Writing a business strategy can be daunting for anyone, even a seasoned business strategy consultant like yours truly. There are so many formats and so much information you could include, and you always end up questioning whether you’ve included too much or not enough. Admittedly, I have used multiple formats and metrics, and my style has evolved over the years, but today I can say there are six strategic planning communication “tools” that must be included in your plan.
1. Business Purpose. State the sole mission, or purpose of the company…in one word. I know, I know. This is a huge challenge, but it is an exercise that forces company leadership to get specific, visionary and inspired. It has amazing effects on the theme of the business strategy and unites the entire team behind one concept or idea. This one-word purpose will not change every year. Like the mission statement, it should only be revisited every 5 to 10 years, if it is written well.
2. One-sentence Strategy. What are you trying to achieve in the business right now, in one sentence? Like the “purpose” exercise, this exercise will help you get to the core of what your business aims to do, and communicate it in a concise and memorable way.
3. Brand Promise. What kind of relationship do you want to have with your customers? What problem do you want to solve for them? How will you make their lives better? This is what you want to describe in your brand promise, which will begin something like this: To be the best____ by _______. Or like this: To enhance our customers’ _______by _________.
4. Main Target Audience. Please don’t tell me “anyone is a customer”. Even if anyone could use your product it doesn’t mean they are the primary decision-makers. You need to identify one main target audience. You must do this in order to strategize which decision-maker pain points you will address, and how you will market and sell to them. In this regard, all audiences are certainly not created equal.
5. “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”. Business leadership is not for the faint of heart. It commands us to be bold and set our sights high for the future. What is the ultimate destination for your company? What does your Mount Everest summit look like? State it in a way that is inspiring—if Denzel Washington were describing it in the climax of a film, what would he say?
6. X Factor. What truly makes your product or service different? Be ruthlessly honest. What is the one thing you do that none of your competitors can claim?
When was the last time you revisited your business strategy? Does it include any of these tools?
Howard Shore is an executive leadership coach who works with companies that need leadership development and business management coaching. Based in Miami, Florida, Howard’s firm, Activate Group, Inc. provides strategic planning tools and management coaching to businesses across the country. To learn more about strategic planning and development through AGI, please visit activategroupinc.com, contact Howard at (305) 722-7216 or email him.