A simple guide to defining your business and achieving meaningful goals

Mention the words ‘strategy’ or ‘planning’ to many business leaders and managers and their eyes tend to glaze over. Many I speak to profess their organisation or firm has ‘done it’ but on closer inspection, in reality, they have not, or at least, not that effectively. For many, setting business goals is akin to making New Year’s resolutions, - aspirational but with (some) goals rarely achieved. Often this can be due to a lack of consensus or commitment within an organisation, especially at the top. However, this can also be as a result of the organisation failing to define its business first.

By ‘define its business', I mean gain clarity around some key drivers of the business; for example:

-       Our purpose – why are we in existence?

-       Our vision – what are we trying to achieve?

-       Our values – how should we go about our business?

-       Our value – what is it that our clients really buy?

-       Our services – what do we offer?

-       Our philosophy – what drives us?

-       Our style – how should we present ourselves?

-       Our point(s) of difference – what sets us apart from our competitors ?

Often, finding consensus to these questions can be hard and can result in semantics and verbosity. It needn’t be this way. Recently, I refined a one-page strategy statement (see below) that I have used with some clients who report that the the process has some real benefits:

-       it creates a sense of common enterprise;

-       it provides clarity and gives confidence;

-       it sets boundaries, and

-       it motivates people.

As a rule of thumb, your strategy statement should be BRIEF, literally.

B = believable (by the team)

R = realistic

I = inspiring (to the team)

E = easy to understand

F = focused

Once you have defined your business, you will find it is easier to manage, to make decisions, and to attract the right people.

Simon Tupman