Running a successful business requires making decisions across many functional areas, from marketing to operations to product development. With countless options and directions in which you could take your company, it’s critical to have core strategic priorities that guide where you focus time, talent, and investment. Aligning your business capabilities and resources towards a few vital goals drives growth and progress.
1. Defining Your Business Priorities
The first step in strategic alignment is clearly defining your key business priorities. As a business owner, you likely have many ideas and potential directions for your company. However, with limited time and resources, you cannot pursue everything at once. Carefully evaluate where you want your business to be in 3-5 years. Identify 3-5 key strategic priorities that will help move your business towards that future vision.
2. Analyzing Your Capabilities
Once your key priorities are identified, analyze what capabilities and resources your business currently has to work towards those goals. Make an honest assessment of your business’s strengths and weaknesses across areas like human capital, operations, financing, and technology infrastructure. Look at gaps that may inhibit pursuing your defined strategic priorities at the pace you would like. Develop plans to shore up capabilities over the next year or two, so your business has the engine to drive advancement of your key objectives.
3. Use a Business Model Template for Strategic Planning
Using a clear template can assist greatly in assessing your strategic capabilities. A business model template provides an organized structure to evaluate your company across key components like partners, activities, resources, distribution channels, and cost structure. As you complete each element of a template, you identify areas requiring improvement to align with your strategic priorities.
For example, a key priority around expansion may be hindered by limited partnership channels today. Strategically identify what new partnership or sales networks you want over the next 2-3 years and design tactical programs focused on that timeline. Applying a framework business model template drives more robust analysis and planning.
4. Buy-In Across the Organization
For the strategic priorities and supporting initiatives to gain traction, buy-in is needed across the organization. Employees throughout the company should clearly understand the key objectives for the business and why they are important for future success. Transparent communication of priorities provides focus for decisions teams make every day, ensuring they align with the direction leadership aims to go in the longterm. Explicit support from managers provides the green light for staff to step towards the key priorities through their individual contributions. When an entire organization rows the boat towards achieving strategic goals, significant progress happens.
5. Tracking Progress Through Metrics
Put metrics and leadership review rhythms in place to track progress on each strategic priority over both short and longer-term horizons. Consistently monitoring key performance indicators related to each priority allows for quickly responding where more or less emphasis is needed.
With intentional definition of strategic priorities, clear analysis of required capabilities, broad organizational alignment, and robust progress tracking, you gain the focus and traction needed to advance key business goals over the next 3-5 years.