Does your company strategy need a boost? 3 essential tips

Do you have a laser-focused, crystal clear, bang up-to-date company strategy that your entire company has confidence in? 

Does every employee know exactly what they need to do to contribute to growing your business? 

If the answer is not a resounding “yes” then this article is for you.

Every business is different. The one commonality in all successful businesses, however, is the drive and the desire to grow. In order for company growth in Scale-ups and SMEs to happen, there needs to be a dynamic and focused strategy in place. Strategy gives a company purpose and direction. This article details what needs to be in place to create a solid company strategy through three techniques to improve your business today. 

The first step to achieve an improved company strategy is to identify who is responsible for analysing and developing your company strategy. Roles need to be clear for the company to efficiently move forward. If there is no-one in the leadership team with the right business strategy experience then it could be beneficial to have an external Strategy Director come in and help. A fresh set of eyes looking from an objective angle can offer solutions that are difficult to see when you’re at the centre of the company. 

1. Start with a Crisis Strategy Assessment

Crisis strategy assessment is crucial to have in place in order to make sure your company can thrive under any circumstance. It all comes down to breaking the situation up and assessing how you can deal with it. 

Here are specific questions you need to answer to get a better assessment of your next steps.

  1. How can you define the crisis in one sentence in order to get to the crux of the issue? 
  2. Looking at the changes in the world and your industry, how will it affect your revenue stream and your value proposition? 
  3. Will the crisis change your customer segments and relationships or alter distribution channels and partners? 
  4. How are your resource needs going to change and how is your cost structure going to be affected? 

By breaking down the issues and listing the effects – and sometimes opportunities –  facing your business, you should be able to create a company strategy to negotiate the crisis. 

2. Use the power of SWOT

An oldie but a goodie, SWOT analysis is a brilliant way to get all the issues affecting your company, both good and bad, out on the table. As I’m sure you know, SWOT is a system that helps you get onto paper (or an environmentally friendlier option) your company’s internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats your company might face.

As you use the power of brainstorming sessions with your leadership team to get every idea you have onto the SWOT, you can dig deeper into the suggestions as a team and whittle down to the best ideas. You may end up with 2-3 points for each section, but ultimately, it would be an analysis with everyone’s input on your list of priorities.

Like with the Crisis Strategy Assessment, SWOT is a brilliant tool to really identify and prioritise the issues your company might have, but it doesn’t go as far to facilitate the creation of solutions. This is where the third essential tip comes in.

Bod of Directors discussing company strategic direction

3. Remember the importance of MOST

MOST stands for Mission, Objective, Strategies, Tactics. 

Now that you have your list of priorities (your strengths, weaknesses, potential external threats and opportunities from your SWOT analysis) you can begin assessing what you can actually do to progress as a company.

Mission

For your mission, think about what you want to achieve in turnover and profit. Look at where you are as a company now and discuss where you want to be. Give yourself a timescale for this i.e. ‘what turnover and profit are we aiming for in 3 years?’ in order to work towards something tangible.

Objectives

If your mission is the end of the ladder then the objectives are the steps toward it. These are the key goals that will help you achieve your mission. For your objectives, refer back to your SWOT as these will help set the expectations for the areas you have identified to work on. Always think about the “which will” of your objectives. For instance “increase our perceived financial strength which will bring us bigger customers.”

Strategies

Strategies are options you have to achieve your objectives. This is another moment for brainstorming so getting down any ideas that could be an option to achieve your objective would be best discussed by key people in your business. How do you increase your perceived financial strength? A potential response could be to employ a part-time Finance Director. Get lots of ideas for each objective, and again, whittle them down to the best. For each objective have at least one strategy that will help you achieve your key goals. 

Tactics

Finally your tactics are the practicalities of putting these strategies into action. Essentially tactics answer the question “who is doing what and when?” It is delegation and progression. To emphasize, roles need to be clear for the company to efficiently move forward. This is the doing part but because of the work you have already done in identifying issues, company goals and strategies you can now move forward as a company with clarity and focus.  

What you can do next to improve your company strategy

Maybe you have elements in place but they don’t hang together in the way we have described. Are you sticking to your company strategy and checking that tactics are being completed on time? Are you reviewing your company strategy every 3-6 months to ensure strategies are working to achieve objectives?

Your company strategy should be a working document to keep your leadership team and entire company accountable to your mission.

While these tips are capable of aiding specific needs in the company, using them together allows you to verify the kind of strategic boost your business needs at the moment. 

To follow these essential tips, you can download the Boardroom Advisors’s Strategic Toolkit FOR FREE to begin making the necessary strategic changes to your company today. 

Business Strategy Toolkit

Written by: John Courtney

John is highly ranked in the Top 100 UK Entrepreneurs list by City AM and is winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from techSPARK. He has been a Board Director himself for over 40 years and first started placing Non-Executive Directors over 25 years ago. John founded and ran six of his own businesses including a Management Consultancy for 10 years, a Corporate Finance offering for 10 years and a mid-sized Digital Agency for another 10 years.