There are many variables to consider in setting the right growth strategy for your business. However, there are a number of common rules and themes that should be considered.

Key to developing an innovative and successful strategy is finding the headroom to think about it, document it and manage it! This might sound straightforward but you might be surprised to hear that many businesses have little time set aside to do this. This is an error, as strategy is part of the senior management’s role and is not something that should just be fitted in as and when there is a gap in the schedule. More often than not, people are too focused on their day-to-day activities to give this part of the role the attention it needs.

When writing your strategy document it is important to always have the end objective it mind, but bear in mind the need for change. Therefore, your strategy must be agile and adaptable enough to survive market changes. It is always a good idea to have more than one route mapped out in achieving your end objective.

A strategy document is dynamic and should be tested and updated regularly to reflect these changes and refine potential outcomes. Having one clear owner of your strategy document is one way of ensuring this happens. You should expect to make ongoing refinements to your plan.

When building your strategy it is important to set yourself realistic, achievable and measurable goals. There is no point giving yourself a Mount Everest to climb if you are not equipped to make the journey.

Your new and innovative ideas need to be commercially viable and able to transfer into working business models. So have a plan on how you will achieve this from all fronts, as a poorly thought-out good idea will have the opposite effect on your business.

Be clear on the ideas you have in your plan, always understanding why they were conceived in the first place. If you need to remind yourself of this more than once, then the chances are you probably have to re-think it. It is very easy to set yourself a goal, without really knowing why it is there. Don’t let egos take over; there should always be a strong and proven business case behind every idea.

Research, research, research…many businesses underestimate the importance of good primary and secondary research. Understand your competition, really get to grips with your market and get your assumptions and forecasts independently verified. This could be in the form of some industry papers written by respected industry colleagues that support your case (point-of-view).

As part of setting your strategy, you must consider culture. This is important, because a healthy culture will drive your business forward, ensuring your strategy is a success. Communication, motivation, enthusiasm and a can-do attitude will all play their part in meeting the goals of your business strategy.

If creating your Strategy is a fully focused core activity, is updated and sense checked frequently, backed up by research and comprehensively stress tested then you can be sure of success.

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