Strategy & Tactics

Strategic Planning 101: Create Your Business Strategy

Since you landed on this blog post, you're likely tackling a business challenge too massive to take on solo. Whether you're aiming to launch a groundbreaking product, boost your business metrics, or revolutionize your industry, you're probably wondering how to build a dynamic team that will help you succeed. 

Brilliant business concepts deserve an exceptional team to follow through. And yet, the truth is that great teams do not magically come together. It takes more than bringing together a skilled group of tech wizards, creative designers, or savvy marketers. Without effective leadership and guidance, such a group will fall short of becoming a high-performing team.

From what I've experienced, a clear strategy is the first step toward building a high-performing team. When it's not there, you can see teams getting confused by a lack of strategic direction, which impacts team dynamics and individual performance.

In this post, I will guide you through how to define the three layers of your business challenge:

  • Ambition: Why your team will collaborate.
  • Strategy: How you plan to achieve your long-term goal.
  • Roadmap: What you'll do to succeed.

Lead with purpose

As a leader, your journey begins with creating an inspiring vision: a description of a future that sparks energy in your team. No matter your reasons for bringing your team together—righting wrongs, enhancing outcomes, or disrupting industries—frame your vision as a goal that concisely communicates your aspirations.

One of your most important tasks is to instill a sense of purpose that helps rally the team behind you. It starts with clarifying your business vision. What do you want to achieve? How do you plan to go about it? Why is it so extraordinary? It's three simple questions for which you need to have simple answers that motivate a team to follow you. 

Some leaders have charisma and ease for communicating what they want, their plan to make it happen, and why it matters. Others know what they want but struggle to find the right words to communicate. To be honest. If you’re in the latter group, it’s worth doing the work to fix it.

Map your business strategy

With your purpose as a guiding light, it's much simpler to think out how you plan to reach your long-term goals. Consider strategy as a game plan on how you and your team will achieve ambitious goals.

That said, there are four core strategies that you should take into account while charting your business course:

  • Marketing Strategy: Who is your target audience, what is your value proposition, and how will you position your product in the market?
  • Sales Strategy: How will you turn leads into customers?
  • Product Strategy: What improvements will make customers happy?
  • Operations Strategy: How can you optimize internal processes?

When you are ready to scale, you might want to think about these supporting strategies as well:

  • Human Resources Strategy: how will you attract the right talent?
  • Financial Strategy: how will you handle budgeting, forecasting, fundraising, and cash flow management?
  • Customer Service Strategy: how will you interact with customers when they need your help?
  • Innovation Strategy: how will you identify and chase new business opportunities?
  • Partnership Strategy: who will you collaborate with to expand your reach and capabilities?
  • Social Responsibility Strategy: how do you plan to be a positive force for society and the environment?

Though fair is fair, not all strategies might be relevant for your team. It all depends on the work your team needs to get done.

Zoom out to develop a strategy roadmap

It’s your responsibility to ensure your team is working in the right direction. A strategy roadmap is your multi-year game plan for business success. And you know what people say: if you can't explain it simply enough, you don't own it well enough. 

See it as going into eagle mode, an all-seeing perspective of the road ahead highlighting the strategic milestones for the coming years without going into the nitty-picky details. You want to make it seem simple enough that it creates excitement about the road ahead.

Much like a cartographer mapping uncharted territories, your strategy roadmap serves as your guide toward your goal. It consists of three key elements: the journey, the lanes, and the timeline.

If you have never worked with a strategy roadmap before, take a look at how to develop a strategy roadmap using an example from my management consulting days.

That’s it

As you work through this strategic process, remember that practice makes perfect. It might feel a bit overwhelming at first. But you'll get a feel for what your milestones are realistic enough over time.

The next step? Design a team primed for successfully executing your strategy.

Want to learn more about building high-performing teams?