When we set out on a long journey we need to know, roughly, the destination. We don’t necessarily know the precise details of the route we will follow. Especially if we can’t easily identify the best route, perhaps, if we are going into unfamiliar territory.

We need to know will be signposts along the way to help guide us. As I drive from my home near Bristol somewhere, a long way away, let’s say, to see a friends in central Plymouth.

I will not see signs for their road, or even their part of town, or even for Plymouth, when I set off. We’ll see signs, that give me, and reinforce a sense of direction. I’ll look for the signs instead to take me first to the M4. And then as I approached the M4/5 junction. I’ll look for signs that say “The Southwest”. Only when I leave the main road will I see signs for the district in Plymouth, and then the right road. Then the house number.

Is business any different? We need clarity of our strategy. We need to know where we’re going. Yet, we should not expect to see signs that tell us now that we’re getting precisely there. Only that we are on the right road, or the wrong one, and to give us a sense of direction.

The first part of any strategy is thinking. Thinking about the end destination, where your business is going. Then, just like with any long journey, there’s a need for some analysis, asking the questions about the destination until it’s understood. To get to my friends means travelling on the M5. To get to the M5 means travelling on the M4,, to get there, the M48 and the Old Seven bridge. Working back from the goal is often the best approach to this analysis. Each time you asked the question (what happens before that?), you bring yourself closer to where you are now. As you get closer to your familiar territory you can analysis on how long it will take too. You can also start to identify the signs you need to see along the way to know you are on course.

Now we can move on to the planning of the detailed work we will undertake immediately. The starting points, and the things to do next, and define how we will know when we have completed that stage. For a business, like any journey, you shouldn’t just map out one perfect route. It’s important to have contingencies, It’s important to have some ideas about the landscape, and the alternative approaches. Equally, we must maintain an open mind about the route. You can replan as you drive, if you need to.

Finally, you take action. Leave and you set out on the first part of your journey. And again, signposts become so important. Not just telling you where you should go next, but also confirming where you have got to. Signposts give you certainty, that you’re heading in the right direction.

It’s important too for our clients, not to give them all the information on one sign, on one webpage, or one email, but to give them the information they need when they need it, for their journey. Our job, as business owners, is to build good signposts, that attract the right people to our products and services, that give them, at the right moment, the information they need to make a decision. A good decision, a well-informed decision.

If you want to know where to focus on your business journey, for best effect today, take the Business Audit

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Written by: William Buist - all rights reserved.
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