Working strategically is the best way to guarantee business success. Without a doubt, having strategic objectives and a strategic plan, and consistently pursuing them is the smartest way to manage your business. There are ways, however, that a business owner can - using strategy - destroy their business. Let's take a look at these.
1. They have the wrong strategy for current conditions.
Many businesses continue to pursue the strategy that made them buckets of money a decade ago, but have not delved deeply to create a winning strategy for NOW. They continue to execute what worked in the past but cannot figure out why they aren't getting traction for their business under the current conditions.
2. They fail to execute their strategy in the right timing.
They wait too late or rush in too early. The market is either not ready or has already lost interest. They fail to take advantage of the window of opportunity. It's even worse though when this happens because you're spending time on non-productive activities.
3. They work a strategy that cannot possibly fulfill their strategic objectives.
The strategy is delusional and made up of fantastical premises that bear no relationship to market reality. The strategy never approaches realism. It's based on wishes and dreams rather than real world circumstances.
4. They pursue a strategy that is about avoidance rather than growing the company and growing the revenue.
This might be avoidance of things like taxes, hiring employees, expanding operations, or learning marketing. Whatever is being avoided though, keeps the business owner in a restricted mode, and the business suffers.
5. They operate as if strategy is a static, unchanging, iron-clad document.
Many business owners come up with a strategy and believe they have to "gut it out" and execute - no matter what. They ignore changing conditions, and robotically charge ahead inflexibly. They don't use their strategy as a guideline and instead believe it is a rigid and unchanging document.
6. They have a great strategy in place but fail to fully execute it - then, claim that the strategy does not work.
This becomes "blame the strategy" rather than blaming the one who failed to execute. They don't consider deciding to step up and responsibly take action. It's a self-defeating exercise and altogether too common.
7. They use their strategy as the "reason" not to seize good opportunities.
This is like the person walking into the path of a speeding car because a green light gives them the right of way. Their focus is on something that technically is correct, but is short-sighted in failing to assess long-term consequences. They don't exercise a consistent reassessment and alteration of strategy, according to circumstances and opportunities.
8. They have a strategy but don't reassess and revise it regularly.
The best way to use a strategy is to revisit and revise it weekly, adding new content as you complete activities. Simply having a strategy and not using it as a weekly reassessment tool is a mistake. It can quickly become outdated and meaningless. The real value in a strategy is understanding your objectives, and constantly ensuring that your strategic activities will deliver those results.
9. They have a strategy that alienates current clients.
This could be things like not caring, or taking an approach that destroys the goodwill of their business. Sometimes we think the "shock effect" or newest, newest is the way to go, and that is an extreme miscalculation. There is nothing wrong with upgrading your target market, but it's best not to alienate your target market until you have secured the new market.
10. They do not write their strategy down.
A plan in your head cannot become a strategy until you write it down. A strategy is not coherent or effective until it is on paper. Make the time to detail and organize your strategy, and lay it out on a time-line. Mental strategic planning is fine, but not especially valuable in the long-term.
It is very possible to ruin your business with strategy. Don't make any of these Top Ten mistakes with your strategy. Let your strategy support and guide you to grow your business.
By Suzi Elton
Photography by Jörg Jahn
Suzi Elton provides business writing that attracts targeted prospects to your service business and converts them into clients for you. She is a Robert Middleton Certified Action Plan Marketing Coach, as well as a professional writer. Her website offers a free series of 8 assessments you can use to analyze your own site. To learn about her Robert Middleton style Web Site Tool Kit Writing Package, go to http://www.wowfactorwriting.com/services/web-site-tool-kit-package/