A successful business is not a matter of luck…it’s STRATEGIC!

Everyone knows that strategy in business is important.  Yet when it comes time to putting strategy into practice, most people don’t know how.

What does it mean to be strategic?

Being strategic means getting clear on where you’re starting from and putting a plan in place to reach where you want to go.

So why are strategy plans so important?

Isn’t it enough to have a goal and figure things out as they come up along the way? After all, nothing ever really goes exactly according to plan, right?. The answer is yes, of course.  You can go moment to moment and deal with whatever pops up. But as Benjamin Franklin once said,  “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” I experienced the validity of this quote firsthand when I became co-owner of a 100% certified organic restaurant in NY.

The goal was clear: Bring organic food mainstream and change the world one meal at a time.

Brilliant, I thought.  Now who couldn’t get behind a mission like that? I loved the idea so much, I decided to dive in after leaving my cushy corporate job and help make this restaurant a success.  However, what I found once stepping in really surprised me. This well intentioned business with great promise was in chaos and an absolute mess. Customer complaints were constant, employees were visibly unhappy and of course, sales were low.

Panic set in but it was too late. I’d already quit my job in the middle of the financial crisis and there was no turning back. My only option was to dig deep and get to the core of the issues and turn this place around. I set out on a discovery process to gain insight into the situation.  I asked questions of everyone from customers, suppliers, employees, neighbors and even the mailman.

What I learned surprised me. No one really knew or understood the mission, purpose or vision of the business.

To clarify:

  • Mission is your What. What exactly do you do.
  • Purpose is your Why. The reason you exist as an organization
  • Vision is your Where.  A vision for your future.

Let’s look at the restaurant as an example:

  • Mission: Offer 100% certified organic and delicious whole food.
  • Purpose: To bring organic food into the mainstream and change the world one meal at a time.
  • Vision: Create a world where organic food is the norm and all restaurants will eventually one day be 100% organic.

While the restaurant had a Mission, Vision and Purpose there was no real plan to materialize them. The missing ingredient was a well thought out and executed strategy plan.

The next step was clear. I launched a campaign to teach everyone from customers to staff what the restaurant truly stands for and why it matters so much that it exist in the world.  With that understanding in mind, it was simple for all to see where we were and where we were aiming to go.  The strategy plan now made sense and so did the rules, business systems and goals.

The turnaround was impressive.

Excited to be part of a meaningful purpose and clear about their individual role as it related to the big picture, employees were smiling again. The excitement carried down to the customers who felt good about supporting a business they cared about and that cared about them.

Customers were voting with their dollars, and sales increased by 50% within 6 months.

The restaurant became known as somewhat of a laboratory and meeting place for people to come together and share their knowledge and success stories about organic food. Loyal customers loved bringing their loved ones to their favorite new place and telling them not only about the delicious organic food, but also about the restaurant’s environmentally friendly practices such as the use of energy efficient kitchen equipment, wind power, recycled and biodegradable packaging, organic flowers and so much more.

Success was evident in the numbers and the smiling faces all around. Surprisingly, the missing ingredients were just passion and a strategy plan.

Are you ready to build a strategy plan for ultimate success?

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