/service range to minimise my risk of exposure

3 Key Concepts

The next step is very important and you need to examine the 3 key concepts for a successful business.

The 3 key concepts of any successful business are:

• Operations
• Marketing
• Finance

The 3 key ingredients that we explore with our clients are as follows:

  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Operations

You need to brainstorm each concept individually and identify the all areas that are key to your business. Once you have identified all the points you then need to score each of them between 1 and 10. A score of 1 means that you are very poor in this area and obviously a score of 10 indicates there is no room for improvement!

A lot of entrepreneurs I have met become employees of their own business. They get to the office, roll up their sleeves and start working. They are so busy at the “coal face” that they never step back and think strategically. I call this the “employee mentality” i.e. they are working in their business instead of on it.

Time Blocking

So, one way to start working on your business, which I have seen to be really effective for growing businesses, is to time block. To implement this you look at your weekly diary and allocate 2 to 3 time slots a week which should be no longer than 1 hour each.

In these time blocked meetings you must ensure you and your team are not interrupted and you dedicate the time to develop strategic actions necessary to develop and grow your business. For example the time slots could cover:

• Sales team meeting and developing key performance indicators
• Examining areas to automate operations in order to gain future leverage
• Discussing the sales funnel and conversion rates
• Reviewing the 12 week strategy business plan

12 Week Strategy Action Plan

Once you have established your vision for your business, explored the 3 key concepts and time blocked your weekly calendar the next step is to produce the strategic action plan.

A strategic action plan should cover the following points:
• Identify the key critical areas
• Produce an agreed action for each point raised
• Commit to an implementation date
• Assign responsibility
• Be accountable to each other and measure the outcome constantly

The Strategic Action Plan should cover the next 12 weeks. This is important as it focuses everyone’s attention on delivering on the points agreed. If you develop an annual business plan then this usually gets put to one side and never actioned!
The final column on the above action plan is: Measurement. So when you meet on a regular time blocked meeting you can measure how well each action point has been delivered. This provides accountability and ownership
You may be asking what the ½ step is?
Well if you follow the above 4 steps you are ½ way there to becoming a successful business!