It is almost a new year (and what a year to move past) and if you haven’t already, you should start to consider what you want to achieve throughout 2021. Setting a strategy to help you achieve greatness in your Firm…. a strategy… right???
Yes strategy is important… of course it is! It isn’t just a buzz term used by senior management.  But perhaps it feels cumbersome, unnecessary and not for you.

Someone commented to me some time ago that “small firms don’t need strategy, they just do it”. This flawed me for several reasons. Small firms, possibly even more than larger organisations need to act in the most efficient way possible. They need to make every resource count, to really see benefits and know they have reached success. Larger organisations, by default and critical mass have a more planned approach. That and they often have specialists for each separate work-type who are required to show real ROI; and setting measurable goals and a clear strategy or plan to achieving them is a sure fire way to better measurements.

So why is it that micro to medium firms think there is no need for strategy?  Surely to reach success, you need to know what success looks like and wouldn’t that mean agreeing goals to strive for? If you’re setting goals, then wouldn’t that include an implementation plan of how to reach those goals? Hence the NIKE philosophy of ‘just do it’ doesn’t really work whether you’re an micro firm or a Top 8. But it doesn’t have to be an exhaustive or lengthy process. 

For example taking that thought process and focusing on new client acquisition, micro or enterprise, measurable and achievable goals should be step one to utilising marketing and business development in order to really benefit your business. So in thinking about what you want to achieve, your goal of more clients should include confirming the types of clients you would like to win, understanding the challenges they face and how you could support them. Understanding the numbers and financial targets is also key. With these factors in mind, you can then map out the type of activities you should implement to reach those. Without understanding what and to whom you are selling, efficiency goes out the window. So time to set a plan.

Setting a Plan

Whatever your end target, setting a plan to get there simply allows you to set out your activities to achieve your goal. Without knowing that magical end point however, the yellow brick road to Oz could be a perilous and pointless path. Your activities to reach your client acquisition goal for example could be as simple as a short email campaign through a local network, or a larger pursuit process to gain access to a government panel. Either way, growth more often than not, doesn’t happen by an unplanned accident.  

Don’t forget measurement.

Once you have your goal in sight, make sure you outline exactly what success looks like and how you will measure that you have made it. Whether that be % increase in revenue, # of new clients, or increased engagement of current clients across other areas of your firm. 

Simple Steps

Keep it simple. 

1) Identify the issue you want to tackle. Not always a problem, but maybe something you want to develop. 
“I need to increase revenue.”

2) Set your goal. What is it that you want to achieve? 
“I want to find work through new client acquisition.”

3) Set your activity plan. What do you need to implement to achieve your goal. 
“I know the clients I want to attract and what they may need support on at the moment, so I will produce a tool or offer a webinar as a lead generator to send to prospective clients via my referral network.”

4) Outline what success looks like. What are the points that you will be able to tick off and pat yourself on the back when you have made it to success? 

5) Outline how you will measure and report on this success. Most projects are more than a warm fuzzy feeling that you have made it. You should identify early how you will show others that you have reached nirvana. It helps keep you on track too! 

So don’t follow the ‘just do it’ approach. Set your end point and make a plan to achieve it. Micro to medium firms shouldn’t be afraid of ‘strategy’ or think it is something that doesn’t apply to them. It doesn’t need to be a complicated spreadsheet of programmes and actions that resemble something from the NASA space-station. However, simply identifying your goals and articulating what you need to do to achieve them will help to keep you focused on success!

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