The Difference between Strategies, Goals and Tactics in Your Business.
“Should I be doing more social media?” “Should I be investing in ads on Google or Facebook?” “Should I hire a new staff member?”
It seems everywhere I go lately that I’ve been inundated with these types of business questions. As soon as people hear what I do, they start asking for advice. Now, I absolutely adore a good business conversation and clearly I have no shortage of opinions. However, my response has been largely unsatisfying to my inquisitors.
My response is, “It depends.”
I then ask each person questions like “What are you trying to achieve? How does [insert said action here] get you to your end game?” “Who is your target audience?” “What is driving the need to hire?”
The most common response: Blank looks.
Picture yourself driving in a car to a meeting. You have a rough idea of your destination and the timeframe in which you want to reach it. You see a road approaching on the right and someone standing on the corner. Do you roll down your window and yell, “Excuse me, should I take this road?”
It’s absurd, right? How can the bystander possibly advise you, if they don’t know where you’re going?
Goals, Strategies, Tactics
When making decisions about your business, it’s critical to delineate between goals, strategies and tactics:
- Goals: The overall goals for your business. These can be by month, quarter, year, etc.
- Strategies: The broad approaches you are going to take in order to achieve your goals.
- Tactics: Measurable tasks and tools you’ll use to execute your strategy and realize your goals.
Every tactical business decision should be linked to your strategy and move you closer to your goal.
So, when looking at choices in your business whether it’s hiring a new staff member or getting on the social media bandwagon, ask yourself, how does [insert said tactic here] fit into your company’s vision, marketing strategy, or organizational structure, etc.
If you can’t answer the question specifically, it’s time to slow down and do some planning.
Driving with Purpose
Now, picture yourself on the way to that same meeting. This time, you know exactly where you’re headed, are armed with a map and have a planned route. You again see a bystander on the road. This time, you roll down your window and yell, “Excuse me, I’m driving to ABC and need to be there by 10 am. Will this road get me there faster than XYZ route?”
When you know where you’re going (your goals) and your plans (your strategy) when you make decisions (your tactics), you reach your goals faster and more productively than driving blind. So, make a plan and then hit the road!
What’s your best business planning tip?