Whatever size business you are in, from a start-up or SME to a global business, you will probably have had teething problems with your strategy. Here are some of the common problems we see!

You forget to consider the importance of marketing
Once you have developed your product or service, it’s not the time to rush the marketing – it all starts with a solid plan and marketing is a fundamental piece. Marketing planning can help you understand the 4 p’s – product, price, place and promotion. This means it will include who your competition is, and how you angle your product to let the USP shine. It will help you decided where to market it (based on digital platforms, or using more traditional methods) and will help you gauge the cost of doing so.

Underestimating project timescales
Have you heard of the planning fallacy? This was proposed in 1979 and is based on the ideas that predicting the time it takes to complete a task set in the future is usually subject to an optimistic bias where we underestimate the time needed, even if knowledge gained from previous tasks suggest that the time will be longer than expected. This is rife in business and when it comes to creating a strategy, beware of the danger of filling Q1 and Q2 with project completion dates, especially if certain projects need to be completed before you can generate revenue – this will affect your whole plan.

Not creating a company mission and vision
This is the framework behind all your plans, strategies, goals and work, so don’t rely on an old vision. Your vision needs to be personal to you and something that inspires – but it also needs to be grounded in logic. You might have a grand mission statement, but ideally your vision will include details such as:

  • Who your target audience is
  • What your service is and does
  • Why you are unique, and/or why the target audience would (and should!) choose you.

Your vision may indeed change due to competitor threats, a changing market and new technology (who had a mobile strategy 10 years ago?) so don’t drag out the same plan you had in 2003 and stick it on the wall!

Stifling creativity in your staff/ business/ service because of goals.
We all know about the danger of goals – consider the story of General Motors who decided that 29 would be their number of focus – teamed with a promise to recapture 29 percent of the American market, the share it had ebbed past in 1999. The number 29 became a corporate mantra, with lapel pins for executives to wear. The goal of reaching 29 became all encompassing, and the initiative failed as risky decisions were avoided in pursuit of the singular goal of 29% market capture. They never did order another set of lapel pins….

By having a specific goal, you may be blinding yourself to fixing issues or problems in a logical order. Ensure you have flexibility and stretch in your targets and numbers, and don’t forget to align your numbers with the ebb and flow of the seasons and other important factors in your sector.

Speak to us today about changing your strategy for a business that shows real growth and development.

Author Derek Findlayson