As business owners, we are people of action. We cannot wait to get out and do stuff. Emails, networking, marketing, sales calls, delivering our service, client work and it goes on. This daily grind becomes all consuming.
What is driving all this action?
We are doing this for a reason right? ‘What’ is the reason you doing all this? Put another way, what is your strategy behind the actions you take?
Part of what I do as a business coach is to help my clients strategize their actions. Unless action is driven by a strategy all your action could become hot air. Even if you get good results, is it really taking you where you want to go?
Strategic v Opportunistic thinking:
Take two identical service providers. One goes out to market his business without a strategy. Anyone with a pulse and a chequebook is a potential client. He is likely to rack up clients pretty fast. The chances are he is also likely to have a massive drop out rate and work with a lot of clients who demand a lot more than what they are paying for because he is chasing one opportunity after the other. On the other hand, the second service provider decides to strategize her approach. She lists the qualities of the type of clients she wants to work with and finds out a bit more about their business.
As a result, she caters her marketing and selling accordingly. She is likely to be getting a steady stream of clients and who stay with her for a long time. She is happy and not as chaotic as her counterpart because she attracts more of her ideal clients due to her clarity.
Strategy V Tactics
- Building a business in to asset that will work without you is a strategy. How you go about doing that is tactics.
- Building a database of you defined ideal customer is a strategy. How you do about doing it is tactics.
- Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different – Michael Porter
- A strategy delineates a territory in which a company seeks to be unique – Michael Porter
Why we avoid strategizing our actions:
Seth Godin describes it very well. “Most of us are afraid of strategy, because we don’t feel confident outlining one unless we’re sure it’s going to work. And the ‘work’ part is all tactical, so we focus on that. Tactics are easy to outline, because we say, “I’m going to post this.” If we post it, we succeed. Strategy is scary to outline, because we describe results, not actions, and that means opportunity for failure”.
There is a big gap between us intellectualizing strategy and our ability to drive those strategies within our business.
So what is a strategy?
Strategy is a “system of generating value”. A system of generating ‘real’ value (your strategies) should be a set of mutually reinforcing components, held by the big picture – your purpose.
As business owners, leading strategy is a non-stop process. This means continually re-inventing yourself and willing to explore new ways of leading your organisation.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”― Sun Tzu, The Art of War+ Ravi Peal-Shankar