By Corpwrite Strategy’s Luke Maddison.
Like most people, I hate Xmas shopping. I always leave it too late, being busy with work or life in general, so I get caught up in the last minute maddening rush. Crowds of people making it hard to move. Horrible traffic full of drivers who forget their basic driving skills at this time of the year. Ambling groups of shoppers wander aimlessly and stop to chat in the middle of the walkway. But more than that, what annoys me most is…I never seem to have a plan.
When I shop the rest of the year, I’m like a Navy SEAL team: I spend the least amount of time in the shopping centre as possible, I know exactly what I’m after and just like a surgical strike, I’m in and out in a flash before the parking ticket software has a chance to realise I’m there and charge me. But at Xmas I seem to lose that ability, trapped in the cycle of “I don’t know what to buy people”. What I’m basically saying is…I never have a strategy! I wander around the shops directionless, hoping that something will jump out at and say “buy me, I’m perfect”! The result: I’m stuck in the hell that is known as last minute Xmas shopping.
This is exactly the situation faced by many businesses we work with: they have an idea of what they want to do but struggle to translate it into a simple, well thought out strategic plan that maps a clear path to achieving their goals. We hear every excuse imaginable: “We’re too busy”, “I don’t know where to start”, “I’ll do it later”, “strategy is a load of rubbish, we just need to get on with it” etc. There are a million excuses to choose from.
So what’s the main reason people don’t have a strategy: I’ve found many people are scared of committing something to paper. They’re not sure exactly what a strategy is nor how to go about creating one. In reality, many businesses simply overthink they whole thing. Having a strategy isn’t something you need to over-complicate, it really should be a basic layout with what you want achieve, for example, in the next calendar year.
Here are three basic rules to stick to when thinking about you strategy for 2016:
It’s important to be honest and understand where you’re coming from; it’ll help you shape the next year’s plan. Make sure you know the key numbers across your business, particularly revenue, gross profit (GP), and operating profit (OP).
Most of all, have a crack at it! And if it all feels too hard, don’t be afraid to reach out to an expert to help. As for Xmas shopping, I think I’ll shift my entire strategy to online next year…or even better, I might outsource the whole thing!
Luke Maddison and Jeremy Plint founded Corpwrite Strategy after many years in marketing roles with brands such as Canon, CCH, Ricoh and Garuda Indonesia.