There’s a tipping point for every entrepreneur; the point when enough is enough.
At first, the long hours, networking, sending invoices, launching new products and services — it’s all a thrill. You’re building something from the ground up and every new day brings surprises.
As you begin to find and own your niche as a business owner, however, the need for organization starts to outweigh the rush of chaos. You slowly realize that it’s time for you to run your company instead of allowing your company to run you.
From my perspective, this is the point when a shift occurs. The CEO mindset takes over that of the entrepreneur and the main difference between the two? Strategy.
Strategy is a word that gets thrown around a lot, especially in business.
As daunting as it may sound, strategy is really just being thoughtful. You’re building a plan and in doing so, are better able to make decisions both proactively and reactively.
Here’s how to put together and use strategy to more effectively manage your business.
A Good Strategy Guides the Efforts Across Your Areas of Internal Management
Every business operates with a variety of departments, or areas of internal management. These departments are relevant, regardless of business size.
For example, say you’re a solopreneur. You may not think an area of internal management like facilities would be relevant to your operations, considering you work from home the majority of the time.
But once you outline the strategy you are able to make more effective decisions. Let’s say your strategy is a plan to work from home X number of days per week. Additionally, you factor in a number of nearby coffee shops to work at and/or co-working spaces for client meetings. You probably already know this and it feels obvious, but the minute you’re faced with a choice — such as whether to purchase office space — you can go back to your strategy and see if your needs have changed. Use what you know about your departmental needs and goals to make more informed decisions.
A Good Strategy Prevents Against Emotional Decision-Making
If you’ve ever been in the market for a house, or even on the hunt for a new apartment, you’ve probably gotten emotionally attached to real estate. Without a clear plan in place prior to the search process, it’s much easier to start making exceptions around what you think you want versus what you actually need.
This is why it’s always a good idea to lay out a clear list of must-haves, nice-to-haves, and don’t-needs prior to looking at any listings. When you spend time crafting a plan and strategically think through what’s needed for you to be successful, it becomes much easier to remain logical with your decision-making when in the moment.
A Good Strategy Encourages You to Take a Step Back
A beautiful consequence of the strategic planning process is that it requires you to take a step back from the daily grind of operations.
I, for example, take Fridays “off.” There are no client meetings scheduled, no long list of to-dos — just me, periods of introspection, and reflection on the current state of my business. I review, measure and refine my strategies. It’s a great way to check in on where operations are in relation to goals set and adjust any plans for implementation as a result. This is one of the many great things about being a small business; the ability to pivot quickly.
Take three steps back, look at what your reports say, and get familiar with the story they’re telling. If you need more help building, implementing, and aligning goals to your financial strategy along the way, Officeheads is here to help.