Implementing a business growth strategy is project oriented in nature. Therefore it requires planning, management and evaluation. Any project contains three major components – features or scope, resources and time. These factors must be defined at the outset and managed through the implementation process. It’s also important to be able to determine the success of a strategy. So the method by which success will be measured should be defined at the outset. If these steps are taken the likelihood of success will be significantly increased. Tactical planning is the bridge between ideas and reality. The following steps will ensure a successful implementation:
- Define the Scope – Determine what will be included in the implementation. In terms of the target market it may be advantageous to focus on a smaller sub-section initially. The product offering may be scaled back at first with the intentions of expanding it later. It’s critical to identify the factors that determine scope and clearly define the intended scope at the outset.
- Determine Resource Requirements – This can include a number of things including financing, people and shop space. Financial requirements can usually be determined readily. Space necessary to handle increased demand should also be recognizable. People’s time may be a little trickier to determine. However lack of consideration in this area is the most frequent cause of failure in implementation of strategy. If the growth strategy requires additional time from existing employees where will it come from? If employees are already busy for full work days then additional time must be allowed for. If not, the length of time to implementation will be extended and as stated previously the project may ultimately fail.
- Set the Timeline – Define the period of time the project is expected to take. This is where dependencies come into play. A phase of a project may not be able to proceed until something else is completed. Also, if resources are required for different components of the project there may be conflicts in availability that result in sequential project steps being required. It’s OK to break the project into phases and do the detail planning of each phase at its initiation but each phase should be identified at the outset.
- Define how Success will be Measured – This should be clearly defined before the project is started. If the project involves increasing sales of existing services to the existing target market then new customers earned as a result of the strategy will need to be identified. If the strategy involves a new service offering then sales of that service will need to be identified. Whatever the strategy, it is necessary to measure its effectiveness.
- The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry … John Steinbeck
- Manage the Implementation Process – Once the scope, resource requirements and timeline have been laid out be prepared to change them. Any project will require adaptation as it proceeds forward. Circumstances will always change. This is where a clear project definition will be invaluable. Adjustments can be made to any of the three major components to keep the project on track. The scope can be adjusted, more resources can be directed to the project or the timeline can be extended.
- Evaluate the Strategy – Once the strategy has been implemented it must be measured. The method by which this will be done should have been defined at the outset and reporting support should be part of the delivery process. The measure of success is determined by the impact on business growth.