Objectives Strategies and Tactics… Oh My!

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of blog posts by John Assaraf for the SUCCESS Entrepreneurial Blog Challenge. During the six-week blog series, John will issue specific challenges to readers to help their entrepreneurial pursuits. To receive these twice-weekly posts–every Monday and Thursday–directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe to the SUCCESS blog RSS feed.

In my earlier video blog, I talked about the rollercoaster ride of experiences that many entrepreneurs face as they build their business—the joy of the dream, and then the harsh reality of executing that dream.

Here are specific steps to take to overcome this paradox and get back on track to achieving your entrepreneurial dream. Building a successful business takes consistent steps, with the right information, in the right order. You must first set your vision, and then the objectives that help fulfill that vision. Only then can you decide on your strategies… and then, lastly, your tactics. Entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of jumping straight to tactics—to the “doing” before the “thinking.” Keep it in the correct order.

There’s often much confusion between objectives, strategies and tactics, so I wanted to spend some time clarifying the difference between them.

Objectives are the goals you need to achieve in order to fulfill your long-term and short-term vision. By laying out your objectives you create the “what” milestones you need in order to meet your vision. For example, if your vision is to create a national brand, then some of your objectives could be to generate $10 million in revenue to open five new stores, to increase word-of-mouth referrals from your customers by 50 percent, or to develop an IT infrastructure to support the growth of your business.

Strategies are the plans of action you can take to achieve your objective. There are many different strategies to achieve any given goal. It’s important to identify ALL the possible strategies so that you can select the most effective method for achieving your goal. For example, if your objective is to generate $10 million in revenue this year, then one strategy you can use to achieve that goal is to develop a social media strategy. Another strategy can be to focus on selling more products or services to existing customers. Spend time brainstorming all the possible strategies (even the ones that sound crazy), then pick the ones that makes the most sense for your objectives.

Tactics are the specific activities that carry out the strategy you have selected. Entrepreneurs often mistake tactics with strategy. Again, there are many different tactics you can take to carry out a strategy. For example, if you want to generate new leads, you can start an online Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign, send a direct mail letter to a purchased list, or create a partnership with someone in a similar market. Those are just a few of the tactics you can take to attract new clients to your business. You can select more than one tactic to carry out a strategy… it all depends on your industry, budget, resources and time.

Remember, if you take the right steps, in the right order, you will be able to achieve your vision as an entrepreneur and build the business of your dreams.

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