My mission is to teach the world to profit.

One of the ways I do that is often to tweak strategy.

Some of my clients have great skills and talents, but the wrong strategy.

In fact, many of the talented people I work with who truly want to profit, actually have NO strategy.

I love this quote:

“If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy. ”
Alvin Toffler

Sometimes, especially for start-ups strategy can be hard. Strategic often means secret. Like a well-wrapped Christmas present, Strategy is one of those “hidden” things, that people don’t tend to advertise.

One of the tools I use to help startups is a “Reverse Activity Timeline”. It’s a bit like a giant game of Snakes and Ladders. Basically, you forget all about time frames and money metrics and focus exclusively on activity.

And you start with the end in mind. Your first customer has just taken some money out of their pocket and put it into yours… why? What did it look like? What action had to happen before that happened? And you keep working your way back through all the activities that had to happen before hand until you have nothing else left. Then you know you’re at the starting point.

For example, for you to read this post, I had to publish it. I could only do that once I had written it. To be able to write it, I had to start a blog. Before I started a blog, I had to choose a name.  Before I could choose a name, I had to find out what names were available.

Now reverse it and make it your To Do List:

1. Find out what blog names are available (Sharon Jones wasn’t available, but Shaz Jones was).
2. Choose an available name
3. Start a blog
4. Write and publish a post.

(Yes, it actually is that easy). I call this stage “Plodders”. It is everything I need to do.

You can now look at different options that will allow you to do all those things – faster, better or cheaper. You don’t have to do them all yourself. Sometimes, outsourcing might be a better strategy. I could have easily outsourced everything on my list if I wanted to (but I didn’t).

Sometimes, doing them online rather than face to face will allow you to reach more people, faster. Sometimes, choosing a different market segment will suit your passions and personality better. There might be several different strategies for achieving the same thing.

Allow yourself to imagine wild things that are totally out of your control. What if you got the dream client, or the dream team of contractors and employees, or the dream investor? Think about all the things that would make you scream (in a good way) “Are you freaking kidding me?!” I call these accelerators of progress “Ladders”.

Now, and this is really key…  Start looking at some of the things that might hinder you from achieving all those things. I call these slippery little suckers “Snakes”.

Imagine if you got given a free ticket to fly to Paris for a week and as soon as you boarded the friendly flight attendant smiled and said “We’ve got a pilot on his first day and he doesn’t like rules, so there’s no safety measures at all today – not even oxygen masks or life jackets!”

I don’t know about you, but I would be rethinking my flight! A good strategy will develop plans to deal with opposition, problems and failure, as well as your ideal scenario.

Now that you are clear on exactly what has to happen, and in what order, you can start looking at timeframes and costs involved in making those things happen as a “Plodder”. But you’ll also be able to see the “Ladders” before anyone else does, and you’ll be able to spot a snake, and still know you can recover.

And it’s all because you started with the end in mind.

My clients have endorsed me on Linked in for “Strategy” more than anything else. They tell me I’m great at uncovering hidden ladder strategies. So if you’d like to have a year with more ladders and less snakes – let’s get started right now. All you have to do is fill out this form and tell me what you want to achieve in the next 12 months. (Don’t worry it’s not a blog comment, all your details and comments will be kept hidden in a private email to me, nothing will be published online).

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