Strategic Thinking

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Many times someone goes into business so they can “control their own life.” In reality, unless you understand how to build a strategic business, you usually end up with less control than you started with. Instead of having all of the headaches of ownership on top of getting your “job” done you might as well stay and work for someone else. At least then you can go home at the end of the day with a paycheck in hand and not have to worry about clients, getting new business, paperwork, paying the taxes and filling out the city, state, and federal forms that pile up. If you are going to be in business for yourself you might as well do it right and build an organization that allows you to achieve what you want and live life the way you desire. Building a strategic business will allow you to create the value you desire for your clients and for you and your family as well.

Being successful means balancing short-term projects with a long-term strategy. In the short-term you need to make sales, deliver results, and earn the money necessary to keep your doors open. At the same time you must put on your strategic thinking hat and think long term about your business, the true value of what you deliver, who you really want and should be marketing to, and how to go about building your organization.

The strategic business is based on a thought process that is more concerned with looking ahead, looking at where you are going, and how to get there. Even if you already know what services you are taking to which markets, you will still need a strategy to get there. Many times when the effort is put forth people discover that in fact they do not know the right services and products and they may be off on the best fit of possible markets. Only through a comprehensive strategic effort can you prove that what you are doing is right or make the course corrections that you may need to make.

Strategic thinking is based on three distinct disciplines: analysis, planning, and implementation. It is critical to devote time and energy to both analysis and planning so that you can maintain positive momentum in the implementation phase.

It is common to want to jump right into implementation. We see someone do something successfully and so we decide to adopt the same strategy and “go to it.” If you jump right in without the proper analysis and planning, you are probably in for a few surprises. What works for someone else may not work for you. Based on your value system, likes and dislikes, and long-term goals you may be better served with a different approach to business then your competitor or friend.

A sound strategic business does not take shortcuts. Rely on the fact that you must do the proper analysis and spend time planning if you are going to successfully implement your strategic mission.

Building a strategic business is a process. It is not an event. It happens over time. It is a journey to build a strategic business–your strategic business. You will need to decide that you’re tired of the old way and that you want to make changes. If you put forth the energy and work at it, you will be able to build your business and have the type of successful organization you’ve always desired. And, somewhere along the way you will gain control over your personal time as well.

Exercise:

Take a blank sheet of paper and on it list three people whom you admire. They can be alive or deceased. They can be real of fictional. For instance three people whom I really admire are my grandfather, President Lincoln, and the original astronauts.

Once you have your three people, list after each person all of their personal traits that you admire. For example, for the original astronauts I have listed that they were brave, mentally tough, creative, smart, visionary, adventurous, and motivated by challenges.

Now here is the tough part. Next to each of these characteristics I want you to put a number from one to ten with ten being the highest. This number should represent how you see yourself with regards to this trait.

All buildings are built on a foundation. The stronger the foundation, the better the building is equipped to last a long time. Your personal and business foundation is based on your values. This exercise will help you think about what you admire, seek, and desire. Once you have this information you will be ready to look at issues we’ll be discussing in future issues of this ezine.

The Strategic Business balances the necessities of the present with the vision of the future and creates a roadmap of how to close the gap between the two. Now you’re on the road to Building A Better Biz!

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