As an entrepreneur I know the excitement you feel when your idea starts to take form and you are ready to leap into the world of business. But as a lawyer and business consultant I also know what you need to have in place before you do.
There are a lot of misconceptions about when you need to put in place your strategy road map – some people believe that you only need to do so when you are ready to raise capital. Others think it is a cheap marketing gimmick with little value. And then there are a few who believe that they can run their business with the ideas floating around in their heads.
I’m here to tell you otherwise. If you want to know how to increase your chances of success before you even get started then it is simple – get your strategy in order. It is one of the first things I do with my clients whether they are about to launch their business or their business is already up and running.
1. Your Vision
You need to be clear about your vision – what you foresee your business becoming, achieving and creating. What made you want to set up your business in the first place? What are your ultimate goals? Why are you doing this? Get thinking and write it all down. When your vision is clear, specific and focused it provides stability as you work through your strategy. There can be no deviation from your vision and everyone who is there to support you along the way will know what they are working towards. Your vision is your ultimate goal – reach out into the future and bring it into the now. Keep it in your line of sight as you move forward and always check in to make sure your actions are targeted and aligned with it.
2. Values – Your Unique Fingerprint
We all have a set of values that guide how we think, speak and act. These values are personal to us and are non-negotiable red lines determining how we do what we do and why. What are your values? Brainstorm and write whatever comes to mind. List them, analyse them and go deep. Explain what they mean to you and then expand them into your business. Your values set the tone for your culture and how your business will operate. Your strategy cannot succeed without your values shining bright like the North Star over everything you do.
3. Growth – Linking Vision and Values
Now that you have clarity on your vision and your values, you can link the two and start your roadmap. List your key targets for the next 1, 3, 5 and 10 years. Then prioritise them. Who will do what and how? What do you need to be able to meet your targets? Think from increased capital to marketing strategies to additional team members. Be realistic with your goal setting and define your expected outcomes with as much detail as possible. The more detail you write down, the more your chances of reaching your targets. Fill a wall or all the walls in your office with your notes and timelines and targets – there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your dream come to life on paper. And yes, I mean old school paper. Writing things down has a very different effect than typing it up or seeing it on a screen. Humour me and try it. You can type it all up later.
I’ve been working with entrepreneurs and business owners for the better part of almost 20 years whether in house or as their consultant. I’ve had the chance to facilitate many strategy workshops and witnessing the transformation from ideas to tangible achievable goals is extremely satisfying. So, what are you waiting for? The time to start is now.