Does your business strategy ever get a true breather? A break in the action for a few moments of clarifying thought? Here’s a really simple idea to get you re-focused back on priorities – at any time of the year.
You might think you already do this. It’s called annual budgeting. Or strategic planning. That thing that most companies do for a few weeks every year to satisfy the accounting and planning teams. The people who need numbers to drop into the forecast for the new year.
If you are doing this, it’s probably just once a year. And with the same template. So you are unlikely to unearth the bigger issues or opportunities available to you.
What I’m talking about is a business strategy project. Or a brand management project.
The process begins with a hard stop on everything you are doing. I mean everything. Unless it is crucial to the business staying afloat.
It can be done department by department to make it less painful on the organization. But this isn’t just a marketing or executive level conversation. In fact, starting at the bottom can offer a granular look at the total efforts of the company.
It lets you not only see everything that’s being done, but it can also show you to what extent those things are supportive of a larger departmental or corporate set of objectives.
And if you do this right, a big long list of everything being done gets presented to a few bigger thinking people who get to ask a big fat, really fun question:
Why are you doing that?
And everyone involved in doing it gets to shake in their boots for a minute. Or confidently explain the reason. Whether it makes sense or not.
So here’s the point: Organizations start off with all the best intentions. And departments (as well the people in them) are trying to do the right thing. But often the people and departments have too much flexibility. So they start working off strategy. Money and resources get put toward projects or efforts that are not core to the marketing strategy or are off-brand strategy.
Especially if you are a business without big budgets for marketing or promotion, each dollar needs to be targeted. And each campaign or program needs to be integrated with the larger strategy.
So plan a break from doing and confirm that what you are doing is right. Collect all the tasks, budgets, initiatives into one big pile and slowly start peeling each off the top. And as each comes off, confirm that yes they are on strategy or no, they are not.
And as for you? Begin your own realignment. Or ask for help.
Thanks sun dazed for the great image via Flickr