Updated: Feb 16
I firmly believe that having a strategy behind your business is the only way to build solid foundations and achieve the growth you desire within your work and personal life.
We can be bogged down with day-to-day operations in the customer service industry, so it can be challenging to focus on the bigger picture. After all, you become the electrician, plumber, HR expert, marketing guru and so on…
So why create a strategy?
Creating a strategy becomes one of the most important aspects of being a successful owner.
More often than not, we have a lot of ideas or plans in our heads, or have you ever felt that you were working on impulse because suddenly, when you wake up, a task becomes really important to do right now, right here today?
I was talking to a member not long ago, organising her diary to feel more on top of things, and she said: “it’s all well and good, but even if it’s in my diary, I will more than likely do something else on the day as I have become so impulsive”.
I replied: “I don’t mind if that’s what you want to do, but so far, your way of working is stopping you from enjoying your business and having a lot of sleepless nights, so at some point or another, you have to work differently to achieve different results.”
Here lies the problem: reactiveness has taken over our lives. I have seen it repeatedly; we think and act without much planning or thought, which may have worked for some of you so far. However, I have witnessed that it will hinder your growth and well-being at some point or another. It will also send mixed messages to those around you, especially if you manage a team.
Now here is the thing: I believe that if you have never managed to have a long-term 5-year plan or the pandemic has thrown your vision out the window, that’s ok. There is far too much pressure in having everything figured out, which makes people panic… my most said phrase since the beginning of 2020 has been “calm down, can we calm down!!”.
It’s ok to work as we go along but knowing what you want to achieve at least by the end of the year is crucial as it will help you to bring you back to a plan when things go awry, motivate those around you and create a sense of accomplishment.
One key question I was asked while designing a strategy for one of my members was to understand the difference between a business and a marketing strategy.
Ultimately, they can be seen to be very similar.
One way of looking at it is that the business strategy becomes your focus and what you want to achieve; the marketing strategy is the fuel to accomplish that.
I have to say that it can feel similar in some instances, especially when you start thinking about the growth of your business. Still, one way to start your business strategy is to create a SWOT analysis (STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS) on every single area of your business: reception, retail, team, procedures, standards, managers, marketing and so on.
With that, you can review in each area whether marketing can help influence them for the better. For example, can your marketing strategy incorporate recruitment by encouraging the team to find you staff in exchange for a fee if the new employee passes their probation? The marketing can be engaging rather than in passing conversation (leaflet, in-house poster etc.).
In all, by having a strategy for your business, you will find that you work further in advance, encouraging you to delegate the day-to-day as you will enjoy planning ahead. I love to work 3 months in advance for a quarterly strategy, so I plan January, February and March in October.
One of the key aspects of creating your strategy is to take time away from your business. Look at the first lockdown; how much did you achieve because you had that downtime? Take a day, weekend or week in an Airbnb or local hotel but whatever you do, be in an environment that makes you feel creative and comfortable. It will feel so powerful that you managed to take that step away (without any distractions, I should add!) that you will want to continue working this way. Taking your senior management team with you is even better if you have them.
The marketing strategy becomes part of your overall strategy, and creating a 3-month plan to work alongside your business strategy is what brings your brand to life.
Enjoy creating! And contact us if you have any questions; we are always here to help.