Last week I got a call from a man who wanted to find out if and how I could help his business generate sales online. All of his questions centered around tactical ways to drive business, but as our conversation progressed, it became clear to me that what we needed to be discussing was more strategic than tactical. I said as much to him, and he paused and said, “please explain what you mean.”
Rather than explain, I used an analogy. “Imagine you’ve got a team together to climb a mountain. You get your water bottles ready, you equipment together, you have team leaders, maps, compasses, everything… check, check, check. So you start hiking – your team works well together, you make great time, everything just goes swimmingly and you get to the top… only to realize you climbed the wrong mountain.”
Strategy is figuring out WHICH mountain to climb, and a big-picture plan for how you’ll do it. Tactics are everything that comes after that. In business, figuring out which mountain to climb involves questions like ‘Why are we in this business? Who is our target market? What niche or niches do we serve? What is our business model? Where is the growth in our industry? What is our pricing strategy? What messaging will attract our ideal clientele or customer base? And so on.
Because this gentleman came from a systems and operations background, he viewed business very tactically, and that was proving to be his biggest challenge, he didn’t “see the forest for the trees,” so to speak. He didn’t know which mountain to climb.
No matter what our background is, when we are working in our business day in and day out, we can get mired in the details of that business and can be blind to the big picture.
If you’re struggling with completing projects, assigning tasks and overall execution in business, you’re likely facing tactical issues. But if you’re struggling to attract business, grow your business and know where to focus your assets and energy in the future, chances are the questions you need to answer are strategic in nature.
As someone who values (and enjoys!) strategic planning, ideation and brainstorming, sometimes I forget that not everyone feels the same way.
My advice: every once in a while (at least quarterly), set aside some time – at least a day – to step back from your business and look at the big picture. I do this for clients all the time, and I did it for myself just last week. A whole day just dedicated to answering the big questions: “Who am I?” “Where am I going?” “What am I building?” And most importantly: “What’s next?”
Can’t wait to share what I came up with… Stay tuned!! And if you’re interested in doing some strategic planning with me, let me know! It’s my favorite thing to do. Call or email me anytime.