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The 8-Layered Approach To Business Strategy

By Business Coaching Entrepreneur Strategy No Comments

In unpacking the most suitable strategy methods for my clients, I make sure to have them thoroughly understand this approach and how to apply it to their thinking in order to achieve some kind of business objective in the next 12 months.

This strategic approach is split into 8 layers that provide insight and analysis into the goals and measurements required to get some solid work done within a particular window period.

Let’s take a strong, hard look at how exactly it works and in what ways it will help your business shine.


The Situation, The Victory Conditions And The Goals


When looking at this multi-layered approach, there are first a list of questions that need to be asked and key information that needs some sort of identification.

Taking a look at the very top of the approach, you’re welcomed by the need to identify the current situation you’re facing in your business:

This is done by taking a look at some important factors like understanding your risk analysis using all of the right tools; where you sit financially from a cash-flow and liability perspective; understanding what the market looks like in terms of risks and trends; ensuring that you have the right product set for the market at this particular time and where you are in terms of producing your product; and finally, what the current state of your suppliers and staff look like.

Begin with confronting and truly understanding the current situation you’re in and answer all of those particular factors that apply.

The next piece to look at is your shareholder’s victory conditions:

Identify and think clearly about what the shareholder wants to achieve long-term (around 3-5, or 5-7 years); then mid-term (the next 12 months); and begin to unpack what winning and success looks like from a shareholder’s perspective in the next year of engaging in this strategy. When identifying what’s needed at this stage, you look at what winning looks like and by a set deadline, ensuring that you have all the necessary goals that need to be achieved at a particular time.

The third fundamental piece of information that you need to provide before moving on would be the actual business goals:

In finding the best way to go about this, make sure to break it down into a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal); what would be the single measurement to confirm that you’ve won or succeeded in the next 12 months? Would it be winning a certain account, getting x amount of people or clients, achieving x amount of turnover – it needs to be something that’s measurable.

Take it further and find your SMART goals (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Time-based) and then set those objectives based on each business vertical, such as sales, marketing, operations, HR, finance, the product and the rest of the departments in your business.

After identifying your situation, victory conditions and goals – you can now decide what the initiatives are that you need in order to achieve these objectives.


Initiatives, Thrusts And Impact vs Effort

Based on the situation that you’ve analysed, the victory conditions that you’ve identified and the goals that have been set; it’s time to decide on the key strategic initiatives that will be run over the course of a year.

This takes your 12-month goal or objective and has them broken down into four key strategic initiatives that become a quarterly break-down of the year (3 months per initiative). Each of those quarterly initiatives can be divided further into thrusts for each quarter, which refer to the particular things that need to happen in each quarter to get closer to achieving the final year-end goal.

If you manage to complete all four initiatives, you’ll complete your goals.

It’s important to list what you’ll be doing in each thrust (usually 2-3 thrusts per initiative) and achieve them to move on to your next 3-month initiative. However, this can become a little bit difficult to manage all of these things, while running the business on a day-to-day basis.

So, I suggest putting those thrusts into an impact vs effort quadrant, where you can determine whether each thrust is either: low effort and high-impact; low effort and low-impact; low-impact and high effort; or high-impact and high effort.

You’re looking to find the low effort, but high-impact work and pay attention to that, leaving the high effort, but low-impact work to do last.

We want results that we get the most amount of impact from, while doing minimal effort. This has you focus on that first, then on high-impact, but high-effort work; thirdly low-impact, but low effort; and lastly, work that is high effort, but low-impact.

It becomes easier when you can decide which of those thrusts are more important to work on now and which ones can be focused on or left for later in the year.


Tactics, Resources, Sprints, Then Control and Measure

Once you’ve established and categorised the thrusts into appropriate positions and which of them will take priority, you can shift your focus toward deciding which tactics, resources and weekly measurements are needed to get those thrusts done.

There may be a need for particulars to get the jobs done, like: people, money, tools and applications, time allocation, smarter marketing – paying attention to the tactics necessary for completing the thrusts in the most effective way.

After identifying those required tactics and particulars, I suggest breaking it down into weekly sprints; figuring out what you’re going to be doing every week (sometimes bi-weekly) to try and push the business forward to achieve the thrust. Then at the end of each quarter, to re-evaluate those initiatives and take another look at those thrusts.

And last, but not least, as you’ll find in every strategy is the control measurement phase:

Identifying when you start doing these weekly sprints, how well the implementation of these actions are working and what other actions need to be taken to achieve the desired results. Paying attention to the what, how, who and when; how do you know it’s actually working?

You don’t want to get ahead three months, look back and say, “that was a waste”. So, it is important to step away from it on a monthly basis and look carefully at what’s been done over the past four weeks and ask yourself if you’re closer to achieving the thrusts and whether or not you need to speed things up, slow things down, realign, or just cancel.

Like with every strategy, you can (and should) always adapt, accordingly.

There you have it!

An 8-layered approach to a solid strategy that will have you achieving your goals like Christiano Ronaldo.

Speaking of goals: you should include me in one of them. Get yourself a powerful and kick-ass business coach that will take your business all the way to the top.

We can hang-out sometime, have a chat, a meeting, a sit-down and discuss where you see your business going in the next couple of years.

It’s so easy to reach me (almost too easy):

+2783 253 3339



STOP re-inventing the wheel.

By Coaching Entrepreneur Motivation Skills

Across all of my clients, all of whom are business owners, there are similar frustrations relating to their businesses and growth challenges. They have all adopted the “innovation “ hype and are desperately looking for new ways to re-invent their companies, products and systems.


There is nothing wrong with innovation but not a single company has checked all the basic boxes that every company, regardless of service or product, should have.


You see, every retailer, manufacturer, agency and professional needs to have accounts, measurement, sales and/or marketing, procedures and systems for themselves as well as legal compliance.


There is an unwritten law that states that 80% of every company is the same and the remaining 20% is made up of product, service and culture. 80% is the same. Eighty percent!


So why are you spending so much time on getting the 20% right when the 80% will keep you alive and thriving for longer? Getting your accounting in order, your sales in order and your internal communication sorted will allow you to sell an average product with B-class employees for a long time, freeing up cash to allow you to work on the 20% that matters in the long term.


Now I’m not saying you should employ B-team staff and sell second-class services but having an amazing product offering and the world’s greatest team won’t automatically mean you will have a successful business.


What you don’t know, you don’t know, but why are you spending so much time, energy and often money, trying to work out new systems which have been refined a million times over by a million other businesses? Stop trying to re-invent the wheel when all you should be doing is peddling faster and beating the opposition.


Your business has the following major functions in some respect regardless what you call the roles:


  • Finance and accounting

  • Reporting

  • Human resources and culture

  • Sales – New business and retention

  • Marketing

  • Public relations

  • Production

  • Procurement

  • Distribution

These make up the 80% I mentioned earlier. If you can get these running well for your business and best arrange the right people around this, you have a business that will make money often in spite of the product and related market. There are very few, truly unique businesses out there, yours included, and that is okay. I would rather back a “me-too” business that has great structure, concise reporting, a strategy that is implemented and staff that get things done than a business that has the smartest business model and service, that lacks the other 80%.


Take a look at your 80% and ask yourself:

“Why am I always trying to re-invent this wheel when I could ask someone to show me how to do it?”

8 Ways to Make Your New Staff Onboarding Process better.

By Coaching Entrepreneur Interviews Motivation Skills

Hiring is good–it means you’re growing. But when a company doubles or triples in size in a short timeframe, onboarding new hires can quickly derail the schedules of your managers and existing employees. How can you make sure you’re training hires to make the right decisions without slowing down the entire team?


1. Record your foundational materials and assign each employee a mentor.

The biggest thing is to record the foundational training that repeats for each new employee. There’s no reason to have your company’s trainer do live trainings one-on-one or even in small groups when a video can do just as well. Transcribe these video and audio recordings. Reading is still the fastest way to take in information, so organize your training library so that employees and contractors can go back through multiple times at their convenience. Repetition is the mother of all learning, but repetition has to be done right–otherwise, it’s a waste of your company’s resources.

Once the employee has gone through the foundational training material, assign them a mentor. They’ll address unique questions and give insights into the trainee’s specific role and how best to fill it.

2. Create a web-based one-stop shop for new hires.

A membership site is a great way to get new hires acclimated quickly. This should be a destination for new employees to find everything they need to know about working at your company, including standard operating procedures, what technology the company uses (e.g. performance tracking apps and communication tools), company values and even the most popular post-work hangouts among coworkers. You can also include quizzes for tracking progress.

The idea is to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible and set new employees up for success by giving them vital information before their start date. By the time they do get started, they should be able to hit the ground running.

3. Slow down and test before you hire.

Hiring is difficult. The best answer is to slow down. If you try to take on too many people too quickly, you will inevitably hire people who are not in sync with your organization’s mission and values. People are the life force of any organization, and if you make a mistake it can cost you far more than if you slow down the process to find the right people.

At my company, we rely on a best-in-class intern program that is operated in association with institutions such as the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The interns have access to the executive team, the board and our partners. The program allows us to field test potential employees by offering each intern a real-world problem to solve.

4. Clearly articulate your vision on day one.

Be very explicit about your company’s vision, values and culture. By doing this you’ll know that new team members align with your vision, and they’ll be able to contribute more quickly. You need to give new employees a good foundation based on your vision and then empower them to make decisions about how to achieve that vision.

5. Train your employees to train others.

Time is the most important asset we have in our lives, and especially in the business world. Highly skilled employees can transfer their knowledge to new hires, expediting the process that it would normally take a new employee to get up to speed if they are only trained by management. Allowing new hires to “pick the brain” of senior employees is beneficial to both the employees and the company as a whole.

6. Hire multiple people at a time.

As an entrepreneur, there is nothing more important than your time. So whenever my company hires, we hire in multiples of at least two. By training multiples of the same position, you maximize your time and provide an environment that promotes sharing and learning together. We have found that these employees make a much quicker impact than hiring/training one at a time.

7. Don’t skimp on having a leader do some training too.

Your other team members can help a new hire get up to speed, especially with company culture and day-to-day basics. However, you or a manager should spend some time in the first week or two orientating the employee and drafting up the first order of business for the new hire.

While you don’t need to hand hold, it’s imperative that you invest a little time upfront to help them fit in. You’ll waste much more time and money with a high turnover rate, so it’s worth a little extra time at the beginning. In fact, many HR and retention research validates this point. After they’ve got some orientation, make sure to draft up some work they can get started on so they’re busy and feel like their work is meaningful.

8. Develop a comprehensive training program now.

Give every new employee a ramp-up period to get up to speed with your product, the market and the nuts and bolts of their specific role. You should also have comprehensive training materials ready for every employee you bring on. These materials should include information about the competition, functional learning and Q&A sessions with other relevant members of the team. Having a great training program also helps attract the best employees, as these are the ones who want to learn and grow along with your company.


This article originally appeared on http://www.inc.com/

The Law of Three: You should know this!

By Business Coaching Interviews Skills

When you start the process of interviewing for new staff members, you should always refer back to the Law of 3:

  • Interview at least three candidates for a job, comparing and contrasting their qualities and characteristics. Check their suitability against your stated requirements. You would be amazed at how often people forget to do this.

  • Interview the candidate you like three different times: the true person is revealed once you get beyond the initial interview.

  • Interview the person you like in three different places. Brian Tracy of the American Management Association says that people have a “chameleon complex.” They appear a certain way in your office in the first interview and then seem to act and react differently when you move them to different environments.

  • Have any candidate that impresses you interviewed by at least three other people on your team.

  • Check at least three references from the candidate. Ask specific questions around their strengths and weaknesses and whether the referee can tell you anything to help you make a better hiring decision. Ask them whether they would hire the person back. If the answer is not an unequivocal “yes,” be cautious.

  • Check references three deep. Ask the given reference for the names of other people the candidate has worked with and talk to those people, too. You may be surprised at what you learn.

Interviews are the start of the most important function in almost every business and should be taken seriously and never rushed.

Should you want more info on building a successful interview process, please contact me here