I recall reading ‘The Business Battlecard’, a book by Paul O’Dea, a few years ago as I was working through a business strategy process with a not-for-profit organisation that I was involved with at board level.
It is a short book, written from the experiences of someone who has consulted with and run strategy workshops for high potential companies all over the world. It has therefore been written like a workbook and facilitation guide, making it an easy read and extremely practical.
Its ultimate objective is to produce a ‘one-pager’ strategy document that can be easily and succinctly communicated to everyone in the business to ensure that everyone is on message – definitely my kind of strategic plan!
Create a strong starting point
For me the first section had the most arresting impact on me as I thought about trying to relate it to my own business. It poses some key questions in a way that is both accessible and challenging.
- What do you want to be well known or famous for?
- What is your mindset – how do you do things around here?
- What are you really good at? What do others say you are good at?
You see what I mean! I don’t care if you are a sole trader, service professional or the owner of an SME or a multi-national. If you challenge yourself or your team to answer these questions, then you are well on the way to creating a really strong starting point for communicating what you are about, both to your market and within your business.
In my own case, I have taken a first stab at answering the questions for myself and came up with the following:
- I want to be known for teaching people in business about the things that I didn’t learn until I was in my forties and help them to avoid or work through the challenges that are halting their success.
- My mindset is that learning is mandatory and curiosity is essential to be successful in any endeavour.
- I am really good at straightforward communication, both written and spoken, and I like sharing what I learn.
Make it good for business
It is quite interesting to see what emerges when you answer these questions in plain English, and I have already had several insights from the process. It certainly strips away any ideas of what we think we should say using typical marketing or corporate speak, and provides a simpler, more authentic and accessible picture of what you are about. That can only be good for communicating with clients and your market and make it easier for them to understand and engage with you. In other words, good for business!
Why not answer the questions for yourself and see what emerges as answers for you? Better still, why not get your hands on a copy of ‘The Business Battlecard’. In the meantime, I will keep reading and working through the process and I will let you know if I have any further insights.