The concept of business strategy can seem overwhelming for many small-to-medium (SME) businesses because it conjures up images of days or weeks spent away from the day-to-day running of the business, massive folders of information and a big bill to work with outsourced consultants.
It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, it shouldn’t be this way. Working with the right people can help you identify your goals, figure out what you need to do to reach them and check in on your progress.
Putting forth a business strategy can only be straightforward if you work with the right people. Even though you may not always have the perfect skills set internally, it is okay to bring in a business strategy consultant to help with the process. An outsourced business strategy consultant provides you with an external perspective and has specific experience in strategy development, identifying risks and knowledge impartation.
The benefits of using a skilled consultant are that you end up with a business strategy that will help you maximise your profits, provide you with a clear-cut document for your lenders, as well as give you some piece of mind that your business is heading in the right direction.
If you have little or no experience in building, you wouldn’t build your office space, so it makes sense that if you have little or no experience in business strategy and planning that you would work with someone who does. It is important to have, as part of your business strategy, the following:
- An emergency management and disaster recovery plan
- A clearly defined succession plan
- A documented marketing plan
Once you realise that you should obtain outside assistance for your business strategy, the first step is to do your research. Do you have a company that has come recommended? Or can demonstrate success for other clients? Check out their website – do they have a news or blog section that they update regularly? Do they provide a wide range of strategy and planning services? Do they provide examples of success stories?
The first phase of working with a business strategy consultant involves a bit of research into your company, historical data, as well as discussions around your plans and projections for the future. Specific and measurable goals can then be developed.
The next phase will be to determine how you are going to reach those goals. What set of people need to be involved? What will the costs be? What is the timeframe for completion?
Finally, there needs to be a firm plan for measurement and a timeline for review.
This last step is vital because it helps keep you on track. It’s also a great way to feel a sense of accomplishment when you realise that all your hard work has resulted in a tangible outcome!
Business strategy and planning doesn’t have to be time-consuming and expensive. It should be focused, time-efficient and undertaken using the right people for the job.
It really can be that simple.