Business Strategy By A Business Consultant

Make Time for the Long Game

In my role as a business consultant, I find myself sitting in front of brilliant people who want to progress their business to the next stage but who’ve hit a roadblock. It’s tough and sometimes disheartening but they’ve recognised it and they are taking action.

How do you know if this is you? My rule of thumb is that you find you’re dealing with the same set of problems week in, week out.

If this is the case, then your business is effectively floundering and needs nudging forward. It’s stuck. It needs a review; a rethink; repositioning, a new set of positive progressive problems, if you will.

Your business clearly needs a strategy, and it won’t come up with one by itself. Trouble is, ‘strategy’ is a word that divides and confuses much of the business community. 

The dictionary definition of ‘Strategy’ is: a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim. 

Strategy is about shaping the future. You move between where you want to go (ends) and what you need to get there (means). It’s a mixing pot of facts, guesswork, rationale, and creativity. A lovely soup. 

The key is to keep strategy simple. Why? Because complexity is difficult to communicate, that’s why. But ‘simple’ doesn’t mean there’s fewer minds working on it.

As Max McKeown says in his excellent The Strategy Book*: “Strategy is not a solo sport”. Everyone in your business can and should be involved in the creation of your strategy. Everyone! And the process can be fun, engaging and unifying.

Why, then, is it omitted so often from the business calendar? In my experience, it’s three factors:

Time. You don’t have enough of it.

Confidence: You’ve never done it before.

Objectivity: You can’t see the wood for the trees.

The solution? Just give it a go. Stop avoiding it and give it a goddamn go, just like Day One when you started your business. Try it, dammit!

Business Strategy Made Clear

So where was I? Ah yes: sitting in front of brilliant people; brilliant people like you, who are doing all the right things… except looking after the future position; the strategy.

Fortunately, that’s where Clear Ideas comes in.

Firstly, we’ll solve all three of the problems listed above by prioritising the task of creating a strategy. We’ll make time. I’ll lead you through it. We’ll look at it from all angles.

Secondly, we’ll discuss, openly and without restraint, what we want the future of your business and the people in it to look like, then what we want working in the business to feel like. We’ll go for it and explore all possibilities and eventualities. Got a practical wish list? Slam it in! What’s the dream? Stick that sucker on the table too.

Thirdly, we’ll take this information, scratch it down and drill into what we think is realistic and what is a load of old… well, less brilliant stuff.

It really is this simple. We’ll thrash it out together as a team and decide clearly and calmly where we want to go, and how we will get there.

Then what? We document, communicate and review. 

Eventually, you’ll get so good at it, you won’t need me. It’ll become as much a part of your business landscape as opening the doors at the start of the day.

I’m ready to help. Let’s make soup; let’s strategise!

 *Want a head start? Read Part 3 of The Strategy Book by Max McKeown.