We’ve all heard it before. The endless, tedious wheedling. Any successful entrepreneur worth their salt has heard that same question on repeat over Q&As. The confident bark from an upthrust hand in the audience.
“Hi, love your work…. Can I just ask, what is your strategy?”
Or perhaps you are consulting. You have finished your presentation, are crackling with energy and vim. You killed it. You’re feeling real fly. The CEO looks over and dashes a bucket of iced water all over your smoking presentation.
“Where does the budget fit in this for our strategy?”
We always feel like groaning when we hear this. Don’t get us wrong, it is not a stupid question. A strategy is necessary in the basest sense of the word. Its literal definition is ‘a plan of action’.
We all need one of those right?
Kind of. Defining goals is important. Defining how you will reach those goals is a plan of action. But here in lies the murky depths of strategic planning.
What we need to succeed in modern business is not a rigid adherence to a prearranged plan. The Internet has brought about a certain dynamism to our dealings. Software, technology and trends are shifting at a dizzying pace.
What was relevant yesterday is already obsolete by today.
For the inbound marketer, the strategy seems like a particularly archaic concept. One that should have been thrown out the window along with the dial-up router.
So how do we combat this?
Stop Being a Dinosaur
The world of the Internet is not frightening. It is complex and there are some deep black holes you can fall into, true. But you need to educate yourself. It doesn’t matter what the size of your business is. Whether a multinational, a box fresh entrepreneur or a small mom-and-pop-style business.
If you are losing money, clientele or leads to the competition due to strategies that are no longer supporting you- it’s time to mix it up.
There is a saying “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, get out of the competition.” By blindly adhering to these strategies, you are missing the dynamic spurt you need. To get the edge and gain that oh so important competitive advantage.
If you think that learning curve is beyond you, then outsource. By outsourcing your website and marketing to an inbound marketing company like The Kingdom, you effectively take the stress off of your shoulders entirely.
Define Your Ambition
What you need is a mission statement. Define your ambitions and then outline the steps and risks you need to take to get there. Your plan of action has to change on a daily basis. There is an argument for long termism on individual goals and indeed the overall business plan.
But do not let it limit you.
Don’t confuse your business plan with strategy, as this is when definitions get muddy. A the end of the day, the strategy needs translating into actions. Actions that generate positives and leads.
We are at War
Inbound marketers are at war. At war with the type of large multinational company that ignores the most important aspect of any business- the customer. Often caught up in targets and obsessed by the numbers game, they are grossly underestimating their customers. By arrogantly forcing their goals and mentalities on the consumer they are ignorant of the damage caused.
Because the Strategy says so!
They are isolating and alienating an already disenchanted customer segment. This valuable untapped clientele is like lost lambs in a storm.
The inbound technique can be likened to opening the barn doors, we provide and they will come. By providing content that customers want to read, you entice them to stay and play.Your big corporation CEO probably won’t understand this methodology. The cost will not be mitigated by the returns in their eyes.
This is dinosaur mentality. We all know what happened to them.
Failure to Recognise Talent
By getting caught up in the strategy, you ignore the capacity to recognise talent.
You dull the blade. Reign in the child. Destroy the spark. Damp the coals. Take the wild card and relegate it to the bottom of the pack. Destroy the Joker. Take any other hackneyed, cliched saying and apply as needed.
Your business needs the catalyst.
That grain of sand in the oyster shell that acts an irritant. It causes a flare up and then a pearl is seeded. Think of enigmatic talent as this seed. You need to be able to act on and employ a talented individual, as soon as you come across them.
Often HR departments and recruiting is defined by a budget which is itself decided annually. How the hell can you make allowances for a wild card talent if you are stuck in long term strategy run budgeting?
The bottom line should always be what will benefit the business and generate more leads. Whether this is investing in new technology or investing in a talented individual with extraordinary skills. You need the freedom to be able to make those decisions quickly.
Don’t get stuck in the Mud
Did you ever play that game stuck in the mud? You would get stuck in the imaginary mud and be unable to move. Rendered helpless while the other team ran circles around you. Out lapping and gaining hits, points and scores while you were restricted and paralysed.
You are essentially playing an adult version of this game by sticking to a bad strategy. But, you know, with actual money. And the other team aren’t your mates, they are your competition. And they are taking your money.
It’s not about one overarching strategy that must be followed. It is about a thousand different tiny strategies, interacting daily and changing daily. If this approach doesn't work, we try this way. If that way doesn’t work we’ll get someone else on board and try from this angle. By getting bogged down in the sticky mud of unnecessary strategies, all we are doing is getting ourselves dirty.
Avoid the Bloodsuckers
Boring. Tedious. Vampiric soul-sucking all the creative juices you so desperately need in modern business.
Sucking the life out of every interaction.
This is the endless rounds of negotiation or strategy planning process. These strategic target setting meetings are an energy suck. If all they do is revolve around numbers and ideas, instead of focussing on the product, the outcome of the customers and actual people involved- you’ve already lost the game.
Lose the vampire in the room.
What’s the Takeaway?
Not all strategy is created equal. It’s really only a problem or bad strategy when it begins to hold you back. This isn’t limited to financial pressures either. It can also limit your capacity for thinking big, taking risks and delivering more. In the business or entrepreneurial world of today, that can equal a death knell. The Internet world will not stop and allow for these sorts of setbacks.
Staying relevant is about incorporating flexibility.
A rigid adherence to strategy is the antithesis of this. Yes, it can be risky to go against the company behemoth of strategy, but more often than not, that is what is holding your business back from reaching its true potential.
Otherwise, your business will go the way of the dinosaurs.