As a business coach, I’ve observed that strategic business owners tend to be focused and successful. And tactical business owners tend to be scattered and struggling.
If you want lasting and profitable business success, the key is to marry a small number of highly focused strategies with a variety of tightly aligned marketing and sales tactics.
Here are 7 keys to help you get started.
1. Tactics are easy – and it’s tempting to confuse executing tactics with moving your business forward. Ain’t always the case though, is it?
2. Strategy is the WHY TO and tactics are the HOW TO. If you stop focusing on your “WHY” even for a short time, you’ll fall into the trap of getting really good at creating and selling projects/services that you don’t want to be doing. How are you trapping yourself with off-strategy successes?
3. It feels good to execute tactics – and it feels hard to create strategies. This is because you have to come face to face with the time-space continuum. You can’t execute everything you want to do all at once. And you probably shouldn’t try. How have you subconsciously let yourself be overwhelmed with not enough strategy but too many tactics?
4. Tactics pile up – there is always more to do. Strategy is a limiting factor. Strategy shows you what you should NOT be doing, building, selling, and offering. Strategy serves your business as a filter. With no strategy, every tactic looks reasonable. How have you buried yourself in tactics while starving yourself of strategy?
5. Business owners and entrepreneurs LOVE talking to each other about tactics. What’s worked? What hasn’t? What’s next? They rarely talk strategy. They rarely talk about things they want to stop doing. What questions could you ask your colleagues to find out what they have pared down and eliminated to help them increase their strategic focus?
6. We’re too busy for strategy. Really? How about spending a morning in your comfy chair with a notebook and a set of colored Sharpies to have a strategic meeting with yourself? In less than two hours, you can do a data dump, a project review, a client review, an “ideal business model” exercise and create several lists such as “Low-payoff activities that take too much of my time” and “High payoff activities that I need to create more time for.” Review your notes, summarize and categorize them, and begin to put them into action. When’s the last time you had a strategic meeting with yourself?
7. Busying yourself writing emails is not a strategy. Email is not a tactic. And email is not a high-payoff activity. Yes, you might get a few client emails a day. Or customer service emails. Or a handful of leads. Other than that, sitting on email all day is a deadly distraction that sucks up way too much time. So stop. Make a sign over your desk where you can see it from your computer that says, “EMAIL IS NOT MY JOB.” How has email stolen your strategic focus lately?
David Newman :: Do It! Marketing
Marketing for Smart People… Like YOU!
p.s. Tactics before strategy leads to suffering. When you make strategic decisions first, all your marketing and sales choices become easy. Don’t be a victim of the all-too-common entrepreneurial disease of tactic-itis. You’re too smart for that. Focus on strategy and the tactics will become obvious. [More on this tomorrow!]