As business owners, we’re always striving for better performance or faster growth. But oftentimes our efforts don’t deliver the higher profits we expect. So, we try something else. . . and then something else. Instead of improving performance, our margins begin to slip.
Growth efforts can take us into unfamiliar territory which ends up blurring what competitive advantage we might have had. We get off track, our performance suffers and running the business just gets harder than it needs to be.
If this sounds like you, pull your team together and work through the following four steps to reconnect to your strategy and get your business back on track:
- First, set aside your current target markets and your list of products and services. Just forget about them as you work through the next two steps.
- Then start listing the capabilities (specific approaches, activities, etc.) that you are good at (not necessarily better than your competition) or great at (something your competitors can’t beat.) Things like “our people” or “better customer service”, while important, don’t count as they are requirements to be in business.
- Ask: What do we do well that has gotten us to this point? Could these capabilities be central to our strategy? Which customers value these capabilities and which ones do not? How different are these capabilities from our rivals?
- Finally–and this is the hard part–bring your current target markets and products/services back into focus and start making choices. Which ones are you going to emphasize and which ones will we you de-emphasize or even eliminate?
Give this a try at your next management team meeting and please let me know how it goes.