Strategic Intent

Most business strategy is developed within academia targeted towards large companies. While there can be some good knowledge you can glean from these resources, small business strategy really needs its own approach. The first step for you the owner is to develop a long-term perspective in the form of your missional intent. Once this is done, the next step is to create your strategic objectives.

Strategy can become so abstract for a small business. One way to think about your objectives is to answer two questions 1) how can I better serve my target customer and 2) how can I serve more of my target customer. Your objectives then need to fall into one of these two categories.

Strategic objectives need to be stated in what you can do in the next 12 months. These objectives describe the path you are taking to arrive at your missional intent. Essentially if you accomplished your objectives, you should be closer to this mission.

Here are some guidelines for creating objectives:

  • They should be important. You want to focus on objectives that will move the needle on your overall missional intent. You have to create objectives that will drastically change your current activities and align them behind your long-term rallying cry.
  • They should stretch you. I would much rather see a larger goal that presses you than an achievable goal. The reason is that big goals change your perspective. They cause you to think on a different scale. This scale leads to creative solutions that you might not otherwise come up with. Even if you don’t achieve the objective, you are much more likely to make good progress towards it by stretching yourself.
  • They should be limited. As a small business you really can’t have more than a couple of these. My suggestion is three. This number can grow only as you have staff that can own the oversight of ensuring that you are making progress on the objective.
  • They should be tangible. This means your objective needs to be unambiguous. While you can set qualitative goals, it takes some work to make them clear. And it becomes difficult to measure progress towards the objective. I suggest that you set a specific number you are shooting for.

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