Business owners often bring up the topic of strategy when they’re thinking about their legacy. While it’s important to spend time refining the tactics of your day-to-day business operations, the FocalPoint Business Coaching and Training approach to Business Coaching also takes a higher view of the overall strategy you are using. As worldwide bestselling business author Brian Tracy says, poor strategic decisions can lead to lower profits and ultimately to the failure of the business.
A clear long-term strategy, on the other hand, can turn your business into an asset that will produce returns year after year, and create a legacy you can leave to those who follow you. Here are 6 common strategic mistakes business owners make and how you can fix them.
Mistake #1: Focusing on what your business is, instead of on what it does.
It’s easy for a business owner to say, “We are a dry-cleaning service” or “We are a construction company.” The real question is, what does your business do? When you understand exactly how your business helps customers, you’ll start to see ways you could help them more effectively
Mistake #2: Having an unclear picture of your target customer.
Imagine you are putting up a classified ad: “Business seeking ideal customer.”
- How would you describe that person?
- Where do they live?
- What line of work are they in?
- How old are they?
- How much do they make?
Get a clear idea of who your target customer is, and you will be better equipped to find and sell to them.
Mistake #3: Failing to understand what differentiates you.
Your business has survived so far because you have got some kind of competitive advantage; sometimes called your “area of excellence” or “area of uniqueness.” Do you know what it is, exactly, that differentiates you from your competitors? Whatever it is, it’s what you should be emphasizing in all your marketing activities.
Mistake #4: Not knowing your competitors.
No matter how great your company is, some customers prefer the other guys. Why is that? You know what differentiates your company but what differentiates your competitors? In other words, what does a customer feel they’re getting by buying from your competitor, that they don’t get by buying from you?
Mistake #5: Failing to see bottlenecks.
If you’ve been following the advice of the FocalPoint Business Coaching and Training blog, you have hopefully analyzed your business’s finances and set clear goals for profits and payments. But here’s the big question – what’s holding you back from achieving those goals? Why aren’t you making 20 percent more profit right now? Pinpoint what’s holding you back, then find a way around that bottleneck – or through it.
Mistake #6: Spending time on activities that don’t lead to profit.
You have probably heard of the 80/20 rule – 20 percent of your efforts account for 80 percent of your results. What are the 20 percent of your business activities that lead to your biggest results? Who are the 20 percent of your customers who could sustain your business all on their own? Focus on improving that key 20 percent of activities, and cultivating relationships with that key 20 percent of your customers.
Keep these tips from Brian Tracy in mind, and you’ll start to build a business strategy that will sustain your organization over the long term and build the legacy you’re dreaming of.