A business strategy is a set of guidelines created to reach a specific business goal. Strategies can range from annual budgets to individual marketing strategies for the release of new products. Without a coherent overall strategy, a small business has no road map to follow when pursuing opportunities and running daily operations. The consequences of not having a comprehensive business strategy can be severe.
Lack of Objectives
Without a coherent strategy, your company does not have identifiable business objectives. Your company lacks the focus needed to achieve corporate goals and develop plans that will move the company forward. A lack of objectives means that your company does not have a clear vision for the future. If you don’t know the goals and objectives you’re reaching for, how do you know when you’ve accomplished them? Objectives are used to develop long-term growth and productivity plans that are essential for the sustained success of your organization.
Resources Not Properly Allocated
Business plans and strategies are used to allocate corporate resources into projects and operations that need them. When there is a lack of planning, or planning is not coherent, it’s difficult to create budgets for special projects and understand the personnel and funding resources necessary to launch new products and grow the company. Instead, leaders disperse funds “on the fly,” as managers request them, without a budget to compare against. Dispersing funds this way, a company can then find itself short of funds for critical activities such as payroll and paying vendor invoices. The adage, “failing to plan is planning to fail” – often attributed to Ben Franklin – certainly applies here.
Unclear Organizational Structure
Part of business planning is identifying the people in charge. Some businesses prefer having a highly structured hierarchy, while others are more loosely organized. Whichever method you prefer, make it clear to everyone. This establishes responsibility for the success of each department and helps staff know who to report to for clarification of job duties or questions. Without a coherent business strategy, the company structure is not defined and there is no focused effort for employee and corporate development.
Communication Flow Not Coherent
The efficient processing and distribution of information is essential for the success and growth of your small business. A business strategy establishes lines of communication and allows employees to understand information priority, the flow of information in and out of the company and how information is distributed internally. Without a strategy, there is no formal structure for communication and important information can get lost. Each employee will naturally focus on what he believes is important, which may or may not align with yours.
Take Action: Identify Your Purpose
You know the purpose of your business. It’s the reason you started the company. Don’t assume, however, that employees and even managers know the purpose. Perhaps you think they certainly should know it because you’ve discussed it many times. Still, it needs to be a clearly written explanation so that everyone can understand it. Some companies create their mission statement as their purpose. It’s the company’s reason for existing.
Develop a Fluid Plan
Through strategic planning, you can map out how your company will achieve its mission or purpose. Be wary, however, of going into too much detail in your plan. The business climate is a fluid one, changing due to many factors, including industry advances and the state of the economy. If your strategic plan is too detailed it will be difficult to adjust course even slightly when you need to. Your plan should indicate to everyone the direction the company is headed towards its mission, but be flexible enough to change course as needed.