One of the fundamental elements for achieving scale-up is to have a clear business strategy in place, which is implemented effectively and communicated throughout the team and executed accordingly.
Here, Kevin Brent Founder of BizSmart®, a leading business support provider, offers insight into how to create and implement a successful strategy to help to develop, scale and build a sustainable business model:
How do we develop and successfully implement a strategy?
The word ‘strategy’ is often associated with complex images of paperwork, encompassing lengthy, complicated spreadsheets, diagrams, and reports, – often deterring business owners from creating and implementing one in their own business. This is reinforced by the fact recent research by BizSmart® indicated that 53% of owner-managers say they ‘don’t have a clear strategy that works towards scalability and growth’.
To scale a business, a strategy must be in place and actions must be taken to ensure its success.
1. People and leadership
For a winning strategy, there must be a strong focus placed on leadership and vision, which is then filtered throughout all areas of the business.
One of the ways to achieve this is by creating a workplace culture that unites all team members in the company’s core beliefs and business goals. Often within the recruitment process, businesses look to hire for experience and skill rather than passion and drive. Hiring an individual based on other factors, such as a positive attitude, passion to learn and hunger to thrive, will prove far more effective than hiring someone who is less dedicated to business growth, but more experienced.
Business leaders often find the word ‘delegation’ a complex one, as owners share the belief that no one knows their business, better than they do. As such, it can be hard to ‘pass on the baton’ and entrust others to lead.
To create an efficient and consistent operation, leadership must be implemented throughout each level of a business, and importance placed on instilling leadership roles within the team and in each department. This will help to build a sustainable business which ensures that its successes are not just reliant on the owner. To do this, it is essential to define job roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities, and create and provide team leaders with a framework to follow, which helps them to know which decisions to make, without referring to or relying on the business owner. This empowers employees to lead with confidence and ensures consistency at each level of the business.
Decision-making is a common phrase among businesses. It can be as simple as where to order the next lot of stationary from, right up to mergers and acquisition decisions. Business owners are tasked with having to make both small and monumental decisions, which can be a daunting undertaking.
Better and informed decision-making is imperative for businesses. But, to be able to make these decisions, a business must have a clear understanding of its core ideology, to ensure that the choices made align with the business vision.
Core Ideology is a consistent business value, and not something that changes – it should be fundamental in defining a business’s identity, establishing who they are, what they do and why it exists. These questions help to inform better decision-making, and to create a successful strategic plan, businesses need to have a strong understanding of their core ideology to frame their decision-making from the outset.
3. Plan and execution
One of the biggest challenges for businesses is knowing how to effectively execute a strategy. Where strategy is focused on ensuring that businesses are ‘doing the right things’, execution is focused on what steps businesses need to take to deliver against those plans.
Often businesses can have an impressive business strategy in place but fall short in their execution. In fact, our statistics reported that only about 10% of businesses manage to be good at both strategy and execution, and these businesses are noted as the ones that outperform their peers.
To effectively execute strategy, a business must analyse its execution habits and business rhythm. Using a framework such as a 90-day plan, enables businesses to ask the question, ‘what does good look like in 90 days’ time?’ or ‘when we meet in 90 days, what must have happened between now and then for us to consider the quarter to be a success?’. By using this framework, businesses can evaluate the steps taken for executing the strategy and action changes, based on the performance. This helps to build a bridge and align everyone around a few key priorities for the quarter, while working towards the long-term vision and results for the business,
A strategy is an important part of business development and should not be met with hesitance or half-heartedness. For a strategy to work, people, mission, and company ethos must align harmoniously to achieve business goals and long-term success.
Kevin Brent, Founder of BizSmart®