The most powerful business concept that I’m aware of is speed.
- Speed is why my daughter pre-orders her Starbuck’s beverage, prepays, walks in, and picks it up.
- Speed is why many people are addicted to social media and the almost instant feedback and likes they receive on their posts.
- Speed is how Amazon is changing the retail landscape everywhere and making other sectors very nervous.
- Speed is how most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can carve out profitable niches against much larger and slower companies.
As the speed of business gets faster, you need to be faster in everything you do. Eli Goldratt, author of the best seller “The Goal” says that the way to increase speed is—counter-intuitively—to reduce the size of the batch being processed. The strategy process can be considered a large batch of processes that can take weeks, months, or even years to complete. We’ll discuss how to break this down into smaller chunks so you can go much faster.
First, some questions (please answer them on paper or in your brain, at least):
- How valuable and important is your current business strategy to your business success?
- When asked, how do your employees and your customers describe your strategy? (this is a great test!)
- What is the formal description of your current strategy?
- How long did the strategy process take—from start to finish—to develop or update your strategy? How many people? How many hours? What was the time cost?
- How do you measure your results?
- Who is responsible for what results?
- How many of these questions don’t even apply because you’re too busy taking care of customers to develop a fancy strategy?
If you’re too busy to answer the questions above, that reality proves my point that we all need to be much faster at developing and implementing important strategies. Strategies that are actually implemented…and not just talked about…will grow your business, attract new customers, retain customers and employees, and build your business wealth.
Strategies that take too long to create end up triggering ‘strategy fatigue’ and cause people to tune out and search for dopamine on social media instead.
So what to do? How do we make the strategy process go faster?
First, a definition: Strategy is NOT about what you do or your technical expertise. It is about the results and value you create for your customers. A good strategy statement starts with: “We help high growth B2B companies to dramatically increase revenues, profits, and valuation…”
That’s my strategy statement, by the way. Notice how it doesn’t talk about the technicalities of leadership development, corporate finance, and branding. It does talk about the target market and the results we create.
Here is a model to help you develop growth strategies in six hours, or less.
Figure 7.1: High Growth Strategy Model
The three main steps to Six Hour Strategy are: focus, simplify, and speed.
Water, when it’s focused at 60,000 psi, can cut through two inches of steel. When water is not focused, it splashes around, causes rust, and weakens steel.
Focus means that you know how you create results and value for your customers and clients. It means you consistently measure and communicate your results to your target market.
For example, we helped one company to grow revenues from $20 million to $35 million in one year, or 75% growth! Now, that’s pretty good growth. But it didn’t happen in one year. It happened in the preceding periods where we built capacity and built the brand all around our focus on the results we created for the customer. We targeted our ideal customers with the best value we could deliver. We focused less (and responded less) to lower value and lower profit requests.
The most successful and recognizable companies are clearly known for one thing. Apple started with cool computers, then expanded to iPods and then to the iPhone. They made technology useful and easy to use.
Locally, the most popular restaurant on Trip Advisor® is The Italian Star Deli. They are famous for their sandwiches.
Simplifying is easy but it takes courage to say no to requests that aren’t in your core competence and sweet spot. The fastest way to grow is get really, really good (famous, in fact) for one thing. It might be insurance, construction, treating vertigo, kitchen counter tops, or keeping million-dollar production facilities humming.
What’s your one thing?
The emergency room surgeon’s job is to keep the patient alive and stabilize them as quickly as possible. They’re not performing liposuction or cosmetic surgery. Speed comes from focusing on the results you want to create without becoming distracted on lower value but easy to do tasks.
Speed comes from focusing on what is most important to your customers, and not what you like to do the best or is the easiest. Speed comes from staying on course to the results and not necessarily following last year’s tactics or processes. Speed comes from following your experience and expertise and not allowing your customer to tell you how to do your job.
In strategy, speed comes from focusing on the ideal results you can deliver to your clients and customers, measuring those results, and continually improving the results. That’s strategy in a nutshell. Too much time and effort goes into extraneous and low value analysis, debate, and planning which doesn’t create results.
What’s the fastest way you can create results for your customers?