< Back to All

Strategies, Budgets & 2022 – What Are You Investing in?

January 26, 2022

By Kim Bode, originally featured in SBAM’s FOCUS magazine

According to the Harvard Business Review (and endorsed by us), a complete strategy has to encompass carefully coordinated choices about the business model. These choices include the highest potential to create value, the competitive position that captures as much of that value as possible, and the implementation processes that adapt constantly to the changing environment while building the capabilities needed to realize value over the long term.

In other words, where is the value? What makes you unique? How will you implement? And finally, how will you adapt?

And, probably the most important, what resources are you going to commit? You can write a beautiful strategy, but if you are not putting money and time towards the implementation and measurement, then it’ll fail. No if, ands, or buts about it.

Side note: You should already be done with 2022 planning, but in reality, most of us (not us at all) are just starting it.

Here is a little sneak peek into our strategy process; we have spent so much time developing and honing it, we illustrated it. If you want to see it, you have to take us to dinner first.

Opportunities

This part is kind of exhausting because you really gotta be in tune with what is happening in the world—*cough*—pandemic. Anybody notice any issues with supply chains recently? No? Yeah, us neither.

Look around. What technology is new within your industry? For us, we’re looking at the latest and greatest in social media land, email marketing developments, marketing automation, social management platforms, changes in the Google and so much more.

For a lot of businesses, this is also looking at retention, recruitment and culture. If you can stand out here, you’re already winning.

Take the time to also dig into your customer make-up. Do a deep dive into audience personas. Are you even talking to the right people? We give you the how-to in our blog post “Are You and Your Customers BFFs?” (8thirtyfour.com/
2020/08/07/how-to-create-audience-personas/)

How do you sell to someone you don’t know? If you don’t understand what motivates them, then how can you create content, messaging, products or services to meet their specific needs? Without personas, you’re left guessing what your customers want, which means you are developing marketing based on what you know, instead of what your audience needs.

All your personas should be built on market research, as well as insight from your existing customer base. Think surveys and interviews. Personas allow you to personalize your marketing for the different segments of your audience.

Uniqueness

The only way to stand out amidst all the noise is to be innovative. If you’re rolling your eyes like “duh, we know,” just give us a minute to get to our point. Innovative is such a damn buzzword, which is why our boyfriend, Seth Godin, refers to it as “finding your purple cow.” How will you stand out? How will you be different? This isn’t product specific; it is simply excelling or doing something your competitors are not doing or not doing well.

As an operator or owner of a business, you have a certain affinity for your product or service which is difficult to look past when developing your strategy. We know you’re awesome, but it’s important that your strategy is based on research and actual customer feedback to really understand the benefits, limitations and opportunities for your brand. “Knowing” how great your product/service is and thinking other people are on the same page is flawed logic.

Implementation

This is often the part where you pat yourself on the back for developing such an amazing strategy…and then you put it on the shelf never to be seen again.

What good is a strategy if you don’t map out how you’ll implement it. Do you have the resources in-house? Do you need to hire an outside consultant to assist? Is everyone on your team aware of their role?

Develop a process for implementing, set-up milestones to be met each quarter, and schedule regular check-ins to ensure everyone stays on track.

Adapt & Analyze

Nothing stays the same for long, which means your strategy needs to adapt when new opportunities arise or if you’re not getting the results you want. You need to adjust tactics as the world around you changes. This doesn’t mean you set fire to the existing strategy. It does mean you need to make tweaks to stay relevant.

This is why you have regular check-ins with your team and set goals for each quarter; it is your performance scorecard. If it isn’t working, change it.

As our best friend, Seth Godin, would say, “You’re either remarkable or you’re invisible.”

You know where to find us for all your 2022 planning needs.


Kim Bode Dog rescuer (hoarder), community advocate (vigilante) and proud (obsessed) business owner – often distracted but never deterred. Bode loves small businesses, so she spends a lot of her time happy houring and advocating for them through the Small Business Association of Michigan’s Legislative Action Council and Leadership Council Advisory committee. When Bode isn’t networking and serving, she can be found on the airwaves on her bi-monthly Happy Hour Hustle podcast.

Share On: