Mapping Your Business Strategy

Having a business without a strategy is like taking a road trip without a GPS system. Sure, you may get to an interesting destination, however, you may also end up in the middle of nowhere. How can you ensure your business is on a path to success? Mapping out a strategy is key.

Take A Top Down Approach

You’re responsible for running your business, so it makes perfect sense for you to start your strategic planning with your vision. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want my business to accomplish?
  • Where would I like my business to be in one year? Three years? Five?

Once you’ve considered these questions thoroughly, write down a vision statement for your business on a piece of paper. Keep it with you as a reminder while you continue developing your strategy map.

A successful vision statement for an import auto repair shop might be:
“My business aims to be the first repair shop consumers in the tri-county area think of when their import needs service.”

Build A Map, Literally

On a large sheet of paper write your vision statement on top. Beneath it, draw four large horizontal rectangles with room enough for the following categories to be written on the left-hand side:

  • Financial
  • Customer
  • Processes
  • Training

Now write down your goals for your business on post-it notes and place them within the category rectangles they fit best.

For example, increasing profits by 20% in three years would go in Financial, increasing referrals by four each month would go in Customer, adding an email marketing program would go in Process, and giving all technicians import certification would go in Training.

Once you have your goals in place, look for patterns that correlate. Using this example, it’s easy to see that by certifying all technicians, you can build an e-mail marketing program designed to promote this fact and raise customer referrals enough to increase profits by 20 percent in three years. And all of this feeds up to the vision statement of being the first shop import owners think of when their vehicle needs repairs.

If a goal can’t be linked, then you’ll need to develop ways to make it fit or scrap it altogether. For instance, if you have a goal to expand into another county in the customer category but don’t have a goal to add people, the strategy needs to be revised or the plan will fail.

Of course, you will discover many more goals that correlate to your success during the mapping process. And while it does take practice to see the connections, when you’re finished, everyone in the company from front-line employees to upper management will be able to recognize what needs to be accomplished to create the business you envision.

Several examples of business strategy maps are available online should you wish to see one fully executed.

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