Link between simple strategy pitch and success

Link between simple strategy pitch and success

Can you easily articulate your business strategy less than 60 secs?

Most business owners get that they need a product elevator pitch for sales, but have you considered whether you have a strategy pitch for your stakeholders?

Strategy without execution is just a waste of time. If your staff fail to “get” what your strategy is all about, how are they going to engage with it, think out of the box and work as a team to achieve the goals set out in it? Do not expect your team to read that strategy document you diligently prepared or mind read. How many of your staff could tell you what the company’s growth strategy is?

“A business plan is a document that investors ask for but never read” whether you are raising capital or inspiring your team – you are responsible for creating the interest in your strategy and delivering it in a manner that people will engage with and act on.

After helping many business owners over the years with their investment pitch I have come to the conclusion that: the leaders who fail in the ability to deliver a succinct version of their business strategy, will fail to grow beyond where they are now – irrespective of investment or not.  This is evident when I see companies year after year going nowwhere – failing to achieve the growth talked about but never delivered.

Too many businesses suffer from the lack of clarity, wasting time with a team not empowered to say no to stray activities “off strategy, basically letting fate decide what they should be focusing on. In many of these cases the business owner has it all in his head but fails to communicate it. Or worst still a non- connected or busy management team that have parts of it but are not aligned.

High growth businesses live in a chaotic world, most staff living on the edge chasing tails. Failure to articulate your business strategy to your stakeholders (team, board, investors) is just as bad as not having a strategy at all.

My advice is take your business plan / strategy and condense it down to less than five key statements – themes that people get.   Eg Market share is king, more important than profits.  The power of the message is inversely proportional to the number of words used.

This condensing could even be considered as a bolt-on-phase to your existing planning technique.

Creating and expressing your business strategy as an elevator pitch is a mind bender, but the resulting clarity is empowering.  The conversations that you and your team will have around condensing your strategy is a worthwhile exercise in its self.

Some tips:

  • Have a go at presenting your business strategy verbally: no props or power point, can you do it? Have your strategy challenged by someone fresh outside your business or a new employee.
  • Use an external facilitator who excels at this to help accelerate the extraction of the core strategy and listen with fresh ears – BTW this is GMC’s speciality 🙂
  • Use diagrams and pictures to focus thinking, business model canvas, balanced score card diagrams
  • Engage specialist graphical recording – facilitation techniques to record and stimulate complex enterprise strategies and problems. This powerful technique is relatively rare in NZ. Here is a link to one of the many you tube clips explaining this technique.  Two NZ providers GMC work with are: www.motive8.co.nz/ and  www.martincoates.com contact GMC if you want to give it a go.
  • Everything can be simplified, strategy does not need to be complex

Irrespective of whether you are thinking of raising capital or not, creating clarity and simplicity in your business strategy is key to getting staff, board and potential investors engaged and actually achieving goals.

If you can clearly and succinctly articulate your strategy you have a far higher chance of actually executing it.

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Going Into the Cloud: Corporate IT on Startup budget

Having lived in technology corporates you get spoilt with IT systems that just work. It frustrates me when I see business owners not leveraging what technology can do for them.

A home-office break in got me thinking, what if some bastard stole my server, or there was a water leak while I was away, trashing my data and backup. Insurance will not cover that sort of loss.

So over the summer break I have made the technology leap into the cloud. This will give me incresed productivity for my frequent work in Koru lounges and cafés around the country.

For you non IT people, the cloud just means it’s hosted on the internet.  Cloud solutions have the advantage of giving you easy access, from anywhere and it is not reliant on any infrastructure at your office other than a Broadband connection.

So my new set up is:

New Web Services:

  • Mail 25G mailbox:  Microsoft Exchange ONLINE  $100 per year per user www.voyager.co.nz
  • 50 GB Online Disk Storage:  Dropbox  $133 per year  www.dropbox.com
  • iMExchange:  Notes and out off office Application for I-phone worth the US$8

Existing web services:

My Hardware Platforms:

  • I-phone
  • Apple Air Mac – Laptop
  • Windows Desktop PC’s:  Vista and XP

Email – Calendar – Notes – System

For me Microsoft Exchange still is the best office communication management system, yes I have tried google apps but several things have pushed me towards online exchange.

Exchange offers: integrated email, contacts, calendar and notes across platforms (iphone, mac, PC) client and web access. Set up correctly it offers team calendar sharing, complete replication on multiple platforms and more. At $100 per user per year for a 25G mailbox it’s not worth mucking around with any imitation of it.

If I trash another i-phone I want my contacts, notes, calendar and mail going in minutes when I get my replacement phone.

Several things have changed which make this a wise decision:

  • Voyager (a  NZ Microsoft reseller) – offer a fantastic value for money package at $100 per year per user. They give you the first 30 days free on trial. Yes Seeby Woodhouse is back in action – ignore the old fashion web site – this company understands customer service and value for money.
  • I have received excellent customer support from voyager and Microsoft USA.
  • The only catch was there is a minimum 5 mail box purchase – good news is you can mix domains I have my family on Robotham.co.nz and my business on growthmanagement.co.nz sharing the same admin system.

 Drop Box:

This is a cool way to share files between PC’s.  Best of all its cross platform (PC’s, Macs, i-phones, ipads). I can edit a document on the plane on my mac air, then tomorrow it will be on my desktop ready to finnish. You get a 2G file storage for free – so try it out.

Xero:

I cannot finish this post without a plug for Xero. The GST change and a forced upgrade cost by MYOB, gave me reason to reconsider XERO. YES MYOB has more functionality and better reporting, but you need to have an eye for detail and an ability to think like an accountant to maximise its use. Xero has given me back at least half a day a month, in saved reconcilation time. I now prefer to check my bank balance online with Xero rather than go through my banks antiquated and non user friendly login systems.

PS: I love my 11” Mac Book Air – If you are a road warrior do not get an I-pad. With Microsoft Office 2011 for MAC it now has remote desktop support, make sure you download the service pack upgrade. No apple user told me of the week of grief as I bumbled my way around the apple OS, but all is now forgiven.