Pathways to Better Business Strategies – Planning for Success
Effective change is integral to business success, but change is not always easy. Businesses that attempt to evolve without following a well-planned and communicated strategy will lack resilience and be more vulnerable when things go wrong. They may be perceived as having poor leadership which affects reputation and confidence.
Organisations often develop an overall strategy for growth which in turn requires fundamental change in other areas. For example, your growth strategy might demand that you keep hold of more of your experienced employees who create the most value. That in itself requires a strategy. It might demand digital transformation to create efficiency, and that also requires a strategic approach to change.
In other words, businesses thrive or fail by the strategies they follow. So how do you make sure your own business strategies are properly planned and implemented? Here are five steps to follow.
Define your goals (and how you will reach them)
Your overall goal might be growth, but your HR goal is to reduce employee churn and your IT goal is to create a more effective technology stack. Each requires you to define specific, realistic and measurable goals (15% revenue growth in 2024, 25% reduction in recruitment costs and so on), and outline the paths you will follow to reach them.
For example, if you want to boost employee retention, you might poll your workforce on what it likes and dislikes about working for your organisation. You might analyse what competitors in your industry do to retain staff. After all that, you might decide that the best way to maintain employee morale is to invest in a wellbeing programme or develop more flexible ways of working.
Focus on resourcing
Whatever it is, your strategy needs to be realistic. For example, you might not have the financial or human resources to implement new digital accounting processes without severe disruption. If that is the case, there may be other options. You could outsource more basic accounting functions to a global network like UHY, freeing up internal employees for higher value work.
Whatever you decide to do, you need the resources to match your ambitions, or you need to find another way to reach your goals. There is no point reaching for the sky if you are never going to get there, and employees will soon work out if a strategy is unrealistic. On the other hand, colleagues will quickly adopt and advocate for a well-considered strategy with clear and realistic paths to success.
Do not be afraid to stretch
Having said that, realism should not be a cover for a lack of ambition. A strategy for change can and should stretch your organisation. It should demand creativity, collaboration and everyone bringing their talent and passion to the table.
To get the balance right, you need to understand your own teams and also the wider market. Does the market have capacity for your growth plans? Are there underserved areas of the customer base that are crying out for better solutions? What do your competitors do better than you and where are you ahead?
When you can answer these questions, you can mould a strategy that suits your particular circumstances, and has more chance of success.
Set the anticipation for change
People in your organisation need to know about any upcoming change and how it will impact their work. They need to make sure they are prepared and have the resources that will facilitate change. They need to know what to expect when the strategy is being implemented.
Introduce your plans early and often, in ways that will filter through to the business as a whole. Use in-person meetings, internal newsletters and presentations to set anticipation and give everyone the time and information to prepare for change.
Implement your plans effectively
When you are ready to implement your strategy, do it methodically and carefully, based on a detailed plan of action. Establish periodic objectives that adhere to the SMART principle – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
Talk and listen to your team throughout the change process so you know that they understand what is going on and are comfortable with their role in driving progress. When each step of the strategy is complete, review the process and the results that have been achieved so far.
If you follow these steps, tailored to your own unique business circumstances, your strategy is more likely to lead to a successful outcome. In business, change cannot be piecemeal. It needs to be meticulously planned and carefully implemented, feeding into your organisation’s wider strategic objectives.
If you feel you would like support with your strategy or with implementing change, UHY member firms around the world offer specialist business advisory services, helping clients align business strategy with internal resources and market requirements. Drop me a note and I and my team will put you in contact with a UHY office near you.
For more information, contact Alan Farrelly, Managing Director, UHY Farrelly Dawe White Limited email@example.com