It comes down to one word: Strategy.
A few years ago, investors and analysts had put brick-and-mortar companies like RadioShack and Best Buy on a death watch. There seemed to be no way they could compete against the giant Amazon—with its famously low prices, virtually limitless selection, and two-day delivery options—and come out alive.
Living up to expectations, RadioShack filed bankruptcy in 2015—and again in 2017, after a futile attempt at reviving itself.
Meanwhile, Best Buy managed to pull off one of the strongest corporate comebacks in recent history.
The question on everyone’s mind is, Why?
The reason for Best Buy’s big comeback and RadioShack’s failure can be summed up in one word: Strategy.
Best Buy got a new CEO, Hubert Joly, who created a strategy laser-focused on giving customers what they wanted most: unbeatable prices and a great buying experience. He did everything possible to make sure people would no longer treat the store as an Amazon showroom (only to go home and buy the stuff online), but would walk out with products in hand. He improved and expanded their online presence and cut costs. In short, he created a strategy that attacked the company’s weaknesses while building on its strengths.
And it worked.
Best Buy’s stock has near quadrupled in the last five years. RadioShack, on the other hand, by doing nothing to address consumer concerns about pricing and unable to adjust to new industry realities, has died a slow, painful death.
The lesson? If there’s one thing every business needs to achieve success, it’s a good, clear, focused strategy. Because without knowing where you want to go, how will you ever hope to get there? (As Zig Ziglar once said: “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”)
With less than 70 days left in 2017, this is something we should all be thinking about. Whether you’ve been in business a year, a few years, or a few decades, now is a great time to ask yourself: Is my company sustainable, on the path toward long-term growth? If not, how can we get there?
Without taking an honest look at this question, you’ll keep making the same mistakes, hitting the same roadblocks, wondering why you’re running so fast but not really going anywhere.
So here are a few Ptex Practical Pointers for creating a strategy for your business:
1. Identify who you want to be involved in your strategy planning, and schedule a time to sit down and develop your strategic goals—free of distractions.
2. Think about your long-term vision for your company, and identify the one or two most important things you need to start implementing right now to make it happen.
3. Break these goals down into smaller, SMART goals.
4. Set regularly scheduled times—at least once per quarter—to review progress and tweak the plan as necessary.
Your business probably has weaknesses, just like any other. Your business also probably has huge, untapped potential. Strategizing identifies both. And you’ll be surprised at how much lighter you feel once you know where you are, where you’re going, and have a plan to get there.
Now all that’s left is to actually do it.
Are you struggling with strategic planning? Join our monthly Leaders Forum, a full day workshop for leaders of growing businesses who want to learn how to manage their growth, hire the right people, and apply the proven strategies and methods that have helped successful leaders grow themselves, their teams, and their profits.