I see the same mistake, time and time again!
It’s holding people back.
It’s causing more frustration and suffering than necessary.
It’s feeding into fears.
It’s something I saw in my corporate career and now it’s all over the entrepreneurial world!
So, forgive me if I come across a little like a rant today... it’s just time to clean the slate and get us all back to why we do what we do, and how it can help us live the way we want to live!
Are you ready for it?
It’s not a very SEXY topic, so it’s an easy one to over look.
Strategies vs. Tactics
I know... I can already hear some of you checking out and skipping to the next story.
I promise you, stick with me and there’ll be a little juiciness for you ;) and perhaps even permission to stop doing things you don't love!
I can’t tell you how many hours of debate I was involved in during my corporate days – when we were strategic business planning – around whether something was a strategy or a tactic. Often, the group tired of the debate and conceded to “not really care enough” so we could “get on” with things.
To me, this was a mistake.
At the time, I’m not sure I had the capacity to describe why it was so important for people to understand the difference between these two – strategy vs. tactic
Now, I can.
And I see entrepreneurs repeating the mistake, over and over!
In fact, many other entrepreneurs are profiting from people’s lack of understanding.
As much as I can appreciate the success of individuals finding (what they call) their “niche”... (don’t get me started on people’s misunderstanding and misrepresentation of what that is!)...
I am more concerned by the amount of frustration and needless suffering it is causing good people struggling to make a living from (what is at risk of no longer being) their passions.
Let me explain...
Tactics are changing.
Every day there is a new “must have”, “must do”, “get on board now before it changes” TACTIC ... masquerading as a STRATEGY... or sometimes even a BUSINESS MODEL!
Speak to Sell
FB Group Selling
Free plus Shipping Books
FB Live Launches
High Ticket Coaching
Etc. Etc. Etc.
Why is that a problem?
Problem 1: Measuring success, or interpreting the lack of it!
People hop from tactic to tactic, without ever fully understanding “why” they are doing it in the first place – which makes it extremely difficult to measure the success of it, or improve its’ effectiveness.
Actual Issue: Not enough clients
False Strategy (actually a tactic): Do a Facebook Live every day.
False Measured Outcome: 30 FB Lives in 30 Days, 200 average views, 350 likes
Result: frustrated it isn’t working, lack of motivation to keep doing it, not sure why or what to do about it
Actual Issue: Lack of clients
Actual Strategy: Increase connections with new prospective clients
Actual Tactic: Do Facebook Lives every day
Actual Measurement: Engagement from FB lives (booked calls, direct messages, email sign-ups, etc.)
Results: ability to adjust FB lives to increase engagement or choose a different tactic that would still meet the overall goal of connecting with prospects
In this example, if I think the strategy is "do FB lives", and I’m doing them, it is hard to see why my business opportunities aren’t expanding. When I remember the real strategy is all about "connecting to prospects" as a way to solve my "no NEW clients problem", I can ask myself if there is another way, or what about this way is not accomplishing the overall strategy. I might realize that the strategy requires a few tactics, rather than only this one.
Problem 2: Aligning to who we are and what we love
Many of us chose to enter this crazy world of owning our own business so we could design a life and career of our dreams. Getting stuck working on tactics that don’t feel good, or leverage our unique skill sets can feel the exact opposite of freedom.
In the example above, the individual can feel like “being on social media” several times a day is the ONLY way to generate new leads and new business.
If your business plan consists solely of “do FB lives to get clients”, then you’re right. You do need to be on social media constantly.
There were other options?
You could leverage your unique resources and talents better?
You could create a better way, which felt fabulous to you?
For example, consider an Entrepreneur who wants to expand her business into offering content digitally.
Doesn’t love being on social media
Struggles to understand all the platform algorithms to increase her following
Doesn’t like engaging frequently and consistently online to look for clients
Makes most of her living doing live corporate speaking gigs
She loves speaking live
Already has a steady stream of repeat corporate clients
If she is focused on serving more people with her work (the bigger vision), and realizes that in order to do that she must engage with more individuals outside of her speaking gigs (the strategy), then she has numerous options for how she goes about doing that (the tactics).
She’s not stuck “having to do social media”, unless she wants to.
In fact, I suggested the best strategy for her would be “leverage your current audience”.
There are a lot of tactics to chose from that would meet that goal, and never require her to be a social media maven.
Whether a tactic is effective or not depends on more than just whether it can “work” - It depends on whether it will align with who she is and what she wants.
Many people forget this part.
Problem 3: Clarifying the real goal
If you are someone who started your business for more freedom, fun, meaning, and/or purpose, then I imagine you aren’t interested in throwing a bunch of tactics against the wall in hopes that one sticks.
Watch the online world, and you’ll see so many people profiting from the fears of others – mostly people’s fear that they won’t be able to make money and pay their bills.
So the “strategies” they are selling, are really tactics meant to focus solely on financial gains, without much consideration as to your bigger why, or your unique brilliance.
Consider your bigger why, and you will find there are many paths to get there.
Focus on your unique strengths and assets, and you’ll whittle those paths down to a manageable number of options.
The options aren’t limiting.
The number of options (and the speed of new ones) can be overwhelming.
You can simplify this process.
First, decrease the overwhelm by focusing on strategies first... the ones that move the needle on your bigger goal... the impact you are trying to make.
Next, assess the tactical options based on what aligns with your skills sets, your interests... and dare I say... your joy!
This love-what-you-do-entrepreneurial stuff is hard enough, without “should’ing” all over ourselves with a feeling we need to implement the latest, greatest tactic being peddled by the flavour-of-the-month online guru.
I’ll send them some love to them and say, “Thanks for reminding us we have options.”
And... I’ll side-step to remind everyone else that the best way to reach your overall goals, is to be really clear on what you need to do (your strategies) first.
Then, you can pick from the cornucopia of options how you do it (the tactics).
The added benefit...
Often, this means your overall strategic plan can be drilled down to 3 simple phrases, that will help you stay focused and filter out all the extra distractions that hold you back!
To your fabulously strategic plan,
And your effectively aligned, fun and fabulous tactical implementation!
Lifestyle Business Strategist & Empowerment Coach
“Be Your Own Brand of Brilliance”
P.S. If you need some support to help you get started, and clear the clutter out of your own strategic plans, hop on my calendar for a FREE 30 min. Strategy Session!
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