Strategy! The Devil’s in the Details!
“Second, we have to make the most of the strengths we have, the amenities that many of our competitors cannot replicate. but again, those advantages won’t mean much if we don’t do a great job with the basics of our business.” Gerard Arpey, past Chairman, President, and CEO of AMR, parent company of American Airlines.
So, in Part I, we have talked about Vision and the need for passion in the blog post: “Negotiating the Rocky Road to Success”.
In Part II, we talked about what you need to start down that rocky road, why knowing what turns your engine on, and what drags you down personally is important to know. (We’ll cover this again in more detail in a future blog under the heading “Red Flags and Blind Spots”.) And how endurance and persistence are key traits for the business owner.
This episode, Part III, is dedicated to reminding you about the basics:
true bottom line clarity of your vision and mission
what data and/or information you need to have in order build your dream business \
What’s important to know about the people you are serving and the people in your company who are serving them?
How to get straight about what you know from what you don’t know and how you know that. (Think it out. It’s both complex and simple.)
So I am basically going to ask the questions about the facts, data, information and processes you need to get started or to turn a corner to rebuild or grow your business.
Your job, should you decide to take it, is to sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and write down both the questions and the answers you have to those questions. If I have forgotten any pertinent questions, you may bring them up, point them out in a comment, or I’ll notice it and we’ll deal with it at a future date.
I’m going to introduce you to some acronyms that will come in handy if you memorize them and use them at every turn in your business. The first is HDYK which is “HOW DO YOU KNOW?”; the second is WID which is “WRITE IT DOWN”. For yourself, you will change the first acronym to: HDIK, i.e. HOW DO I KNOW?
You need to be prepared to ask additional questions along with HDIK, such as “where did the information come from and is the source reliable? Do I need additional sources to ensure my information is complete? Am I looking air the right question/issue?
So! The next big, first questions you need to ask yourself are:
How clear, simple and focused is your vision? Write it down (WID). It should be no more than two or three short, succinct sentences.
How simple, clear and focused does it sound when read out loud? Read it, perhaps even record it using your smart phone, put it away and then play it back tomorrow.
How do you know (HDYK) what you know about the business field? Be specific. WID.
Do you know for sure who your clients are?
Have you done any kind of market research about the market you are trying to move into and the population you need access to in order to create a financially viable business? Do you know what market research really is?
Can you paint a clear picture of who in the marketplace needs or wants what you want to sell? WID.
How do You Know they need or want it? WID. (Have you run it by friends, family, other business people - people you trust?)
Have you discovered a real market gap for this product or service? HDYK? WID.
What do you know about search engines and digital marketing and website building, the importance of social media - and which social media is most appropriate to your product or service marketing? HDYK?
Do you know how much in the way of product or supplies you need to have in stock or how many staff (other than you) might be required to make this a success from the get-go? HDYK? WID.
Are you familiar with labor and tax laws in your county/municipality, state/province or country? What do you know about the requirements in your state/county province/municipality pertaining to: confidentiality when it comes to client files if you have them; requirements for documentation? HDYK? And if you don’t know, where do you go to get such information.
Do you know how to engage and inspire your employees to help you make your business all it can be? HDYK?
Do you know how much money you will need to put your idea into action down to almost the last penny? HDYK? WID - it’s called a budget. lol.
This is a lot of information, a lot of data. Where are you going to put it so you can refer to it periodically? Do you have a filing system in place?
These are just the basics of the strategies that will help you build a healthy, strong, and sustainable business. There is much, much more to running a business that will keep you up nights, keep you working into the wee hours, steal you time for social and family events. Assess you values and make sure this is what you want to do. Then do whatever works best for you - and your company.