Let me clarify — wrong for YOUR business.

Your strategy should be as unique as you are.  If you can delete just a few key words and your plan is unidentifiable as yours, it may not be the strategy you need.

Strategy doesn’t begin with deciding what steps you will take to meet your goals.  It starts well before that.  It begins with your company DNA and an understanding of why your customers do business with you.  Without those foundational elements, your strategy misses the mark.

Company DNA

The company DNA is the combination of the core purpose or passion – the reason your business exists – and the values inherent in the organization. DNA drive everything in your company and it sets you apart from your competition.

Your position in the marketplace

Your customers choose to do business with you.  What is it that compels them to select you over others in a crowded market?  If you don’t know, there is one sure way to find out – ask them!

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats you face help round out your market niche and how you can leverage your unique position.

Armed with the info above, you can better define the products and services you provide with clarity which allows you to sharpen your brand and target your audience.

Now plan your strategy

Your strategy will set the goals you are trying to attain along with the steps you will take to achieve them.  They should leverage your unique purpose, values, and niche.  Every goal and action must be specific nad have owners responsible for driving them.

If your strategy isn’t more than a list of goals, doesn’t capitalize on the elements that make you unique, and and doesn’t leverage your strengths, it isn’t the right strategy for you.


There are three essential elements to a good corporate strategy:

1.  Know yourself.  You have to know who you are and why your company exists.  Everyone needs to be part of a bigger purpose and reason to come to work for you.  It’s the DNA of your company.  As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.”  You can always tell when someone – or some company – is trying to be something they are not.

2.  Know your market.  Understand why your customers choose to buy from you and what makes you unique.  In today’s market, they have choices.  What makes them decide to do business with you?

3.  Decide what you have to do to win.  Set the goals and activities that will get you to where you want to go. 

Companies often think that step 3 is their strategy, but by itself it is incomplete.  It takes all three elements to define your strategy and let it drive your operations.

Like most entrepreneurs, you are used to digging in and doing whatever needs to be done. That’s how you started and built your business. It’s part of you. It’s in your nature. It’s the reason you are where you are.

But there comes a season where you can’t do it all and it seems like something is missing. Things that used to operate like clockwork just aren’t clicking anymore. You worry when you are out of the office. You wish you had more time in the day – to accomplish more and to spend more time with your family.

It happens to everyone who has a growing business. See if these statements hit close to home:

  • There is a lack of accountability on my team.
  • It seems like all my team does is fight fires.
  • I’m not sure everyone is on the same page.
  • “Tom” causes trouble but he hits his numbers and I can’t afford to lose him.
  • Our expenses are growing faster than our revenues.

Sound familiar?

If it does, it is time for a gut check. As the leader, what are you going to do about it? These problems won’t go away on their own, and they are likely to get worse. You can do one of three things: 1) pretend not know there are problems, 2) spend more of your time and effort to “fix” the problems yourself, or 3) you can ask for help.

Option 1 does nothing to resolve the issues. Option 2 means you have less time devoted to growing the business, less time for your family, and a lower likelihood of driving the results you need. Option 3 – asking for help – gives you best chance to get your team aligned, drive accountability in the organization, and gives you the freedom to focus on the vision for the company. And wouldn’t it be great to take time with your family knowing that your team was operating at a high level?

If this is where you find yourself today, find someone with the experience and expertise to help you. You need a fresh perspective from someone who isn’t caught up in the whirlwind of your daily business so you can right the ship.

Don’t miss out on better results at work. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to invest more of yourself in your family and your passions.

Your business is growing. You’ve got a great product or service, you know your customers, and you’ve assembled a stellar team. But something has changed. Profitability has slipped, tasks take longer to complete than they should, or your team is frustrated. What’s going on?

You are a victim of your own success. Every business owner goes through it. It is part of the maturation process for any business.

What are some of the reasons you’ve gotten here?

You need to quantify your sales pipeline. Are you investing time in customers or entire market segments that aren’t profitable? Are the wrong types of opportunities taking away resources from more valuable opportunities?

Your systems haven’t kept up with your growth. Systems can be tools, processes, and software. As your business grows – in volume, the number and type of offerings, or complexity – you need to re-evaluate how your team executes the critical business tasks required to meet your customers’ needs and make changes as necessary.

Your team is confused or out of alignment. You’ve added people and maybe even entire departments. Valuable, productive employees who once had their hands in all aspects of the business aren’t sure who does what any more. Efforts are duplicated or worse, missed completely. Everyone is working toward different goals. The company culture you’ve built begins to change.

The bottom line is you are fighting fires. The cost of fighting fires manifests itself when you don’t have time to cast your vision for the company or nurture the company culture. You and your team are busy, but your aren’t effective or productive.

Growing companies will go through challenging periods or even seem to stall. It’s a natural part of the process. The key is to make sure you evaluate the root cause and understand the reason(s) why and take decisive corrective action.

The calendar has flipped to a new year, and that means one thing: businesses and individuals have set goals and made resolutions, all with good intentions. But good intentions alone won’t get you to your goals.

People innately want something to strive for, something to make us stretch and grow, something to make us better, something to let us know we won, that we achieved something. However, all too often we don’t set ourselves or our businesses up for success.

You can change that this year. And it all depends on what you do first. We usually don’t fail because the goal is unachievable or too big; we fail because we don’t plan well.

Yes, like many things, your preparation is key to reaching your goals. No doubt it will take hard work and perseverance, but you won’t reach the point where hard work and perseverance matter if you don’t start off right.

So what steps can we take to improve our chances for this year being the year we hit our goals?

First of all, set a goal and make sure everyone on your team knows what it is. You may be thinking to yourself that this is basic and we should be beyond it. But check yourself before moving on. Can your team clearly articulate what your goal is for 2017? Do they know what their individual contribution toward achieving the goal should be? If the answer to these two questions are “no”, then one of two things happened: you didn’t set a goal or you didn’t communicate it well.

Ask yourself if your goal is clear and not some vague idea or mushy feel good statement. You can use the SMART goal approach as a guide. SMART goals are commonly defined as those that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. There are resources you can find online to dig into that topic if you need a more detailed explanation.

Once you have a clear goal, make sure you have communicated it clearly to your team (even if your team consists only of your significant other and their only role is to cheer you on and hold you accountable). The most experienced manager can’t help you hit your goal if they don’t know what it is.

Second, create a plan that moves you toward your goal. We’ve all heard “hope is not a strategy” and it is not. If you want to reach a goal or destination of any kind, you have to know how you are going to get there. Write down specific actions you will take to achieve your goal and then do them.

Next, make sure you have the resources to achieve your goal, and make sure your resources are focused on the goal. Your goal is important or you wouldn’t have committed yourself to it. If it is important, make sure you invest the effort and money it deserves. Do you need different tools or software? Do you need to change your processes? Do you need to learn a new skill or hire people who have experience in certain areas? Like a car with no fuel, a goal with no resources is going nowhere.

Finally, report on your progress. Reaching a goal of any worth is a journey; you won’t do it in a day. (If you do, your goal wasn’t significant enough.) You and your team both want to know if you are winning the game. Celebrate your progress as you move closer to hitting your goal and hold yourself and your team accountable when you don’t.

Taking all these steps won’t guarantee you will hit your target – very few things are certain in life. You can be certain though that there are things you can do to make this the year you make progress toward your goals.