Business strategy under construction? It should be.

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Business strategy under construction? It should be.

January 09, 2018 | by Rebecca Niemeyer Rens, President and Co-owner, Rens Concrete Inc.

Business strategy under construction? It should be.

In the 26 years I’ve owned and operated a small company, intentionally developing strategy has often sifted to the bottom of my to-do list. I understand fires need to be put out and grease needs to be applied to the squeakiest wheels, but effective leaders do not sacrifice the big picture so they can respond to daily obligations. I challenge you to put your business strategy under construction permanently.

When describing the word ‘construct,’ Merriam-Webster uses the phrase, “to create or think of by clever use of the imagination.” This description comes as no surprise to those in the industry who are regularly called upon to innovate and improve construction methods and building performance. So, do you use that same ‘clever use of the imagination’ to construct business strategies? You should.

A formal strategy is crucial to sustained success. Yes, it can be a daunting and tedious task for those invested and involved in developing a small business. Consumed with a myriad of day-to-day responsibilities and demands, it can be hard to justify intentionally pausing to reflect, assess and plan.

Follow these steps to simplify the process and develop a strong business strategy:

1. Identify core capabilities
Take inventory of the organization and identify specific people, processes and pieces of equipment or experiences that set you apart. Identify and know what is not part of the core.

2. Determine stage of industry life cycle
Is the company a start-up, generations old or somewhere in between? The stage of a company’s life cycle plays a huge role when considering strategy.

3. Choose one or more value-creating strategies
Based on the awareness of an organization’s current conditions (attained from reflection and assessment); research and evaluate opportunities. Then choose strategies that increase the company’s value.

4. Develop plans based on pipe dreams (Yes—dreams that seem unattainable!)
The final step in developing strategy requires devising plans based on pipe dreams. You must allow yourself to disregard challenges and freely contemplate the future. It may sound like a frivolous activity, but it is key to developing strategy. As Michelangelo stated…

 “The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and we miss it, but we aim too low and reach it.”

Conjure up a somewhat fantastic, perhaps even unthinkable, dream and develop a plan with that dream as the goal. The fantasy may well be what launches the company into its greatest achievements.

Pay attention to the company. Make time to reflect, assess and plan. I urge you not only to build jobs but to use some time and imagination to build your strategy. Your business strategy should always be under construction.