As a consultant, I have had in-depth conversations with hundreds of business owners about their businesses. During these talks, I always ask, “What is the one thing that you need to get your business to the next level?” The most common answer is “more customers to increase sales,” which is a good answer. My next question is, “What is your plan to attract more customers to your business?” I often hear things like “We have been doing <insert advertising tactic here> and <insert business tactic here>, but we are not getting the results we want.” The inference is that despite unfavorable results, there isn’t a strong enough impetus to change their core strategy, but there is hope that things will change (eventually).
If your business is not achieving desired results, you should re-examine and perhaps revamp your core business strategy. Useful tools for my clients undergoing this process include the creation of a one-page strategic plan, a one-page business plan and a one-page marketing plan.
Your core strategy provides a road map to get you from where you are to where you want to be, but it also provides a touchstone to make better business decisions. The business strategy should answer the following questions:
- How will you find and maintain customers?
- How will you create competitive differentiation?
- What is your competitive advantage?
- What is in your playbook to compete and win?
As business people, we can get “stuck” (i.e., blind spots, analysis-paralysis, biases, etc.), choosing not to make any changes and thus maintaining the status quo. You can become unstuck and improve your business savvy by bringing individuals like the following into your business circle of trust:
- A mentor
- A coach
- A group of business peers
- A consultant
Hope (confident expectation) is not a replacement for a business strategy. However, hope coupled with faith (trust and assurance) in yourself and your dreams can carry you through the trials and tribulations on your journey to success.