A while back, I was discussing the planning process with a colleague of mine who has some great ideas and, more important, a lot of passion for a possible new business venture. However, he seemed to be bogged down in the details. This is possibly my own fault as he’s heard me talk about some of the elaborate plans I have compiled with clients in the past that have exceeded 100 pages at times.
The important thing to remember is that all clients, whether they created a 100-page plan or one on the back of a napkin, are taught how to use that written strategy as an actual tool and not just a document to sit and collect dust. It’s not about the length of the plan, or even how beautifully it’s written, but that it will actually be implemented. It’s always better to have a mediocre plan that is executed with a high degree of energy and passion.
So I tried to create a better sense of focus through these three pieces of advice:
- Keep it simple to differentiate. Think in terms of two or three key elements that will truly differentiate your service and add value. The aspects of a business that attracts clients are usually the simplest: you can save them money, you can make them money, you can make their lives easier, etc.
- Keep it simple when targeting. Think of the top one or two sectors of your industry that really need your help the most. Whether they are individuals, small businesses, large corporations, or people that like to jostle those advertising signs on the corners during rush hour. Whatever the targets are, just pick one or two to start. You can always add target markets or change course but it’s better to begin with some positive activity towards your goal than to languish in analysis paralysis.
- Keep it simple on paper. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate plan. Some of the best plans that are written are short but it’s the supreme implementation and execution that has made them successful. It’s not about the length of the plan. It’s about focus and what will actually get done.
So feel free to scribble the outline of the next great restaurant chain, financial services company, or cold brew on whatever you find handy to write on. Just make sure you begin implementing that first step by tomorrow. Also make sure that if you write your plan on a black cocktail napkin that you have a silver colored Sharpie.
Do you need a some assistance in developing your strategy for the coming year? Regardless of your budget, BTC has a number of tools and options to help you from our free white paper — When Your Formula Doesn’t Add Up — to full strategic planning facilitation.