You’re in business to make money, not run an expensive hobby that takes you away from your family. I get it! The thing is, growing a business is as unique as the business owner growing it.
Honestly, that’s the great thing about being a business owner. You can do what feels good to you, making decisions to shift and reconfigure it to meet your lifestyle and financial needs.
That’s also one of the challenges of business ownership. With so many options and opportunities (and opinions of others), it’s tough to know what your next step to growth is.
Let me say it again: Every business is different. Yours has unique challenges and benefits and you have your own unique gifts and needs.
This is why every business needs to have its own strategic map, created by you, the business owner, and considering your lifestyle, goals and dreams and your vision of where you want to go in life and business.
It’s built on your own strengths and needs and targeted to the direction you’re comfortable with. (Has someone ever told you that you have to use video in your business–but you hate video? Or insisted on long blogs for search engine optimization–but you hate writing and you get all your new clients from referrals anyway?)
Strategically mapping out your business is the way to find the right path.
Choosing the right strategy for your business is about determining where you need to focus your efforts, then getting tunnel vision so your energy and investments go to the right place–your strategic objectives.
We do this through a Strategic Mapping Model™, using seven strategic objectives that every business should have. We use data to determine where your business needs more attention and where it’s operating more on autopilot. And sometimes, we determine that there are areas in your business that need to wait. Like visibility, for example. If your business isn’t operating efficiently, more visibility will just spotlight that deficiency. Your time is better spent elsewhere for now.
Sometimes, you can do this process on your own. But often, the business owner is too close to the day-to-day to be truly objective and needs some support to be truly strategic.
The Seven Strategic Objectives
1: Financial Stability
Having a financially viable business goes well beyond revenue, though that’s what most business owners focus on. Financial stability also relates to being set up properly for taxes in your state or country of business. It means that you’re saving for retirement and have health care so your business isn’t derailed if you get sick. It’s about making sure your pricing is on-point and that you’re meeting your income goals. And it means that you’re looking at both revenue and expenses, and profit. Hitting six figures in your business isn’t some magical threshold you need to cross to be successful, especially if your expenses are out of control.
Businesses need to be visible if they’re going to get noticed by the right people–both online and offline. When you focus on the visibility objective, you’re setting goals for podcast features, speaking engagements, email list growth and more. But that doesn’t mean that you try to get in front of everyone; it’s about being really selective and strategic so you can make the biggest impact in specific areas–where your audience is already hanging out
3: Product Creation & Refinement
Most business owners love the creativity found in product creation and refinement. It’s exciting, but it’s also a lot of work if you want to bring new ideas to market. A new online course isn’t going to come together in a month if it’s going to be successful. Creating and refining a product includes validating the offer, identifying what differentiates it from others and developing the funnels or pathways to get it in front of the right people.
4: Operational Efficiencies
Efficient operations are the backbone of any business that’s built to scale and grow. Systems, procedures, automation and processes don’t have to be scary, but many business owners avoid them because of the technology involved. It’s easy to fall into overwhelm. Operational efficiencies allow you to onboard clients quickly and seamlessly, manage customer expectations without taking chunks of time out of your day and walk clients through your processes automatically. One of the big areas where many business owners forget to add systems is in their own hiring process. You may have a virtual assistant on your team, but do you have a process for adding that social media manager, copywriter or customer support person?
5: Team Growth
Piggybacking on bringing on new team members efficiently is knowing who you need on your team and when. This is all about knowing what you do in your business every day, week or month that’s not in your wheelhouse, or the tasks that are non-revenue generating that you can outsource to someone else. You likely spend more time than necessary on tasks that aren’t in your area of expertise (think: creating graphics in Canva, editing those videos, scheduling emails, loading course content), when you should be spending that time serving your clients.
6: Personal Growth & Professional Development
As a business owner, you know the importance of investing in yourself and your business. Books, podcasts, coaching, masterminding and conferences can all help you move forward. It’s important to be strategic about investments, even though it’s tempting to join many of the groups and programs that pop up in your feed (hello, FOMO). And chances are, you’re already over-invested in this area–but you’ll never know unless you go through the exercise of writing down all the courses and programs you’re already in. Don’t forget the courses and downloadables you received as a bonus to the main course you purchased. They count too!
7: Client Experience
The online space is very competitive and it’s getting noisier with each passing month. Giving your clients the best experience possible when working with you is vitally important to your success. Blowing them away with a great experience ensures they want to work with you again and, even better, are ready to refer you to a friend. This includes nurturing them via email, onboarding with perfection and making sure that each person you bring into your practice or program feels like an individual. And sometimes this means finding that new, unique way to stand out to your clients. It doesn’t have to be anything over the top; it’s really the little things that make for a great experience. Think: a personalized welcome video or remembering a detail from their personal life that they may have mentioned on social media or in passing.
How to Map Your Strategy
Using the strategic mapping process, you first determine which objectives (no more than three) you’ll focus on in any given month or quarter. Then, you’ll determine exactly what needs to be improved in those objectives. Think action-packed to-do lists to accomplish each task.
This isn’t your grandma’s to-do list. This is using your vision and mission to determine where you’re going in your business and identifying the key things you need to do to get there.
It’s difficult to strategically map your business on your own. You’re often too close and emotionally attached to your business and the outcomes to be truly objective. Working with a professional consultant or mentor on this is a much better way to get a true look at where you need to focus.
Knowing Your Priorities
Once you go through the strategic mapping process, you’ll know exactly which strategic objectives to focus on for the coming months and quarters. That allows you to improve your follow-through and focus your attention to those areas so you can see true growth.
You know that you have other areas that need growth and support also, and we’re not ignoring those. Rather, we’re hyper-focusing in a few priority areas so that in the next month or quarter we can focus on the other areas. When you try to do too many things at once, you’re bound to get overwhelmed or not make any visible progress at all.