“Defining a simple long-term vision 10-25 years out and deciding on a handful of priorities for the next quarter are the two most important decisions a business leader makes.”
As accountants here in North Carolina, we’ve learned from our own experience and that of our clients that there’s a huge gap between “This is what I need/want to do in my business” and “This is what I’m going to achieve today”. No matter how many great ideas business owners have, it still comes down to the question of what takes my time and priority every day. What’s the first thing you work on when you get into the office? What notes do you jot down at lunch, or after you get home? Are you just sending emails and making phone calls and barely keeping your head above water?
We could spend days on end telling you all about best business practices, good business strategy, and how to develop a strategic plan. But that’s not what you need. What you need is (correct us if we’re wrong) the actual implementation.
There are a lot of business books out there that tell you what the best businesses do. One book we’ve found to really change our business and those of our clients is called ‘Mastering The Rockefeller Habits’ by Verne Harnish – it’s not about theory, it’s about tools that help you with the ‘how to’.
One of the “how to’s” is a one-page strategic plan. It’s an incredibly simple tool that will help direct your thinking, your business plans, and your life so that you actually achieve what you set out to do – that as time goes by, you’ll begin checking off more and more of the items on your list (and a few things that aren’t), and staying focused on getting the business where you want it to be.
You can actually download the one-page strategic plan for free, and we’d encourage you to do so. That’s just the first step, though – it works best if you get help to put it together, and we’ve got experience to do this with you. Why not download the plan, and then come in and talk to us about it?
Meanwhile, here are a few points from Verne’s book that may strike a chord with you:
- The ‘x’ factor: Make sure you identify the chokepoint in your business model and industry, and then get control of that chokepoint.
- Keep everything stupidly simple. “If your strategies, plans, decisions, systems, etc. seem complicated, they are probably wrong.”
- Some businesses are different from others, but it doesn’t matter to the customer, and other businesses do what the customer wants, but so does everyone else. Make sure your strategy works.
- “Until your people are ‘mocking’ you, you’ve not repeated your message enough.
- The way to grow your business so that it’s fun and profitable, means the discipline of finding the right tools and actually implementing them.
- “The two most important attributes of effective leaders are their abilities to predict and to delegate.”
- If the vision of the business seems very clear to you, it’s possible that along the way it has become muddled and unclear to everyone else. Strategic planning will clear out the gunk and make the waters crystal clear again.
- Having core values is not something you create: it’s something that exists already, and you draw it out. “The key is not what core values an organization has but that it has core values at all.” (Jim Collins) Read about the Holden Moss core values here.
Note: The One Page Strategic Plan is copyrighted 2011 Gazelles, Inc., and is provided here as a resource for you.