By: Michael Knulst, www.sophiq-software.com
Why are you in Business? What is the value of your Business? Are you in the right Business?
We have entered a new era: many of the old business models with their related revenue models don’t seem to work anymore. There is a whole new dynamic and as entrepreneur we have to shift our old paradigms and ways of thinking.
Many consultants emphasize that business strategy is necessary and I agree with that. The main question however is how to do this? In most articles and blog posts I read, the authors only mention that strategy is very important and that’s it.
Being an entrepreneur myself I am much more interested in the next step, how to do this?
Most business owners who struggle are busy with the day-to-day of their business and take action on what’s appealing. They started with some sort of idea on a product or service based on emotional reasons. Instead of developing a solid business plan, they just start enthusiastically without thoroughly thinking their business through. And that’s the tricky art. After all, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Another category is often struggling not only with developing a business plan but developing an overall strategy for conducting business. It’s not always that people don’t know how to develop a plan. Oftentimes small business entrepreneurs do know how but they simply don’t. They think skipping the planning will get them to market sooner.
It often times seems so much easier to conduct small business practices, that a plan would be overkill. However, in small businesses a small mistake can have a greater impact for a longer duration if it’s in regard to a core business model broken or objective lost.
The third category has too much of a focus on earnings instead of value. They lack long-term vision and they are actually digging their own grave. So, in the situations mentioned above we find the main reasons why so many small businesses struggle; they all lack some sort of strategic plan.
Strategic entrepreneurs finally, know their vision, develop different alternatives for its accomplishment and choose the approach they think is most probable.
In the past I have been working quite a lot with the Strategic Business planning process. This usually started with a one or two day brainstorm sessions, somewhere in a nice resort. One of the participants worked everything out and it all ended up in a plan of 25 pages or more.
The only problem was that after this plan was presented, in most cases, everybody started running and nobody ever looked back into the wonderfully produced strategic document anymore.
I eventually found out that Strategic Business Planning does not work for an unknown future, where speed seems to dictate our choices. It occurred to me that in many cases the success of a business is determined by the quality of its Business model.
A Business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers and captures value. In other words; Your Business model represents the strategic blueprint of your organization.
I found it remarkable that many entrepreneurs do not exactly know what their business model is.
For the past 4 years I have been consistently working with developing business models and the first step is to evaluate your current one. Personally I like the business model canvas from Alex Osterwalder. This is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool that allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent and pivot your business model.
Setting goals is an essential step in the strategic planning, no matter what method or canvas you are using. Writing your goals really down is the driving force in order to prevent you from the trap of mediocrity. Written goals provide you with clarity of outcome, which is a prerequisite for becoming an outstanding decision maker.
The irony by contrast however is that most people spend more time planning their summer vacations than they do planning their business. Most people major in minor things.
The majority of SME entrepreneurs invest their time, money and energy on the wrong way! They get caught up in the things that keep them busy but contribute very little to the overall quality of their business and lives.
Once you have your strategy (business model) and goals in place, more than ever, it is of vital importance that your plans are executed fast and without failure. Executing strategy -getting the right things done- has become the new differentiator in today’s economy.
Now it comes upon mastering your focus so that achieving your goals happens quickly and automatically.
The primary benefit of mastering goal setting and focusing on their realization is that you are in control. The overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs are so caught up in the urgent activities of daily business that they seem to be sprinting in a dense fog. They have become business runners; they are running hard but going nowhere. They’ve confused activity with accomplishment.
In order to keep your focus on your goals I prefer to work with roadmaps. A strategic road map for example, is a visualization of your business blueprint with a clear overview of what actions are needed to help your company achieve its long-term goals for success.
It connects the dots for people in your organization by showing everyone how their everyday actions fit with the company’s vision of where it wants to be in the future.
The right roadmap supports the alignment of strategy, execution and control, making organizations successful in implementing their strategic goals fast.
The world is changing fast, technology is changing fast, markets are changing fast and people’s interests are changing fast. Great business is about speed. Speed is the new currency in business; the faster you move, the more you’ll learn.
I know lots of entrepreneurs that have been struggling with their business in order to get it going. They want to make a difference and help themselves, their families, their employees and customers succeed. They want more and they apply themselves, they get outside of their comfort zones, acquire new skills, work like crazy, make mistakes, fail but they’ll never did quit.
Quite honestly I am convinced that because of this drive and persistence combined with a clear vision and strategy, a sound mindset and the right instruments, success is inevitable.
My American mentor has a saying that I would like to share with you:
“In business and life there are only two options: Either you win….., or you learn.”
About the author
Michael has over 25 years’ experience as business founder, start-up director, business development manager, sales driver, ceo and philanthropic advocate.
He made over 80 million dollars on business for the companies he has worked with and is currently occupied with his fifth start-up, Sophiq.
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