The Value of a Strategic Plan
In June of 1995, I joined a $9Million company that was losing 10% per year. I was part of team that was determined to turn it around. My job was to write the strategic plan. In July or 1998, we sold that company for $35Million.
We did that because of a 5 step strategy.
The same strategy can work in almost any situation of your business, career, even your life.
How to Build a Basic Strategy
We talk about strategies even in grade school, but rarely does anyone set out a solid common folks’ definition. So here’s one to start with.
Strategy is a dual-natured plan of action. It is a path based on an end goal that entertains and considers all of the information, conditions, and possibilities currently available to the strategist. It is also an ever-changing prediction of forward moving adjustments [tactics] delineated by the responses that occur at each step of the original strategic plan.
Working with strategy of any kind, it comes with the territory to know that, the minute a strategy is worked out, it is outdated. That’s because the information on which the strategy is based has already moved and changed. But to get started, here’s how to build a basic strategy.
1. Know your goal. If your goal is to add public speaking to your resume, that will direct your decisions and your timeline.
2. Define and visualize your goal as completely as possible. What kind of public speaking on what topics? on your own or with a company? speaking on ideas or for a product? Doing this will help you understand what you need to get where you want to be.
3. Define completely where you are now. Are there public speaking events in your skill set? Would people expect to see public speaking in your brochure or resume?
4. Find the gap between where you are and where you want to be.Do this in the most detailed manner. Name all of the pieces you are missing. Do you need more visibility? more training? more expertise? more knowledge? Get it — what’s missing — and introduce it slowly to your customers.
5. Arrange what you’re missing to plant seeds in fertile ground. Pick the one thing of what you’re missing that is closest to what you have. Maybe you’ve spoken before at a club or meeting. Extend that event and do more of that. People who are your clients or friends will expect to see that in your “catalogue of services.” They’ll perceive the change as a natural growth in a direction that makes sense.
6. Continue slowly adding skills for customers to access that move you closer to your vision. In essence, you are building your new persona as you build the market for it. Step-by-step you have moved your audience to a place where they now see you more and more as a person who also is a public speaker as well as what you were before.
PLUS ONE: Do it slowly and with purpose and adjust to the response your customers give you. If you add public speaker outright to your catalogue, you might be the best in the world, but people would never think to look to you for that skill.
By moving slowly you show them that they can expect to find such skills and talents in your offering.
It takes a few turns of the wheel longer, but your returns on the wheel of credibility and attention last and enhance your brand.
Strategy isn’t hard. We simply too often confuse it with tactics.
But that’s another post altogether.
–ME “Liz” Strauss