Imagine taking your car into the mechanic for a tune-up.
You want to make sure your vehicle is running optimally. So you have the mechanic go through a full inspection. They top off fluids, rotate the tires, and make sure the engine purrs.
You even get your car fully detailed, inside and out. Your car is running great. It’s operationally sound.
So you drive it back home and park it in your garage…where it sits…
Sure, your car gets used for trips to the grocery store or the short commute to the office.
But it isn’t really going anywhere.
Now suppose you take that same car into the mechanic for a tune-up. But this time, you tell the mechanic about your plans.
You want to drive your car across the country.
So you ask the mechanic what your car needs to get where you want to go.
The mechanic assesses your car and makes a few recommendations. You might need to replace your brake pads sooner than expected. Maybe you’re better off with premium oil instead of standard.
When your car is finished at the mechanic, it’s also operationally strong. But now it’s ready for a drive across the country. And so are you.
What’s the real difference between these two scenarios?
Why Strategy is the #1 Differentiator for Business Growth
Being operationally strong will build you a beautiful business. It can help make your company more efficient and deliver a better product or service. It can even help you, the business owner, buy back some free time.
But operational strength alone won’t help your business grow.
If you want to drive (pun intended) growth inside your company, you need strategy.
Strategy is that perfect blend of vision and execution: the ability to see what you want and create a map for how you’ll get there.
Let’s revisit that cross-country road trip. Getting your car in shape isn’t the only thing you need to do.
You need to choose a destination. “Cross-country” doesn’t quite cut it—who knows where you could end up?
Let’s say you choose to travel from Boston to L.A. Now you really know where you’re headed.
Next, when do you want to arrive. This is essentially how fast you can reach your goal of arriving in L.A. Should the trip take 2 days or 2 weeks?
You may want to get to your destination as fast as possible—although you’ll be limited by things like the speed limit, your need for sleep, and having to stop for gas.
On the other hand, you might want to travel at a more leisurely pace, taking your time, but still working your way toward your goal.
These choices are yours to make, and you need to make them intentionally.
Why Companies Get Stuck on Strategy
I’ve noticed that strategy and strategic thinking often feels hard. There are a few reasons why:
- It requires you to work on the business. Strategy doesn’t happen in the weeds of client services or operations. It requires time and dedicated mental capacity to think things through.
- It sounds like bulls***. Strategy is such a business buzzword that it’s easy to write it off as being meaningless. That’s because strategy is so often discussed in theoretical instead of practical, tactical terms.
- It’s overwhelming. Strategy is about choosing one course of action from a whole bunch of different options. Weighing the factors that go into that choice, and then committing to a particular strategy, can be formidable.
Here’s the good news. Strategy is complex, but it’s not impossible to figure out. And if you’re looking for ways to grow your business, you don’t need to create a strategy from scratch.
There are about 2 dozen strategies that companies use for growth.
All you need to do is discover what those strategies are, choose 1-3 that align with your business, and build a plan to implement them successfully.
That’s exactly what we’re going to do on September 14th during our workshop, How Companies Grow. If you’re ready to take your car out of the garage and get on the road, I hope you’ll join us.