Every January I sit down and write up our growth strategy for the coming year – it keeps us on track with milestones and goals to reach. I take a few hours, pour myself a glass of cabernet and get to work. Everything is more fun with wine.

There are a ton of books, blogs and articles out there that outline the proper steps to develop a strategy, vision statement, mission, etc. You can quickly become overwhelmed and feel like everyone else is much better prepared and organized than you. Do you need to set goals and determine how you measure success? Obviously – but here is the best part. YOU get to determine how you want to write it up and communicate it to your team.

If you spend all your time writing, you won’t be doing and you definitely won’t have any time for wine. Not to mention, you will be more confused then when you started.

There is no need for a long drawn out strategy that no one will read and is so full of buzzwords (cause it follows the template you downloaded off the internet) that you are more confused after you wrote it than before you started.

Here is what works for 834:

  • Elevator pitch: Has this changed? Is everyone on the same page? I update as needed.
  • SWOT: Yes this is an oldie, but looking at the business and identifying our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is a great way to start thinking strategically for the coming year.
  • Goals: What the hell do we want to accomplish in 2016? For me this is super detailed – such as 1) Revenue 2) Money in the bank 3) Salaries. Then I map out what will the results be if we hit these goals – bonuses? A staff retreat?
  • Metrics: Along with goals, I map out how we measure success. Is it client retention? Conversion rate?
  • Target Customers: This can change from year to year for us, so it is important that I redefine each year to ensure our messaging and communication stays on point.
  • Industry Snapshot: How is the industry doing? I look at the geographic region and where our clients currently are. Should we expand?
  • Competitor Analysis: Who are our major competitors? Have they changed in the last year? What are they doing well that we aren’t?
  • Marketing Plan: How will we communicate our value and continue to dominate in the field of integrated communications? This includes – blogging, contributing to publications, networking, etc.
  • Financial Projections: What is our monthly budget?  Gross revenue goals? How do we determine project success?
  • Org Chart: Do I see us needing any additional staff members? Have jobs changed at all? Sometimes laying this out in a chart helps you identify where any holes might be.

This is what works for me, there may be a better format for you – there is no right or wrong.

After I write the strategy, which is 2 or 3 pages at the most, I discuss with the team. I ask for their input, thoughts and goals for the next year. If you don’t have buy-in from everyone then it will be impossible to meet goals.

Take my advice – be brief, to the point and make it simple! Now go reward yourself with a glass of wine or 3.

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