Strategy implementation is one of those concepts that all small business owners and managers know they need to work on. The problem is that very few of those owners or managers understand how to get started — or how to proceed once they have.
That’s where the experts at Sling can help. We’ve created this complete strategy implementation guide for small businesses so that you don’t have to recreate the wheel. Follow these eight easy steps to implement any strategy — large or small — and reach your goals sooner.
What Is Strategy Implementation?
On the face of it, strategy implementation is fairly simple: it’s the process that translates general strategies into actionable plans for reaching your goals. But underneath the straightforward definition lies a maze of different variables and methods that make strategy implementation difficult for a business to achieve.
Strategy implementation is built on such essential elements as:
It also incorporates a big-picture view of your business as well as SWOT and environmental analyses and any relevant issues and objectives. Needless to say, there’s a lot to consider when working to implement a new strategy.
We’ve simplified the process by reducing it to its basic components so that it’s easier to understand and, ultimately, execute.
8 Steps For Strategy Implementation
1) Appoint A Visible Leader
Every project needs a visible leader — strategy implementation is no different. For a small business, the leader will likely be the owner or manager. You can also delegate smaller strategy implementation projects to trusted employees who want to develop their skills and advance.
For large-scale strategy implementation, the leader should have access to a wide range of data, including but not limited to:
- Employee scheduling
- Existing business market
This gives the leader a complete picture of the business so he or she can make the most informed decisions possible.
For small-scale strategy implementation — like reorganizing the bar in a restaurant — less information is necessary. Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll assume strategy implementation on a grander scale (i.e., business-wide) so that you can get a feel for major organizational changes.
2) Create The Mission, Vision, And Values
Once you’ve appointed a leader, it’s time to create the mission, vision, and values of your strategy. The leader doesn’t have to do this all on their own. They can, of course, if the business is small enough. But even a mom-and-pop coffee shop can benefit from a diverse range of input at this point.
Don’t be afraid to meet with employees or talk with other business owners about creating a mission, vision, and values statement. That information will make the next few steps much easier.
3) Set Organizational Goals
Next, it’s time to set the organizational goals that pertain to this particular strategy implementation. Organizational goals are high-level objectives that apply to the business as a whole (e.g., market penetration, opening another location, new hiring practices).
These are usually items that a CEO, owner, or high-level manager is responsible (and accountable) for. Keep in mind that organizational goals will sometimes overlap with departmental and employee goals. It all depends on the size and scope of your business and your strategy.
4) Set Departmental Goals
When you have a complete view of your organizational goals, break them into smaller sub-goals and delegate responsibilities to each department.
For example, if one of your organizational goals is to reduce and simplify the processes in your restaurant, you might translate that into streamlining activity behind the bar. It then becomes a departmental goal assigned to the head bartender.
He or she would come up with a plan to make that goal a reality, and then either execute the plan personally or delegate the responsibility to another employee or team of employees.
5) Compose A Strategic Plan
Once you’ve established the mission, vision, and values statement and set organizational and departmental goals, it’s time to compose your strategic plan. Start by creating a written document that details the steps and processes your business needs to reach the goals you’ve set.
Be as detailed as possible, but also be willing to go back and change the plan if you see that something isn’t working or if someone has a better idea.
6) Analyze And Allocate The Resources
After you’ve composed your strategic plan, use that information to analyze and allocate any and all resources necessary to get the job done. Don’t forget to take into account:
All of these resources can have a dramatic effect on the success of your strategy implementation.
7) Assemble A Team And Go To Work
With your plans set and your resources dedicated to the task at hand, it’s time to assemble your team and go to work. Assign individual tasks and set deadlines to adhere to the timeline you’ve established in your strategic plan.
Once the project is underway, get everyone involved. While only a small team may be working on the actual implementation, success depends on getting everyone in your business engaged and working toward the same goal.
It’s also essential to hold employees accountable for their part of the plan so that they take ownership of their work and feel invested in the change. But don’t give individual employees too much power. If you do, you run the risk of them making changes that are contrary to your overall plan.
8) Take Advantage Of Performance Measurement Tools
Don’t let your strategy implementation continue too long without measuring its performance. That may involve an employee performance review, another SWOT analysis, a labor-cost review, or something completely different. Again, it all depends on your goals and the strategy implementation itself.
The tools you choose to gauge strategy implementation performance will be dictated, in large part, by the smaller departmental goals you’ve established.
If, for example, you’re trying to simplify the clock-in/clock-out procedure in your business, you would get a clearer picture of all the variables involved by incorporating a time-tracking suite of tools like Sling to measure performance. That way, you would know for sure if the changes you’re making are helping or hindering the process as a whole.
Your Strategy Isn’t Set In Stone
No plan is perfect, so don’t consider it set in stone. Once you’ve finalized everything and turned your team loose to implement the strategy, it’s time to observe, assess, and make changes if necessary.
Look for pieces of the plan — or the strategy itself — that aren’t working and tweak them so that they do. Sometimes, all it takes is a slight change to get back on the road to success.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.