7 ways of getting moving when your business strategy is stuck
When a small business owner finds themselves with a business failing to perform they will want to look for a strategy to get the business back on track again. But when your working flat out to make things happen, change what you can and solve the crisis that affects today; it can be a challenge to work out a business strategy that gets the business moving.
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What is needed is quick action, a new business strategy, and a confident approach. Small business leaders need answers, solutions and a new direction quickly.
So what happens when you look to drawing up the new strategy and you find that it is just not there ? When you look you probably find a whole array of problem situations with temporary solutions, a confusing array of potential threats and loads of unreachable opportunities.
Stuck in this situation it can be difficult to find a way out, so here are 7 ways to get moving again.
It seems what is needed is action, problem solving and results. Quite often this can be in the wrong direction and can even make matters worse. So my suggestion is the very first thing to do is to stop, take a step back and take a break.
The key is perspective. A small business owner can get wrapped up in any one of the three key areas of strategy: Sales Strategy, Operations Strategy and Structure Strategy. When you do, your perspective shifts, so center yourself at the core of your business, feel that your in the middle of these three strategies, take a look at the diagram below, picture yourself in the centre of your business.
Get it off your chest with people that can avoid the temptation to give you solutions and can just provide ears to listen. As you talk you will get better perspective of the situation because you will need to frame the problems for someone else's ears, and this means you will shift perspective as you talk. Pick the right person though, they need good supportive ears, and the discipline to avoid suggesting solutions, and still give you a bit of feedback.
Just listen to your market, your industry, your clients, your suppliers. Ask yourself what you can see happening, what the trends are. Just listen, without trying to judge what you hear or defend your business.
4. Look around
You have been talking and listening about your business problems in your market. Now is the time to distract yourself and get away from it all. Turn your gaze outwards to other places, markets and interests, See what is happening, see the flows, the trends and the different perspectives without necessarily referring back to your own market. Just takes a look around and "smell the roses"
5. Let it flow
The desire to take action, sort things out, and get the business back on an even keel, is all very laudable. Certainly action is a key point and without action nothing will happen; but action needs to be in the right direction. So when you have stopped, regained some composure and perspective, talked it through and listened to the world you live in. Take No Action ! Just accept all the information in, draw it in and stay with it to let it all sink in. Action at this point could just be reaction, which may lead to you doing the whole process again. So just wait, take another break and let it all sink in.
OK so now you have some perspective, come back into your business and either alone or with your team have one brainstorming session on either one particular problem area that you have identified that needs a solution as part of the strategy, or a group of business problems in say one area of business strategy, such as sales or operations.
The trick here is to avoid looking for a solution. strange it may seem, but just get the ideas going with you and your team, start from a blank sheet of paper, from the perspective of what would this be like if you we're back to Day 1 of your business in this area, what would you do ? Collect the ideas but no need to look for solutions yet.
The focus here is on one area of your business, avoiding the whole business, that can come later. If you find the exercise useful, then and additional possibility is to do different sessions for different areas of the business over a longer time period.
7. Return to your core purpose
Your final thing to do before you define your new strategy is to go back to your core purpose. What really excites you about this market, this business, your clients, what you do, sell or provide. Why is it that you do this ? What is your real passion ?
Time for action
Now you will be sufficiently be prepared to define a strategy for taking your business forward. This is when you are able to begin to work out the priorities that you will need to take and the overall business strategy you adopt will be from a wider perspective then when you started this process. You are writing your business strategy at this point from the centre of your business, the core, and so a more effective strategy will be developed.
As you work through your strategy you may well find that you had the solutions all along, they we're just hidden. You may find you see that obvious strategy that you felt "you knew all along" and you may wonder why you failed to see it when you needed it. Business owners often get caught up again in one area of business problems, and we can forget or put to one side most of what we know, this process takes you back to the core so you can access what you already know about your business; and you will probably find that you had the answers all along.
Business Strategy is your overall plan for your business, and starts with you and your purpose, your passion and your values. In this way your energy levels, commitment and leadership to the strategy will be higher as it rings true with the very core of you.
Your business strategy is most effective when it comes from a free perspective, one that is not tied up with the daily problems, issues and challenges that are faced by the small business owner. Discipline is needed to free yourself from this, and some of the actions to be taken, or in fact not taken above seem contrary to our natural desire to "sort it out", try it though next time to find yourself stuck, and you will find that freedom and a centered perspective will serve you well in the long term.
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