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Whether you’re leading a business or business unit, or working as a freelancer, mastering business strategy is key to success. And the end of the year and the start of a new strategy is a great opportunity to create or rethink your strategy, said Tara Turkington, CEO of Flow Communications.

Here are 16 tips to help you with your process.

Clarify your mission

Start with a powerful mission statement that is short, easy to remember, tells you why you are doing business, and is exciting and emotional. It should encapsulate who you serve, what you do, and the results you are looking for. Your mission statement focuses on what you are doing today and your purpose and reason for existence.

Mission statements usually answer the following questions:

  • What do we do?
  • Who do we serve?
  • How do you serve them?

Here is an example of a powerful mission statement:

  • TED: “Disseminate ideas.”
  • Tesla: “Accelerating the transition to sustainable energy in the world.”
  • LinkedIn: “Connect the world’s experts to increase productivity and success.”
  • Nike: “Inspiring and innovating all athletes around the world.”

The personal mission statement is as follows: “My mission is to use my talent of writing / teaching / singing to inspire and inspire others.”


Develop your vision

While missions are an ambitious guide and set direction, vision statements set specific goals and encourage you to achieve specific things for tomorrow. Your vision is about what you want to achieve in the long run.

To show the difference, Google’s mission statement (“Organize information around the world and make it accessible and useful to people around the world”) and Vision statement (“Provide access to information about the world with one click”) ”) Compare.


Define values

Think about your brand value and what you represent as a business. You need to define how your business will run, especially during difficult times. For example, if one of your values ​​is “honesty” and you act dishonestly, your brand value will be severely compromised.

Usually, the description of values ​​includes three or four values ​​such as “integrity, credibility, transparency”, “our employees are our greatest asset”, “leadership and innovation”. Included (these are the values ​​of flow communication I work for).

You can then subdivide them further and tell them how to implement them, for example under the first set of values ​​for “consistency, reliability, transparency”.

  • “We are proud of the quality of our work
  • We treat our clients, stakeholders, and employees with maximum transparency.
  • We honestly acknowledge mistakes without protection and correct them quickly. “

Develop a business strategy

Ideally, put your business strategy on one page. This is sometimes referred to as the “Business Model Canvas (BMC)” and there are several free templates on the internet.

Strategy includes all aspects of the business: mission, competitive environment, key partners (suppliers, etc.), key activities, value propositions, key resources, customer segments, market channels, cost structures, revenue flows, impacts, etc. Must be included.


Think short-term, medium-term, long-term

We recommend that you create separate 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year strategies. The one-year strategy should be most embodied with specific goals (for example, improving profitability or profitability, developing people and culture, introducing new products and services, etc.).

Strategies must clearly define business goals according to SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-limited) goals.


Conduct research

Good strategies are informed by research. What are the better competitors than you? Which areas of your business should you polish, change and grow? Do you have any ideas for new products or services that are easy to develop?

Are some services or products obsolete and irrelevant? Can this provide insights into how future resources will be allocated? What do clients want that you haven’t given them?


Please consider your positioning

It’s a general business premise that you can’t be the best and the cheapest-you need to decide whether to position your business in price or quality. There are other aspects to positioning. If you are providing services, what are you particularly good at? How to correlate products and services is also important.

I recently wanted to order a canvas print of some photos and followed a link to a page where the company seems to be excellent at offering them.

But when I clicked on the rest of the website, I wondered if the company had many other irrelevant printing services and they were really canvas print specialists. I ended up choosing another supplier.


Know your target market

Part of running BMC as above is to understand the different target markets. For example, Flow Communications has government clients and corporate clients. In our context, government buyers are usually looking for the best prices, but corporate clients are more concerned about quality.

Government clients have a much higher need for compliance and documentation. A corporate client for the ability to get the job done. Both have different anxieties, hopes and triggers. It’s important to change your position a little, depending on which one you sell to.


Identify strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats

Performing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of a business, business unit, product, or service is not a waste of time.

The strengths and weaknesses are internal (for example, an experienced team has strengths, but poor leadership in a particular area has weaknesses). Opportunities and threats are external (opportunities are changes in tax law that allow goods to be exported to neighboring countries cheaper, but threats can be poor domestic or international economies).


Defines the channel used to reach the target audience

Different products and services improve performance on different channels, and different channels (or different combinations of channels) reach different audiences than other channels.

For example, TikTok is a great platform for interacting with young audiences when promoting something easy, but Facebook’s fastest growing audience is the elderly.

Direct marketing works in some ways, but influencer marketing can work in other ways. Channels are constantly changing, evolving and even counterintuitive. For example, for several years Flow has sold a number of tickets from Instagram to clients. Probably not the first channel that airlines will use.


Get buy-in

No matter how great your strategy is, it doesn’t make sense if you can’t let others see it, believe it, and live. Ideally, it’s best to build your strategy through consensus. By doing so, you will have more champions as well as leaders, and your chances of success will increase.

Identify the key influencers in your organization who can lobby. You don’t necessarily have to be the majority to see the benefits of your strategy, but having enough changemakers and influencers to believe it creates a turning point in a wide range of beliefs.

Communicate your strategy widely

Just because you know your strategy well doesn’t mean that your team knows it just because you can cast it in Shark Tank at a one-minute pitch. Communication, communication, communication. It is important to repeat (without getting bored or preaching).

I recently asked my sales team about their revenue and sales goals for the year towards the end of the fiscal year, but I couldn’t answer exactly. I lived with these people in my head, so I stupidly thought they were memorizing them too.


Create a detailed action plan

There is one thing to do together to develop a strategy and execute it. You need to create a detailed action plan to achieve that. These plans include people’s roles and responsibilities, including priorities, measurement objectives and indicators, steps to take, resources needed, who is ultimately responsible for what, and the impact after achieving the strategy. Must be included.

For example, in Flow, a five-year strategy is to double revenue and improve profit lines while doing goal-driven work. We aim to do this to make the company stronger, more sustainable, able to retain and attract talented employees, and to make a positive difference in the world. ..


Stay focused

Appoint project leaders and teams to focus on different aspects so you can focus on achieving your strategy. Create a deadline and set a specific metric. Track your progress on a regular basis and report on it regularly (depending on your metric, this can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly). Make people accountable.


Never forget your customer

Your focus needs to stay sharp in achieving your strategy, but you will never be inward enough to forget your customers. Without them, you have no business. You should talk to them regularly, listen to their feedback, and incorporate this into your strategy.


Adapt strategy

Strategy does not mean sitting in a file that collects dust. This is a living document that needs to be changed as the situation and business change. Check frequently (perhaps quarterly) and adapt as you learn. As well equipped, your strategy requires a strategy.


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Read here if you want to start operations in South Africa in 2022

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