Twittertalk #Strategy for SME's

Twittertalk #Strategy for SME's

Posted on March 29, 2017

In Inspire we are involved in the development of around 100 new SME's every year.  We know all too well that business owners are turned off by the phrase "strategic planning" as they simply don't know what it involves.  We hope to demystify this in todays article.

Firstly. Strategic planning doesn’t have to take a great deal of time or resources.

We feel that if you follow our 8 step process once a year, which has helped us in Inspire to stay strong as a company, it will keep your focus on activities and goals that will help you to continue growing and improving.

  • Gather your team Inspire shut down our company for a half day team session and gather together. We each take turns leading different areas of the discussion so we all feel ownership in the process and outcomes. Make it an enjoyable event.  Why not head to the La Mon Hotel - ask them about special overnight rates for conference room delegates and make a night of it!
  • Do a SWOT Analysis We plaster the walls with big sticky note poster paper and write down our Strengths and Weaknesses as a company. Then we look outside at the business environment and write down any opportunities or Threats. It is amazing how just this exercise lays out the structure of what we need to work on for the next year.
  • Look at Competitors We don’t always do this in the half day company retreat, but we definitely spend time each year (and throughout the year) looking at our competitors’ websites and social media. We do ask some questions about competitors during our retreat: Where are you seeing our competitors? Where are they challenging us? Any new ones we need to watch out for? We refine our SWOT notes as we talk about competitors.
  • Look at Markets We ask how different customer segments are changing. Are our services still meeting the needs of our customers? Are we getting asked to add any services – or is there any opportunity to do so – in order to help our customers more? Are we communicating regularly with each of our customer segments? Are there any market specific opportunities or threats? We refine our SWOT notes as we talk about different markets.
  • Ask your employees We ask our employees what would help with efficiency? Where are our processes breaking down? What are the top issues you keep running into? What do you think we need to do to get to the next level? We also ask what would make their jobs easier? It always amazes me when the requests are simple – such as floor lamps or an additional monitor at their workstation. Sometimes the smallest things employees want are easily provided and keep morale high.
  • Ask your customers It is helpful to ask a few key customers what you can do to serve them better? Just a few phone calls or meetings will yield incredibly valuable insight into service delivery issues, communication, or even potential new products or services. This can be done before or after the meeting – or get in the habit of doing this throughout the year as you spend time with your customers.
  • Identify your Big Rocks. Dr. Stephen Covey introduced the Big Rocks concept to the world to explain the importance of focusing on the big things first before spending all of your time chasing and taking care of the little things. This concept is absolutely true in business where I see Big Rocks as the things you can do to take your business to the next level. If you don’t take the time to (a) NAME the big rocks, and (b) FOCUS on the big rocks, you will continuously get sidetracked into putting out the daily fires and dealing with the daily tasks before you wake up one day and see that your business has fallen behind.
  • Report Progress Regularly. Decide if you should meet weekly or monthly to report progress in order to ensure your plan is being carried out. The leader at the company needs to make these meetings sacred and hold team members accountable for delivering on the assigned tasks.