Monday, February 25, 2013

Business Strategies vs Goals. Why You Need Both!

Most Companies Don't Set Goals - Almost None Create Strategies 

Strategy Defined

What is a strategy?  How does it compare with or relate to a Goal?  Which comes first, a goal or a strategy?  Can you run a business without a strategy?  Without Goals?  Is this post about an academic issue that only applies to Apple and Boeing?

In my last post I laid out the basics of goal setting.  It is a pretty big deal to really sit down and figure out what matters to you personally, and what your major goals are for your business.  Some folks are afraid to do this.  Some just can't seem to find the time.  Some seem to feel that goal setting is not important.  I make the claim that goal setting is the most important thing you will ever do in the marketing success of your enterprise. 

In case you have set your goals, what next.  I know that for me, there is a tendency to immediately go into action.  But going off half-cocked will undermine much of the benefit of having set goals in the first place.  Do I mean by this, that if you set goals, but don't follow through with strategy and tactics, then don't bother to set the goals in the first place?  Not even close!  Goals are the most important, then strategy, then tactics. 

Back to the original question:  What is a strategy?  A strategy is the meat on the bones of the goals.  It is the how of the what.  Each goal should be taken individually from the top priority to the least.  How can the company most effectively use the resources available to it to accomplish the goals.  If the goal is to achieve an increase of 20% in sales, how will the company do that.  Possibilities could include a larger territory, new products, increased prices, more sales units or dollars per invoice, more dollars per client per year, more expensive products, more sales people, etc. 

An evaluation of the choices should result in realistic approaches.  If there isn't much money to spend, then it might be better to increase prices or work to increase the average ticket, neither of which requires any expense.  However, it is important to also measure the likelihood of success of each strategy as you determine which to follow.

At this point you might have a sheet of paper or a spreadsheet with a set of goals, and each of those goals has a list of strategies under it.  You might also include a dollar amount that can be invested in each. 

Hopefully you can see that this process is anything but academic.  If you think it is, tell me in the comments.

Read nextWhat is a business tactic?  After the Goals and Strategies, You Need the Tactics

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