Business Strategy Consulting

Strategy – is it all too hard???

DWB-1 One thing is for sure, “you will not succeed without one”. How many times do you want to talk about strategy and you quickly hit a proverbial “brick wall”. Sometimes I get the impression that business strategy is overcomplicated and has a language that most business owners do not understand. I own up, I am guilty of the language trap and have seen my clients eyes glaze over in a haze of mis-communication.
The Macquarie Dictionary is no help either – “skilful management in getting the better of an adversary or attaining an end”. So we need some skills, some management and an end point, call this a goal. This is a start.
As a result, the confusion over Business Strategy leads many business owners will do one of the following:

  • Ignore strategy and hope it goes away
  • Hire consultants to develop a strategy for them and then leave the business implement
    what they were going to do in any case.


  • Integrate strategic processes into their business and as a result end up with an “evergreen” strategic direction.

Let me explain the third option in more detail as it is the way to go for business strategy.Strategic Processes are actions and should be thought of in the same manner as, say, the Operational Processes used to build a product, sell a service or design some software.

There are required steps that need to be done to get something done well. So the following outlines the three stages of strategic planning.

Stage One – Our Current Situation

  • Define what the business does – this appears simple but putting this in words and writing it down will provide the clear statement required to move forward. “We provide a short lead time printing service to metropolitan based advertising agencies”
  • Define Targets – the business owner must state what the targets are going to be for the foreseeable future. “We will double the number of clients over the next twelve months and achieve sales of $2.5 million per year.”
  • Define what is influencing the business – what is happening in our market, our competitors, our suppliers which will influence our business and our targets. This is where you need to get very good information on what is going on around you. You sales people will have good information, industry associations will have reports and newspapers/journals will be another source of information. Summarise this down to around five critical “things” that you will need to consider.
  • Define what needs to happen within your business in order to achieve the target. This could be production related; numbers of staff; skill development; bonus and pay rates for staff; etc, the list goes on. Make sure that you test each of this as being critical to achieving the target, if they are not, get rid of them.

The output of Stage One will be a statement of what the business does, what the target is and a list of those critical “things” which will impact (both positive and negative) on achieving the target.

Test and question what has been done to this stage; are your assumptions back up with facts and data; does anything sound too farfetched or unrealistic. It is never too late get the strategy right.

Stage Two – Plan to ImplementI will simply say here, you need to involve all your people and suppliers/customers to implement your strategy. Detail out your actions using the simple steps to project management. Get the actions and outcomes owned by individuals in your team. You can get basic planning tools from the internet to assist with this step.

Stage Three – Keep in Touch with Progress

This is a vital step in your business strategy process. This is where it can all fall down. As the business owner it is up to you to monitor progress, measure results and drive the fine tuning of the implementation while continuing to communicate the goals you want to achieve. Also, this step is essential to react to dramatic changes in costs, orders or anything else which comes along to challenge your business. Remember to always refer back to the work done in Stage One and use this as a foundation for you actions and decisions.

Review the information in Stage One each year as a regular part of your business diary. This will ensure your Strategy is EVERGREEN and a part of your business activities at all time.Finally, never ever get a consultant to “do your strategy for you”; it will not work and it will be a waste of money. Use your consultant as the facilitator, not the decision make, let them keep you and your team disciplined and on track.