A sound business and sales strategy is key to success and growth. Former U.S. President and military commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower, stated that "A finished plan is generally worthless, but carefully crafted planning is absolutely essential." Unless you have a carefully crafted business strategy, you are essentially flying blind.
In other words, while a given plan may change based on what happens with your business, taking the time to thoroughly examine where your business is now and where it is headed gives you the information to make course changes intelligently, against the backdrop of a clear business strategy.
Why Work on Your Business and Sales Strategy?
The answer to this question is focus and goals. Strategy creates context for operating decisions. It establishes the playing field and provides guidance for decision-making. Your strategy leverages experience and skills of employees, positioning of marketing and advertising, the priority of initiatives, a clear path to a productive sales team, less wasted time and money, increased sales and profits, and a greatly enhanced value of your business.
A plan is necessary to guide decision-making, channel resources, set goals and define direction. Because of that, formulating a strategy is well worth the time it will take to develop it. Strategy enables you to focus on your highest priorities and largest opportunities to achieve success, and is the way in which a company meets its on-going challenges and opportunities.
Strategy is a set of choices that defines the nature, direction and value system of any company. It is a mindset which should be understood by every person in the company and used to guide all decision-making within the organization.
In developing strategy, leaders make conscious and informed choices about who they are and what they stand for:
- What are our core values and beliefs?
- What target markets will we specialize in and serve?
- What products and services will we offer and how profitable is each one?
- What competitive advantages will cause us to succeed?
- What core competencies must we have to fuel our growth?
- How will we sell our products and services?
- How will we market our products and services?
- What infrastructure, core processes and resources must we have to succeed?
- What financial results will we achieve?
Next, and the hardest part, is the plan implementation. Research in the last several years has pinpointed many reasons why businesses fail, including the following:
1. Poorly Understood Strategy - Most companies have a strategy but, according to one study, fewer than 5% of their employees know what the strategy is.
2. Weak Strategy - Execution Studies show that up to 90% of strategies fail due to poor execution.
3. Inability to Adapt to Change - Once a business makes plans, the challenges of everything changing around it may gradually erode those plans unless the organization can adapt and stay focused.
4. Lack of a Systematic Approach - Discipline is needed in all size companies.
5. People are Not Engaged - An engaged worker is one who is personally committed to the goals of the company. Unfortunately, 90% of the time what passes for commitment is actually compliance. If you cannot get people engaged, no improvement will last.
6. A Gap Between Knowing What To Do, and Doing It - Many things can get in the way including substituting talk for action, employee fear or mistrust of management, using the company's history instead of sound judgment to dictate action, and badly designed or complex measures.
In the end, a solid business and sales strategy and effective implementation plan may not solve all of your problems but those companies that do plan and strategize enjoy a much brighter track record, greater profits and dramatically higher valuations. Plan well, beware of the pitfalls in implementation and you can enjoy your best year yet in 2015. CEO Advisor, Inc. has helped many CEOs and small business owners achieve results and success through planning and effectively implementing their strategy.
Contact Mark Hartsell, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc. at (949) 629-2520,by email at MHartsell@CEOAdvisor.com or visit us at www.CEOAdvisor.com for a no cost, no obligation initial consultation today.