Here at Nuvem9, we recently held our Annual Business Strategy Boot Camp to talk all things strategy, improvement and innovation. The results showed immediately – a clear focus, increased productivity and the strategy got underway quickly.
It’s so common to get sidetracked in business – sometimes with those great inspirational ideas that come up, other times with those issues you’d rather not be dealing with. Sound familiar?!
Whatever strategy planning stage you’re at, we wanted to share the reflections we had with our own Boot Camp and some methods and principles we work to for gaining and retaining momentum towards our big vision.
3 Things you should take away from a business boot camp
If you ever feel like you’re spinning all the plates, spending (too much) time in meetings and you aren’t gaining the results you want right now, these 3 key tips can help get you and your team feeling confident you’re back on track.
Key Takeaway #1
Plan in 90-day sprints
We once heard of a company doing a 10-year business plan. Our response was, “Why?” So much can change in an ever-evolving business and worldwide landscape, as well as your own personal aspirations over 10 years. So we say, there’s no point mapping out 10 years. 90-Day sprints offer a realistic way to achieve the milestones for your 1, 2 & 3+ year vision.
If you’re clear on your vision, you only need to map out 90 days at a time to achieve those big goals.
What it looks like in practice:
- Use a 2 by 2 or 3 by 3 goal framework (2 or 3 big goals, 2 or 3 projects to achieve each goal)
- Have your 1-year goals identified at a high level and broken down into 4 stages (quarterly)
- Make your goals and KPI’s measurable and with a clear ‘why’
- Don’t stretch yourself too thin – all projects that you work on to achieve your goal should all feed into your big vision taking into account skill, resource and capacity (or plan in to expand on these areas)
- Allocate clear responsibility and accountability for every to-do, project and goal (we do this by allocating responsibility on our project management software and holding a 30-min team accountability check-in once a week)
- Be goal-focused not time focused – the focus should be placed on quality results, not the time allocated to complete it (trust me, it might sound backwards but goal autonomy works)
- All work done by everyone in the team must be directly linked to a project on your 90-day plan and continuation of business-as-normal activity – if it’s not, it’s a big red flag that something’s gone wrong
This planning method is a must if you find there is time leaking into areas that don’t contribute to generating revenue, if you have any concerns about staff/team management or you’re looking to move ambitiously forward fast.
We find that planning this way enables getting more done over a year than trying to over-achieve and under-deliver over the same period.
Key Takeaway #2
Set your non-negotiables
Holding boundaries on your time as a business owner often doesn’t come without its challenges. Wearing multiple hats, putting out fires or continuously multi-tasking doesn’t always bear the fruits of your labour – and nearly always leaves you as the bottleneck of everything.
Something we do here in our team is to share our non-negotiables for ourselves and the work we’re doing, and then help each other hold those boundaries (having accountability partners contributes to 95% of success).
These boundaries should protect 3 core things:
- Your Time
- Your Wellbeing
- Your Vision
Some of these non-negotiable boundaries could be things like:
- All meetings at 30 minutes or less
- Book meetings only when you have a considered agenda
- Taking time out in the day for headspace (an absolute must for productivity, focus and creativie flow)
- The types of clients you work with
- Not working weekends (instead spending time with friends, family and hobbies)
- Not actively taking part in ‘X’ area of your business day-to-day (always hire the expert for things you can’t/don’t want to do – it pays back exponentially)
This clarity is personally how I make sure my team and I approach our work – we’re all at our best when we are working in ways that feel good and towards things that matter to us, so it’s important that everyone in the team has an environment to be at their best every day. This also keeps that 90-day plan moving forward.
Key Takeaway #3
Take a fresh look at your products or services
Often businesses take on more than they can chew when it comes to developing products, especially so for services. An exciting part of the business for sure, but it needs structure, knowledge and importantly, reasoning.
Every member of your team has some kind of interaction with your offerings, so their feedback is essential to understanding your sales, customer experience and what will work in your marketing efforts. Ask them – they will hold invaluable insight.
Likewise, your customer feedback is the secret ingredient to growing your business. Regardless if the nature of your business has repeat customers or once-only sales, you’ll reap the rewards over your 90-day plan if you understand and integrate your team and customer feedback into your strategy and operations.
Finding your secret ingredient
If you haven’t reviewed your offerings in the last 6 months, here are the 3 all-important things to do right now:
- Get customer feedback
- Get staff feedback
- Review KPIs & data (especially marketing, sales & revenue)
When you’re looking at customer and staff feedback, it’s essential to keep it short, simple and effective by asking the questions that will tell the story about how your brand, products/services are perceived.
If you’re not tracking data – or you’re not sure you’re tracking the right data – review it and get the data insight you need to make informed decisions. The key to understanding is in the numbers (finances and commercial) and from there you can benchmark, grow and learn continuously. Really, that’s the super-secret ingredient to a successful business.
For us, we find that by speaking regularly to our clients we can stay in touch with what’s happening in their business, see their plan evolve and be a lot more proactive in the extra value we are able to add. The result of this approach is having a large number of client referrals without sending out a single email to ask for it (if you want to know how to build a referral-led customer list, book a chat with me using the link at the end of this email and I’ll share some way’s we’ve done this).
What’s Next at Nuvem9?
As we work inline with our own 90-plan and evolve our offerings to align with our customers and feedback, we continue to focus on helping businesses:
- Strategise: Visioning 2023 and beyond through finance audits, analysis and review, new budget modelling, business-wide strategy, KPI goals and revenue growth.
- Grow: Planning ahead with dynamic cashflow reporting, budgeting for recruitment drives and gearing up for marketing initiatives to boost revenue and realise growth potential.
- Get SaaS & Tech Savvy: Completing digital detox and performance efficiency audit projects to support productivity, results and software spend reduction.
P.S. Want more insight into how we structured our boot camp and the tools and methods we use to facilitate an optimum business strategy planning space? Let’s have a chat about it and how it could help you, too.
Helping leaders and businesses drive success forward
Here at Nuvem9, we do things a bit differently – we’re not your traditional accountants or financial advisors.
We utilise our knowledge, 50+ years of combined experience, technology and a proactive approach to leverage the best financial and commercial support that spans your whole business. So whether you’re in need of help to scale up your business or planning for an exit, we’re here to support you each step of the way.
We’re already working with our long-standing portfolio of clients to manage their get financial and commercial savvy, increase staff retention, plan ahead for new hires and budget and forecast efficiently across their business to make growth happen.
Get in touch for a free no obligation chat with one of our CFO Senior Advisors to explore how we can support your accounting, financial planning and business strategy.