The famous Sun Tzu once said ‘weak leadership will destroy the finest strategy while forceful execution of even a poor strategy can often bring about victory’. Sun Tzu is a legendary military strategist. He is the author of The Art of War a masterpiece that continues to be cited by generals, political and business leaders worldwide. Clearly Sun Tzu knew something about how to create a winning strategy. And yet in Sun Tzu’s mind the focus is definitely on implementation. For me, there’s a lot to be learnt in this approach when developing business strategy.
Developing Business Strategy That Works
If you’ve ever researched business strategy you will know that there are dozens of different models you can use – from Business Model Canvas, Porter’s 5 forces, BCG Matrix and more. In our opinion these strategies while definitely thorough and clever, miss one crucial element. For many businesses the time that it takes to create the strategy means that it either never gets completed or once it’s done it is not easy for everyone to follow and so you fall into the trap of putting it away for another day.
Choosing not to develop a business plan at all also won’t cut it. After all, if you don’t have a plan how on earth do you know which road to take or where you are headed.
Steps To Creating A Strategic Plan
If you’re developing business strategy, you want to know that your effort won’t be wasted. At MGI we instead advocate the simple one page plan. It helps you translate your vision into your business strategy by looking at:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to be in 6 months, 12 months, 2 years – however far out you want to work
- How are we going to get there?
From here you need to detail the key actions the business needs to undertake and capture this in a one page plan.
That’s the point. A one page plan is easy to develop and is easy to read, meaning that everyone knows who needs to do what, by when.
It’s not strategy that will win the war it’s execution
Remember what Sun Tzu said about execution being critical to winning the war? If you want execution you need accountability. The difficult part in this process is making sure no one in your team puts the plan into their bottom draw.
The way to do this is to integrate your one page plan into regular team meetings and performance reviews. Each week you review who was supposed to have done what, whether it has been achieved and what the outcome was.
Why your plan shouldn’t be a static document
Gone are the days when you spend the month of January developing business strategy that sets out what you will do for the rest of the year. The reality is that the landscape that we are operating in is changing fast and you need to be able to pivot (change your strategy without changing your vision) to be able to keep up. For this reason your one-page plan is a constantly evolving list of actions that you tick off and update as new opportunities arise or changes are required.
So in summary if you haven’t got a business plan don’t wait till a slow time of year to get cracking. Set aside a few hours this week to reflect on where your business is now and where you want it to be and start capturing this in a one page plan.
The team at MGI South Queensland have worked with many businesses throughout the region to help them in developing business strategy approaches that are practical and that don’t languish in a drawer! Our business growth strategies will help you to not only develop your plan but to keep you accountable and on track to achieving your business goals.
With a number of highly experienced small business mentors in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, we are perfectly placed to support your growing business. Call the team now on 07 3002 4800 or book an appointment online.