Does this situation sound familiar? You’ve spent time growing your business, developing a stable client base and planning on expanding. But after months or years of doing the same work day in and day out, you still aren’t seeing the financial results you want. Your problem may lie in that you don’t have an actionable business strategy in place.
Malorie Tadimi, a top business analyst and founder of Tadimi Group LLC, helps clients create business strategies and make a lot of money by implementing them. Malorie shared with us her key pillars to building a strategy that will work for any business and turn action into revenue and growth.
The Basics Of Strategy
At its core, strategy boils down to what you are doing and why. The key word here, though, is “doing.” In many cases, business owners have created a strategy but are still not making the money they should be making. Why? It’s because, 9 times out of 10, they haven’t activated their strategy.
If your strategy for business only stays on paper—or worse, in your head—you aren’t going to see the results you want. Action is the key to success.
This concept is illustrated in an example Malorie shared about a functional medicine physician. The physician had a physical office that was receiving a consistent number of referrals, so she didn’t need to worry about getting more clients. In essence, her business strategy was to continue doing what she was doing.
However, there was a hole in her plan: the physician only had a certain number of hours in her day to see clients, which limited her ability to scale her practice. In her mind, she had a strategy to scale her business, but she wasn’t doing anything to initiate the process. With Malorie’s help, the physician created and implemented her strategy to offer an online program to her existing client list and saw immediate results.
The takeaway here is that a great business strategy gives you a clear way to communicate your value to clients, but it also gives you a system to take action with. Whether it is you alone implementing the strategy or a team you are delegating to, make sure to repeat your vision so everyone understands the strategy clearly.
What Is Behind Strategy?
There are multiple components that contribute to your overall business strategy. Each will help you identify your goals and then meet them through action.
Vision: The “What”
The first thing to understand as part of your strategy is the vision, or where you are going. This vision should be long-term—what’s your one-year vision, your two-year vision, your three-year vision? Most business owners don’t know what’s possible for them and need to think bigger to achieve big revenue.
One way to think bigger is by considering creating an enterprise. Think of an enterprise like a bicycle wheel, with a hub and spokes. The hub is your enterprise—the basis of your business. Each spoke coming off of it should be all the ways you interact with clients. These might be different product and service offerings or ways you give back. By doing this, you create more than one single stream of revenue for your business, which helps reduce risk and creates a secure and scalable business.
Mission: The “Why”
The next part of the strategy is your mission—the reason you spend your time and money working on your business. A mission is crucial to a business because it’s the driving force behind your hard work.
Consider the best- and worst-case scenarios:
- Why do you spend your time doing something you could totally fail at?
- Why do you spend time doing something that could succeed so much that you end up failing mentally or physically trying to keep up?
Is it because you want to make an impact? Did you work through a personal struggle that you want to help others avoid? Consider your business and find your “why.”
Your mission not only helps you implement your strategy but also helps drive you through the tough situations. Business is not an easy game to play. You can play it with ease, but it is not an easy game. If you find that your mission, your reason why isn’t very strong, it might give you permission to abandon a business that is driving you crazy and allow you to dig deep and find something you can really succeed with.
In the case of Malorie’s functional medicine physician client, after the success of the online program, the physician made the decision to shut down her physical office. The physician’s mission didn’t match up with the work of maintaining a physical office, but she continued to grow with her new vision and strategy by going online.
Once you have your vision and mission nailed down, you can begin to develop a set of objectives, or goals, for implementing your strategy. A crucial note here is that these goals need to be measurable. If you can’t measure your progress toward your goals, you won’t be able to go back and make adjustments and make sure you actually meet those goals.
One of the strategies for creating and working on your objectives is to break down your goals into “90-day sprints.” Every 90 days, focus on a particular set of goals in every section of your business, such as marketing, revenue, and staff.
In Malorie’s business, she often hears clients say they don’t know what they should be doing every day to move the needle of their business. This is where breaking down goals to that granular level and taking action comes into play. Goals give you the clarity to make action steps and work backward.
No matter what your business does, goals are typically either revenue- or impact-based. For both types of goals, start big and work your way down to those 90-day sprints.
If your goal is to make a million dollars this year, you can break that down into quarters, meaning you’ll need to make $250,000 each quarter. If your business is more seasonal or launch-based, you’ll need to consider the different revenue streams in each quarter and set goals accordingly. From there, ask yourself what you need to make each month to reach those quarterly goals.
When developing impact goals, you first need to identify how to measure the impact you want to have, whether it’s building one school a year for children in Nicaragua or helping the Red Cross on five major projects a year. Impact goals should have a direct connection to your mission, which can be challenging to nail down.
For example, if your business is a provider of healthcare, an impact goal related to ocean conservation—while admirable—may not be the best story to tell because it lacks clear ties to your mission. Instead, you could consider a goal to vaccinate 100 million children globally. The goal is measurable and clearly related to the mission of healthcare.
For Malorie’s Tadimi brand, one of her impact goals is to help women and children gain education and training. After getting her MBA, Malorie recognized that many women around the world lack the opportunity to get the business training necessary to move into management. One of the ways she is accomplishing her goal is by launching a new business, Tadis, that sells shoes made by Moroccan women and children who would otherwise lack business opportunities. By giving these women meaningful work and a stream of income, Malorie is providing them the opportunity to move up in the world of business.
It can be scary to define your legacy and set it in stone, but once you find out what is meaningful to you, you’ll be able to integrate it into your business’s story.
If you are a solopreneur, an organizational chart may help you break down these objectives and visualize your goals and what you are responsible for. Having a physical chart of goals in front of you can foster action and stop you from defaulting to your comfort zone and not making progress.
Building An Action Plan
Ultimately, a strategy is not a strategy unless it’s being acted upon. The final pillar of your business strategy will be your action plan, which will delegate tasks out to the people who actually need to accomplish them. Action is the key to creating a good strategy plan because, without it, your strategy will only remain on paper.
When creating your action plan, think about each of your goals. In order to achieve a goal, what tasks need to be done? Who is responsible for each task, and when does the task need to be completed? Put a date and a name for every task, even if you are working on your business alone. The compilation of all those specific tasks becomes your action plan.
Because you will likely have a list of tasks a mile long, it’s helpful to create a big spreadsheet to house all of them. You can make this spreadsheet as navigable as you want, but make sure it has these components:
- Name of the department the task belongs to
- Objective the task helps accomplish
- What year and quarter the task belongs in (remember those 90-day sprints!)
- Deadline for each task
- Name of the person responsible for the task
- A way to track which tasks have been completed and which are in progress
You could use project management software or a simple Excel spreadsheet to detail out your action plan. No matter what program you use, once your plan is on paper and has been specifically laid out, you’ll find it becomes much easier to move it from paper to reality.
The Bonus Strategy: Activation
After all your plans have been laid out—your vision, mission, objectives and action plan are on paper—the final and most important step is activation. This step is a “bonus” and not necessarily inside the strategic plan, but is critical for putting your action plan to work.
With such a large task list to complete, how do you activate yourself and your team? One way is through the “daily triage.” To start, pick the top three things that will start to move the needle of your business to accomplish each day. Make a pact with yourself that until those three tasks are done, your privileges are revoked for the day—don’t spend time on social media or hang out doing fun stuff. By activating your plan and doing just three tasks each day, you’ll start to grow fast and really see results.
Additionally, activation allows you to deactivate. Task lists can be never-ending, but in order to give your business the attention it deserves, you also need to take care of yourself. By accomplishing your daily triage, you can rest knowing you’ve done what you can for the day to grow your business and avoid burning yourself out.
Implementing A Strategy For Growth
Creating a strategy isn’t the be-all and end-all of your business. After everything is laid out, you will be built for growth, but that does not mean you will grow. The major difference between businesses that don’t see strong growth and businesses that do is activation.
No matter what kind of business you run, your strategy for growth should implement these 7 steps.
- Traffic generation: Find ways to generate traffic to your business, including marketing with paid or organic tools, as well as building customer relationships and getting referrals.
- Lead generation: Once you get traffic, you need to start a conversation and engage those potential clients.
- Sales transaction: After you’ve worked on engagement, you’ll need to turn your leads into sales with purchases of your product or service.
- Delivery of products or services: Identify how you will get your product or service in the hands of your clients.
- Customer transition: This is the point where you see real results. Your customer should undergo some sort of transition because of the product or service you’ve provided them.
- Testimonial: When you’ve made your customer happy through their transition, they will provide reviews or quotes and interviews that other people will use to judge whether or not they should purchase from you.
- Customer ascension: Once you have a happy customer, identify where they go next. Do they move to a higher level of service, or perhaps make horizontal purchases over time? Use the customers you’ve spent time and money acquiring and make them work with you again.
Take Advantage Of The Power Of Doing
If you’re going to do one thing when creating your business strategy for growth, it’s this: know what you are doing and why. If you aren’t doing what you need to be doing, you aren’t going to see the results you want.
Try to avoid getting stuck and overwhelmed. Pick those top 3 things to work on each day and do them before you do anything else. By creating and actually doing things for your strategy, you will be able to turn that paper plan into a reality.