If you are a business owner, you have probably heard of strategies, tactics and goals. As an entrepreneur, one of the best things you can do for your business is learning about business. You know this instinctively. So you go out and you read, or take classes and try to absorb everything you can.
The problem is, you are often too busy running your business, to work on your business. And it is often difficult to spend the time you need to really focus on what you are learning.
And, because there is so much conflicting information out there, often the lines begin to blur. And the different things you are learning start to sound the same.
This is very common with goals, strategies and tactics. Often, you hear these terms used interchangeably. In fact, often descriptions of the same concepts are used with each of these 3 titles.
But, while the 3 are related, the truth is, they are each steps in your planning process, and quite different. The ways they are used is critical to the success of your business. And so is the order they are used in.
In fact, if you even change the order of these 3 steps, the results can be disastrous. Even if each of the steps has been done correctly.
Goals are one of the first things you need to establish when you start your business. And of the 3 planning tasks (goals, strategies and tactics), goals need to be the first.
If your strategies and tactics are executed without clear goals, they may be successful for a while. But ultimately they will be on shaky ground.
Goals are specific RESULTS you want for your business. They are not the processes or methods. They are the big picture, end result of your efforts.
These can be financial, personal, influential or whatever. They need to be specific, and time based. For example, “I want my company to be selling 100 widgets and generating revenues of $10,000 per month, within the next 3 years”.
Your next planning activity in the funnel is your strategy. And in order to be successful, your strategy needs to point you towards your goals. You will have several strategies for each goal. An example of a strategy may be “Maintaining a list of 10,000 subscribers and keeping them up to date with the latest activities in the company”.
It is a big picture strategy to help you move towards your goals.
Finally you have the tactics. Just like there are many strategies for each goal, there can be many tactics to fulfill your strategies.
Tactics are the individual steps or action items to take in order to execute on your strategy. For example your strategy of maintaining a list of 10000 subscribers will have tactics such as creating squeeze pages, creating email marketing accounts, and driving traffic.
Just like with the other steps of the funnel, however tactics need to be executed in order. Creating a squeeze page, if you don't have a strategy may get you some subscribers. But if there isn't a specific strategy you are driving towards, it will ultimately be useless to you.
Goals, strategies and tactics are related but different, and they all fit into a different place of your planning and marketing funnel. They need to be executed in order in order for them to be efficient.
One of the most common examples of tactics being executed in the wrong order, is with a website. You know your company needs a website done, but this is a tactic. If it is not part of a strategy to get more customers, and a goal to build your business, you will just have a dead site that cost you a lot of money, but isn't helping your business. This is what happens with 95% of the sites out there.
Only you can determine where in the funnel you are in your marketing planning. But, it is an important step to take to evaluate this.
Ask yourself whether you have goals, strategies which support those goals and tactics which support your strategies. If not, stop, step back and look at the big picture.
Executing the proper planning sequence will have an extremely powerful effect on your business. Sometimes it is hard to step back, but ultimately your future success may require it.