If you cannot write out the plan for where you are taking your business in 15 minutes or less, chances are, you do not have a plan!
If you don’t have a plan then you and your business are just floating through time and you are at the whim of the marketplace and all of your competitors! Basically, if you cannot articulate what you are building or why you are building it then how do you know what you are doing or where you are going?
For those that regularly read my posts, you know that Thinking Business has a very detailed business blueprint that you can download (from our Business Tools) and apply to your business. We call it the Thinking Business Blueprint. It takes you through all aspects of your business to ensure that your business model and strategy are defined clearly at all levels.
However, I was recently challenged by a client to come up with a simple, high level, tool that would allow a business leader to summarize their business and their strategy in one simple page. This one-page tool must be simple to implement yet powerful enough to capture the very essence of an organization. A leader must then be able to take the completed tool and easily communicate it to any and all of it’s stakeholders.
To meet this challenge, I have come up with the “15 Minute” Business Blueprint described below.
Strategy without action is just hot air. You cannot strategize your way to success. You must take action and execute the strategy to see any results!
As Brad Feld and David Cohen stated in their book Do More Faster, “David didn’t beat Goliath with a whiteboard.” David beat Goliath by picking up some ammo (a few round stones), taking aim with his slingshot, and hitting Goliath in the forehead with a well-placed “kill-shot!”
This is strategy in action!
It is way too common for business leaders to “whiteboard” a strategy and then never implement it. They simply fail to translate their vision into actionable steps.
So, throw away your whiteboard and take some action!
Implement Your Strategy
A few weeks ago I introduced a tool called the Business Compass. This tool provides the means of visually communicating your organization’s vision, mission, values, brand promise, leadership behaviors and strategic and operational priorities. I have previously written about vision, mission and values but what are “strategic and operational priorities”?
Strategic and operational priorities are the most important things your organization needs to achieve over the year. It is best to keep this list to five things or less so that they are achievable and so that you do not overwhelm the organization (I have seen some organizations with over 30 priorities . . . the staff were totally overwhelmed by this and never made any progress on any of the priorities). Note that these priorities are not detailed goals but high level objectives that you have determined to be strategically and operationally critical to your success as you strive to achieve your mission.
Each one of these objectives will have a set of detailed goals associated with it. The goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time specific (SMART goals). However, this level of detail should not show up in the Business Compass. The Business Compass should show the high level summary of the objective and from this you will be able to understand how the objective ties into your vision, mission and values.