Many businesses experience early growth on the back of a strong product/service and committed leadership. But as the business grows and becomes more complex, barriers to growth start to emerge. Some of these could be due to one of the six common strategy mistakes, to avoid when you can.
Maybe what you have, isn’t working. It is starting to creak because you’ve grown so quickly. Or alternatively, growth has stopped and now it just feels like you’ve hit a ceiling. In these cases, a solid business growth strategy becomes critical for the future of your business.
Your first job is to understand what if any of the common strategy mistakes is a problem for your business.
|Common Strategy Mistakes||Which Leads to|
|Not captured||Always being on the back foot|
|Not communicated, or too complicated||Inconsistent or slow decision making|
|Not clear on what is core||Wasting time|
|Not deliverable||Incomplete or impossible to deliver|
|Not scalable||The strategy will not support growth|
|Not tested||Based on assumptions that could be wrong|
Your strategy isn’t captured
Perhaps the worst, yet the most common strategy mistake is the lack of a coherent, clear strategy altogether. This might be because you haven’t really needed a strategy to date. Perhaps you have been small enough to make strategic decisions within the team. The really big decisions have always gone through the owner-founder. But now you are growing too big for them to be involved in every decision. Increasingly you are reacting rather than predicting. That puts you on the back foot and harms your competitiveness.
Your strategy isn’t communicated, or it is too complicated
So what yardstick does your team use to make day to day and more complicated decisions? I worked with an organisation that manufactured construction products and shipped them globally. They asked themselves, “How does this decision/activity/project contribute to moving more brown boxes from our warehouse to our customers?” If it isn’t clear, then don’t do it. This strategic simplicity enabled them to make better, faster decisions.
The strategy is leading you to spend time on things that are not core
If you aren’t totally clear on what is core and what is not, then you can waste a great deal of time. Understanding what is core requires you to look through the eyes of your customers and say what do you do that they value (and ultimately pay for)? Core activities deliver something that contributes to this “value-add”. Non-core activities can be a distraction. Can you work with great suppliers to provide you with leverage and address non-core activities?
Deliverability – you are missing key capabilities
I worked with an organisation that makes complex products which retail on the high-street. A key part of their strategy was to become much more closely connected and collaborative with their suppliers. In particular, they wanted to develop their less mature suppliers to improve on “right-first-time” delivery, and yet they only had one individual who could claim supplier development experience! He could not hope to work with the many suppliers for more than minutes when he needed days!
Scalability – your strategy isn’t ready for tomorrow
Where is our business struggling to support the scale of what we are doing? What do we need to change about our people, processes and systems to better support scale? Your strategy should be answering these questions and laying out a short, medium and long-term approach.
Assumptions – you have a strategy, but it hasn’t been tested
Assumptions are important, we make them all the time and they allow us to deal with huge complexity in our lives and at work. But big, untested assumptions can also be disastrous if they underpin parts of your growth strategy. Assumptions like, “Our product will sell itself, and “If we think it is a great product then they will too” can lead to vastly overestimating the addressable market. A series of relatively quick and low-cost tests could have steered you in a slightly different direction.
If you are looking to drive growth, check out the Formula for Business Growth.
Future proof your business! Take the first step now!
As an experienced consultant-coach, I have supported numerous businesses to avoid these mistakes. At the Growth Shed, we have a wide range of approaches to help with strategy. Sometimes, our clients describe this as creating the “golden thread” that links everything together.
We LOVE helping small and medium-sized businesses to grow. Contact Paul Slater now on 07770 740 587. A five-minute chat will confirm whether we have the right services to help you grow, or alternatively, complete a query here.