As a business adviser, you exist to help your clients. Ultimately, their success is your success. But with many different clients working across a range of industries, all with their own ways of working, knowing how to offer the best support isn’t always easy.

One of the biggest problems we see time and time again is that businesses don’t know what they don’t know. And what’s worse is they don’t always realise this. They may think they have a good understanding of their business without appreciating that there are important gaps in their knowledge that can affect their potential success.

For any business that wants to build a strategy, it should be as much about gathering information and increasing knowledge as it is about making effective decisions.

If you’d like to build more robust business strategies with your clients using a simple process, here are our seven steps to success:

7 Steps to developing an effective business strategy infographic
7 steps to creating a winning business strategy

1. The current situation

Whilst a business strategy looks towards the future, it can’t be produced effectively without taking into account the current situation. This is actually very often an overlooked area. It’s only by establishing the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that you can start to build a complete picture, and this picture will help you identify where the easy wins are and what the problem areas might be. The best way to begin this process is by gathering facts. Asking your clients questions that cover a range of areas will give you a wealth of information. Think about everything from factors outside of the businesses’ control, such as regulations or competition, to reviewing their day to day working practices and level of resource.

2. What are the goals?

Anyone advising a business will know that having a goal is vital. It’s hard to achieve anything if you don’t have something to aim for. Sometimes the simplest elements can be the most imperative, such as finding out what the ambitions of the business owner are or where they want their business to be in five years’ time. The big picture questions allow you to get the right focus from the outset. And if your clients haven’t already considered this, it could be useful to have some suggestions in mind that might help.

3. Are they on the right track to achieving it?

Some goals are quite easy to achieve. Having an already good product that you just sell more of is the dream situation. But for many businesses, achieving growth or change can be quite complex. It may be that someone working from home needs to set up an office and hire employees. Perhaps more machinery is needed, or the company needs a bigger product range to realistically achieve the turnover it desires. This is the point where you need to take the findings from the evaluation of the current business situation and look at what changes may be required to move the business forward. It’s very important to have an honest discussion. Most things are attainable, but you need to be realistic about how you approach them. Listing priorities here can be very useful, and risk must be explored. Set out the key stages of how the goals can be achieved, and state what problems may be encountered with ideas of how to overcome them.

4. 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule can be a hugely useful one when a business wants to make improvements. Also known as the Pareto Principle, this rule basically states that 80% of your results should come from just 20% of effort. This means you need to identify and then prioritise the areas of a business that are most profitable or productive, and then focus more on those. It’s about getting the most results from the least amount of work or effort. Having already analysed the current situation in step one, you can use this data once again to identify what activity is generating the best results, and then decisions can be made around this. The outcome will be that your client simply does far more of what is working and focuses less on the least productive tasks.

5. Resource review

Once you know what you want to achieve and you have an idea of how it’s going to be executed, you then need to review the resources. For example, is there any capital expenditure that needs to be considered in advance that could affect the long term results? What new equipment may need to be purchased? Is there a requirement for more staff? Would the company need bigger premises? For all of this, the return on investment must be considered, with long term goals and long term gains in mind.

6. Action plan

After all the key thinking has been done, one of the final steps is to list down exactly how it will work. This is where the timelines and individual action points are decided upon. At which point in time will certain things need to happen and who is going to be responsible for them? Knowing all the key points in advance makes it much easier to do the work, and it helps to manage expectations.

7. Track results

The very last step is to track results, as without knowing and understanding how effective the strategy is, it will be hard to keep it on target. We recommend keeping a scoreboard of the important measures that you regularly review with your clients. We also recommend flexibility. With ever changing markets, you should be ready to react accordingly when new information comes to light, ensuring the strategy is always aligned to the current status.

Automated Process

Although there is a simple thread here – gather data, analyse it, make key decisions from that and then build a plan – it can still be a great deal of work. Processing data alone can be hugely cumbersome. That’s why we are finding that more and more businesses are turning to automated procedures to make the task easier.

We developed our Hubbix platform from real life experience, and it aids businesses through all of these seven steps. This not only simplifies the process, but it streamlines strategy building, resulting in a clear vision of the current situation, what needs to be achieved and how to get there, all with a real time track of what has happened.

If you are looking for a way to effectively automate the process, leaving you more time to work with your clients and less time churning through information, we would like to offer a no obligation demo of our platform. Please book this below.

For more support and guidance on how you can simplify the process of building a strategy with your clients, please contact us.

See how Hubbix can save you time and make you more efficient