Sharpening Your Strategy

“If I had eight hours to cut down a tree, I’d spend six hour sharpening my axe.”

Abraham Lincoln

It’s time to sharpen your axe. Most of us have some extra time, or will shortly, once staff and operations are either stabilized to new levels or put on hold due to shutdowns.

Often, I am called in to help a mid-market company in a turn-around scenario. These are often due to large customers behaving erratically, needing a new banker, needing financing, or recovering from self-inflicted losses.

Whatever the cause, I first assess the leadership team for their stress levels and extent of denial. We can’t adjust reality if we’re still stuck in denial.

Once we get people focused on the present and the future, and not about fixing blame, we can get on with the work of sharpening the strategy.

But first, here are some offers that I’d like to make you aware of to help you in your current situation.

Three Powerful Offers: Advisory Services, Financing and Coaching

Here are three powerful offers to help you during these challenging times.

  1. An Advisory Services offer for any client or former client.
    1. I’m making an offer to all current and former clients. If you want to discuss any strategic issues, tactical actions, or overall business challenges or opportunities, I’m here to help you, without cost and without obligation. Just contact me at [email protected] and let’s discuss how I can help you and your company. 
  1. Financing
    1. The governments have announced additional financial support for businesses, mostly by helping fund employee costs and authorizing banks to lend more money. For more information, see Canadian government and American government
    2. If you’d like my assistance in helping you to apply for more bank funding, then I can help you to create the following documents quickly:
      1. Summary business plan
      2. Updated budgets and financial projections
      3. Analysis of cash flows and working capital requirements
      4. Assessing overall financing needs and structuring optimal financing structures
    3. Your investment is significantly reduced from normal levels and is based on a small upfront payment and a success fee.
    4. Call me at +1.306. 992. 6177 and let’s discuss if you qualify for this service and how I can help.
  1. Coaching for Leaders
    1. How you as a leader act in this crisis will set the tone for your company and employees to follow.
    2. Thinking and acting in a crisis requires different skills—and a different temperament—than leading during normal times.
    3. External advisors and new perspectives can help you so see and think in a more effective manner.
    4. There are metrics you can analyze that will give you insights on how to protect your business and improve performance quickly.
    5. If you’d like my assistance in helping you to assess your situation, identify profit leaks, visualize opportunities, and strengthen your company, then give me a call.
    6. We will set up a regular weekly call.
    7. We will identify critical metrics for you to track.
    8. We will determine optimal communication strategies.
    9. We will review and adjust your business strategy to continually improve performance.
    10. Your investment is significantly reduced from normal and is $750 USD payable on a monthly basis. Canadian companies will pay in $CAD plus GST.

Sharpen Your Strategy
Here are five ways to sharpen your strategy, whether you are in a turn-around or, more likely, adapting to new times.

Figure 56.1 Sharpen Your Strategy

Strategy is about the results you create for your customers and clients.

Strategy is not just about your methodologies, what you do, or how you do it.

If you are promoting your methodologies, or worse, competing on them, you’re missing the marketing point.

Your customers care about how they will be improved after working with you. Talk to them in their language of results to increase their understanding and interest in your business.

ROI: Return on Investment
If your customer invests $1,000 with you and you generate $10,000 of results for them, then their ROI is Return divided by Investment, or ($10,000 – $1,000) / $1,000 = 900%. These significant returns are possible in your business. The larger your business, the larger the return, usually, because of scalability.

How does that compare to the interest rate on a guaranteed investment certificate or the stock market or to your main operations?

A Formula One race car pit crew can change all four tires and fuel the car in under 20 seconds. The last time I got gas, and without changing any tires, it took a lot longer than 20 seconds.

The faster you can deliver your value to your client, the higher their perception of your quality and value. This increases loyalty and decreases price sensitivity.

One reason I’m envious (in a good way) of my wife’s profession as a chiropractor and acupuncturist is that she has an immediate impact on her patients. They feel better right away.

Impact is the positive results you’ve created for your customers, quickly. You’ve made a difference. Ideally, you and your customer can measure—or feel—the difference and demonstrate a positive ROI.

In my consulting world, as an example, I help people to leverage their strengths and quantify their value so they can communicate effectively with their markets, create results for their clients, and generate new business for themselves.

If you’ve created positive results once, you can likely repeat the process and generate positive results again, perhaps even more quickly.

This might be with the same product or service, or it might be with a new product or service.

It’s not our customer’s responsibility to learn about all the different ways we can help them. It’s our responsibility to educate them about how we can help and to offer the services regularly.

Your customers already know you, like you, and trust you. You are strengthening the relationship by communicating with them regularly and offering to help them in the same and different ways.

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