Every year, entrepreneurs and executives come up with great ideas for their businesses. They also spend valuable time, money, and resources on creating detailed business strategies. A lot of this effort goes to waste because they often fail to execute on their business strategies. The main obstacle typically involves management lacking the framework or methodology to create a repeatable process that people can act upon to execute the business strategy.

Let’s dive into understanding how to take the necessary steps to execute your startup’s business strategy.

Quick takeaways: 

  • The majority of strategists believe they do not have the tools to carry out growth initiatives
  • Prioritize the tasks that make up the strategy and then assign people to be responsible for those tasks
  • Create a master schedule that tracks tasks over time and sets accountability checkpoints

What Steps Should You Take to Execute Your Business Strategy?

Many business strategies stay on the shelf and never make it to the execution stage. According to research, 80% of strategists believe they do not have the tools and skills to carry out growth initiatives, while 70% have little confidence in their ability to solve the problem. 

Business strategies must be actionable to be effective. So what do you have to do to turn planning into action? Consider the following tips to move from planning to doing.

Prioritize Tasks

Once you have planned a business strategy, prioritize the tasks required to realize your strategy. There are many ways to prioritize tasks (e.g., impact on strategy, value to organization, resources available, ease of completion). One method is to sort and rank the importance of key factors and then perform the tasks with the highest scores first. 

Rank tasks according to the following factors:

  • Feasibility: What value does this deliver? What impact will it achieve?
  • Strategic fit: What resources do you have for the task? Is the task aligned with your goals?
  • Risk: What is the likelihood of going over time or over budget? How difficult is the task?

Note: Some tasks must be performed chronologically — you must build a foundation for a house before putting up the roof. 

Assign Accountability or Ownership

A task will not get done unless someone is responsible for doing it. Assign accountability or ownership to each task in your strategy. Accountability applies to the person doing the task as well as the person responsible for managing them.

When assigning accountability or ownership of a task:

  • Clearly define the individual’s duties and responsibilities with respect to completing the task
  • Ensure that everyone knows what to do and who to report to in case of challenges with completing or moving the task forward
  • Provide checkpoints and deadlines for the assigned person to report on progress
  • Explain the consequences of accountability (i.e., what happens if they fail)

Set a Master Schedule

Devise a master schedule that details all the checkpoints, deadlines, duties, and accountable personnel. One person should be responsible for managing and updating the schedule and enable others to view the schedule to stay on track. Individuals and teams should have their own schedules that tie to the master schedule. 

If there are changes to the master schedule, the person who maintains the schedule should notify all involved parties of the key changes and provide an updated master schedule. Stakeholders should also regularly review the master schedule to stay informed of changes or problems with deadlines.

Assign Activities Over a Timeline

Some tasks occur within a very short time frame (e.g., signing a contract, holding a quarterly meeting). Other tasks will take place over an extended period of time (e.g., developing a product, testing a product). Assign and schedule activities over a timeline to show start and end dates, parties involved, resources required, and other key information.

Set Accountability Checkpoints

Many activities with extended timelines can get bogged down or delayed by other activities. Allowing tasks to go unchecked for extended periods can throw off the entire schedule and disrupt the strategy’s launch. Set accountability checkpoints to stay informed on how different tasks are progressing, identify challenges or bottlenecks, provide support or resources where required, and update the master schedule.

Schedule main accountability checkpoints at quarterly intervals to keep track of major activities. Assign shorter-term accountability checkpoints for individual tasks depending on their timelines and complexity.

Ask for Help

Factors beyond your control (or that you thought were under your control) can interrupt individual activities and disrupt the business strategy. Individuals responsible for specific tasks should ask for help from management when issues escalate beyond their control and before missing a deadline. Team leadership should also get help from external experts or bring in additional resource, if they face significant challenges with fulfilling the strategy.

Always ask for help before a situation gets too large to handle or key deadlines are missed.

Executing Your Startup’s Business Strategy

Every startup should develop a business strategy to help it achieve its goals. Planning is just one part of the puzzle — the key to success is actually executing the strategy. Take the time to prioritize tasks, assign ownership, and track progress to help you achieve the goals of your business strategy.

Need help with developing or executing your business strategy? Contact us today.