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3 Questions to Help Create A Business Strategy that Works

America's trusted voice on money and business, Dave Ramsey is a personal money management expert and extremely popular national radio personality. His three New York Times best-selling books - Financial Peace, More Than Enough and The Total Money Makeover - have sold more than 6 million copies combined. His latest book is EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches.
Where you want to take your business requires a business strategy. Here are 3 questions you can use to help create your business strategy. 3 Questions to Help Create A Business Strategy that Works

I love talking about business strategy with my team. It is so cool to be in a room with smart, super–motivated people discussing ideas for taking a project to the next level.

In the process, we’ve discovered an easy way to get started down this path is by asking three questions. These questions are simple, basic, and to the point. Plus, they help lay a successful foundation for your strategy. They are:

Where are you?

Before making any decision on where you want to take your business, you need to assess where you are today. Write down which goals you’ve hit and which ones you haven’t, what’s working and what’s not, and areas where you were overly optimistic and those where you were realistic.

Once you complete your list, the next step is to ask yourself why you progressed in some areas and bombed in others. Begin by taking an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Also, consider what opportunities you see for your company as well as any potential threats.

Finally, think about the environment in which your business operates. What external trends, like competition, customers, regulatory and even political issues, might affect your business? Find out what’s going on in your business that’s driving its performance.

Where do you want to go?

This may be the single most important question you’ll ask yourself all year. Simply put, without a vision your organization will perish. You can’t make payroll, your team becomes just a bunch of employees, morale goes down, turnover goes up, and sales go down.

Once your vision is clear, make a list of mid– and long–term objectives for the next three to five years. For example, you want $4 million in revenue in year three. The key is to be clear about what you’re aiming at. These targets for tomorrow, along with the perspective of where you are today, provide you the proper context for the next step.

How do we get there?

You know where you need to be going; now how do you get there? Create a game plan that is specifically geared to get you from where you are today to where you want to be in the future.

List what you need to start doing, what you should continue to do, and what you need to stop doing, as well as any obstacles you may face. Once you figure these out, start setting your goals. Remember, for goals to work, they must be specific, measurable, time–sensitive, written down–and above all–yours.

Once your goals are set, make an action plan that aligns with your goals. What’s an action plan? It’s simply a written list of who does what by when. Follow that by repeatedly communicating your vision and plans to your team to keep them onboard.

Creating a strategy for your company isn’t a quick or easy thing. It takes a lot of thought, a lot of time, and tons of patience. But once it’s complete, it will become a compass that points straight toward success!

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