James Burgess, Focus31, StrategiesIn Business Planning Made Easy Part I and Part II; Vision Statement and Mission Statement, we provided the definitive answer as to how they differ.  In  Business Planning Made Easy Part III we introduced the 3rd element in effective business planning, Objectives or Targets.  In that article we called upon business owners to stop being hypocritical.  If you aren’t going to measure your business’ performance and respond actively to the feedback, then stop coaching your children to their education or athletic performances. Now we move on to Strategies

If you missed them catch them here:

  1. The Business Plan Vision Statement
  2. The Business Plan Mission Statement Also EASY & FAST
  3. Business Planning Still EASY & FAST with Objectives

Now we move on to Secret #IV of the 5-Secrets to Business Planning that makes Business Planning EASY, FAST, SUSTAINABLE and entirely PRACTICAL….STRATEGIES.

We’ll open with the perspective that within this methodology for business planning that is EASY, FAST, SUSTAINABLE  and entirely PRACTICAL, Strategies are the hardest and the slowest to accomplish.  We aren’t suggesting they are hard or long to do, they are just the hardest and slowest of the fast and easy planning we coach to.

Strategies are the foundation for your business. I liken Strategies to a foundation of a home.  If you build James Burgess, Focus31, Block Foundationa foundation intended for a 2,200 sq ft. home, you are limited by physics and municipal bylaws in terms of how big of a house you can build on that foundation.

If you endeavor to build a 10-story house on a foundation intended for 2,200 sq ft. the house will invariably fall over in any kind of a high wind.  Alternatively, if you build your house out beyond the foundation, your neighbors will complain you are encroaching on the property line and/or the municipal by-laws will prohibit you from building out the house without a foundation.

Strategies are like building a 50,000 sq ft foundation for your business allowing your business to grow taller and broader without structural damage.

The format for writing a Strategy IS NOT paragraph upon paragraph upon page upon page of flowery adjectives (as most consultants would produce) that describe nothing and produce nothing actionable.

Strategies answer the question…how will this Company be built?

The structure for Strategies that makes them practical because they are easy and fast to write and can be understood easily and turned into real action is:

  • Start with a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal – thus the mammoth image)
  • Then add  3-4 ways, based on current knowledge the Company can begin to move towards the accomplishment of the BHAG.

By the very nature of a BHAG, Strategies are not short term projects that will be accomplished overnight. In fact, because the goal is Big, Hairy and Audacious, the outcome may never be achieved.  It is the intent to continuously iJames Burgess, Focus31, long road of strategiesmprove the business by chasing down the BHAGs that is the power of a well crafted Strategy.

In effect BHAGs are like the rabbit at the dog track!

Furthermore, as we implement the current 3-4 ways we can drive towards achieving the BHAGs, we may learn that several don’t create the desired results.  So we amend, test and learn more ways to achieve the BHAG potentially creating a whole new set of 3-4 ways we believe the Strategy can be fulfilled. 

Thus continuously improving!


  1. Strategy Statement = Business Planning
  2. BHAG= Perfect Business Planning (why is that  Big Hairy and Audacious…because we will never perfect anything and so we are always continuously endeavoring to improve our planning within our organization to get towards perfecting it)
  3. 3-4 ways to implement towards perfecting business planning;
    • Get a brilliant business plan done on the basis of “Get it Down Then Get It Right” then Commit to a minimum of quarterly business plan reviews
    • Measure against all Objectives
    • Hire a business plan advisor (Focus 31 &/or James Burgess)
    • Integrate business planning into the entire organization (Atten Business Owners:  This is critical as getting your “Managers” focused and accountable gets the monkey of responsibility off of your back and on to them).

Note:  There is a whole Strategy written in 8-lines!  How easy and fast is that?

James Burgess, Focus31, Raving FansOther current day strategy areas would include:

  • Customer Satisfaction with BHAG:  Have Raving Fans + 3 – 4 ways to make it happen
  • Problem Resolution with BHAG:  Own All Client Problems + 3 – 4 ways to make it happen
  • Industry with BHAG:  Always Be Creating The Industry + 3 – 4 ways to make it happen
  • Culture with BHAG:  Live A Performance Culture + 3 – 4 ways to make it happen
  • Employees with BHAG:  Be An Employer Of Choice + 3 – 4 ways to make it happen

To close on Strategies we need to go back to the beginning.

It is best to not just start crafting Strategies.  A little business analysis may be in order.  So start the Strategy process by doing a SWOT Analysis of the current state of your business.  Identify; internal Strengths, and how can they be leveraged, internal Weaknesses and how can they be improved, external Opportunities and how can they be exploited and external Threats and how can they be defended?

Such a review will uncover business critical matters than can best be addressed over time with Strategies.  Of course some may be so urgent you’ll need to jump right to an Action Plan and that is our segue to the next article.

Stand by!


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