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What Does Your Business NEED to Do?
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This post is part of the What your business SHOULD be doing online series.
To get the whole picture, you may want to click that link and start at the beginning.

As a business owner, you are constantly being hit with many types of distractions.  When you get distracted by something that does not help advance one or more of your business goals, you can end up wasting a lot of time and money and gaining a whole bunch of frustration. Worse, it can put your company at risk.  Therefore, businesspeople need a way to figure out if an online solution or approach truly represents an opportunity or is simply a distraction.

Luckily, that way already exists. By using their business goals as the filter through which they make all their online strategic and tactical decisions, businesses can stay focused and avoid getting distracted.

Goals – Strategies – Tactics

Your business goals are the reasons you start your business in the first place. You may want to accomplish one or more of these goals:

  • Build the business as big as it can go
  • Build the business to a point, sell it and retire early
  • Be your own boss
  • Help those in need
  • Make a living by doing the things you love to do every day
  • And on and on…

As you can see, business goals can vary a lot from business to business, but they all have one thing in common: they must drive everything the business and its employees do.

If that’s not the case, then you will not achieve your business goals and it is for that reason that all strategies and tactics must be held up to the filter of the business’ goals.

Let’s take a quick look at the difference between goals, strategies and tactics:

  1. Goals: As mentioned above, goals are the reason you started your business. For example, an antique dealer’s goal could be, “to have a company that lets her do what she loves while making enough of a living to support expenses and some luxuries.”
  2. Strategies: Strategies are the high-level plans (methods and approaches) for achieving a business’ goals. For example, our antique dealer’s strategy could be, “earn $x.xx selling products from my retail shop each year so I can continue to run my business so I can continue to make a living (i.e. pay for all of the expenses and some luxuries).”
  3. Tactics: Tactics are where the rubber hits the road. Your tactics are the approaches and tasks you actually take and do to make your strategy successful and to reach your business goals. For example, to increase traffic to her store, our antique dealer can use her Facebook page as a spot to post, as well as alert, her customers to new pieces that come into her shop.

Filtering Out Distractions

Each and every time you evaluate whether you should use a specific online tactic (a solution or approach, you should consider your business’ goals and strategies. You need to ask yourself:

  1. What outcome(s) will using this tactic yield?
  2. Will the outcome(s) move me closer to achieving a strategic goal that in turn will move me closer to achieving a business goal?
  3. If I implement this tactic, what tactics am I passing over to do so (you can’t do it all, as much as you would like that to be the case)?

One important note: this approach is as valid offline as it is online. In fact, I suggest that you forget the words “online” and “offline” and just think of them as channels where you can do business and achieve your goals.

More to Come

Next, I’ll continue the “What your business SHOULD be doing online” series with a post that puts it all together so you can finally figure out what your business SHOULD be doing online.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments.

Matt MansfieldPresident, MattAboutBusiness.com
Matt helps entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies figure out what their business SHOULD be doing online. Since 1993, his career has included product and project management, marketing and PR, software design and development, entrepreneurship and startup experience, public speaking and training for both groups and individuals.
www.mattaboutbusiness.com | Facebook | @MattSMansfield | More from Matt

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