Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
—Sun Tzu, military strategist and author of “The Art of War”
We are so close to our businesses and its everyday details that we have difficulty answering the bigger-picture questions. We can break through that blockage by analyzing an entity that we are fond of, an entity that we observe from a distance.
In an article at his Web site DuctTapeMarketing.com, John Jantsch described the differences between a company’s mission, objectives, goals, strategies, and tactics.
A marketing strategy is a clear explanation of how you’re going to get there, John said. An effective marketing strategy is a concise explanation of your stated plan of execution to reach your objectives.
To become the market leader is an objective, he said. To serve our customers with honor and dignity is a mission. To double the number of new customers is a goal.
To wrap my head around these concepts, I placed them in a sports context, specifically the near-term prospects of my NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, commonly referred to as the “Hapless Cleveland Browns.” (I’m nothing if not loyal.) So with the clarity of the football example helping me, I applied John’s definitions to my business. The results are below.
Give this process a try, and put an interest of yours in place of the Browns. For example, it could be a favorite musical group, local organization, or company.
Mission in John’s example: serve our customers with honor and dignity
Mission for the Cleveland Browns: put a product on the field that Clevelanders can be proud of
Mission for The Solopreneur Life: help solopreneurs reach their business objectives and goals
Objective in John’s example: become the market leader
Objective for the Cleveland Browns: contend for Super Bowl titles
Objective for me: be a leader in providing resources, connection, and community to solopreneurs
Goal in John’s example: double the number of new customers
Goal for the Cleveland Browns: win 8 games in 2011, 10 games in 2012, average 10 wins per year from 2013 to 2018
Goal for The Solopreneur Life: hit revenue of x thousand in 2011, x thousand in 2012, with x percent gains from 2013 to 2018.
Strategy in John’s example: a clear explanation of how you’re going to get there
Strategy for the Cleveland Browns: in the 2011 Rookie Draft, select: a big-play receiver, a right tackle who someday could be an all-Pro, a cornerback who can start immediately and eventually become an all-Pro. In the 2012 Rookie Draft, select an impact player in the front seven on defense, and a quarterback. For current players, retain the services, long term, of Joe Thomas, Alex Mack, Joe Haden, and T.J. Ward; make a decision at the end of the 2011 season regarding the viability of Colt McCoy as the quarterback.
Strategy for me: develop and execute marketing plans for three areas: local business, online advertising revenue, and product sales. Develop and execute a content plan for all properties.
Tactics in John’s example: not given
Tactics for the Cleveland Browns:
• Attend the all-star games and the NFL Combine and focus in particular on the positions of need
• Identify 50 players at each position and analyze every play from their past two seasons
• Identify 10 finalists at each position, interview them, their coaches, find out everything we can about them
• Rank from 1 to 10 the top 10 players at each position
• Rank those 30 players
• At the Rookie Draft, select our highest-ranking player when it’s our turn to pick
Tactics for The Solopreneur Life:
• Frame all decisions within an attitude of service and giving
• Be intentional about obtaining client feedback
• Use surveys and social-media for gauging client needs
• Test local newspaper, school publications, postcards, cold calls, other methods; adjust, based on results
• Create a media kit for prospects, identify prospects who would benefit; ask prospects to advertise
• Establish a product calendar for 2011 and 2012, backed by marketing plans;
• Establish weekly content goals for TheSolopreneurLife.com, Facebook, Twitter, BlogTalkRadio
• Measure performance of tactics and cut those with a low ROI
I could go on and on with a list of tactics, but I hope you get the idea!
Share Results With Your Fellow Solopreneurs
What did you choose to analyze? What insights did it reveal about your own business? Please share your comments below.