A recent discussion I took part in talked about the importance of strategy for getting where you want to go.
Surprisingly, very few of the participants knew what a strategy actually was. They instead confused the term with a tactic or what most would call logistics.
The definition of strategy is simple really. It’s a plan. A way for you to get from A to B. It’s a policy that you’ve conceived to reach a major goal. Simply put; Strategy is what you intend to do.
Tactics are much more specific. Tactics are what you do to move yourself or your business closer to your strategic goal.
Example: You may have the strategic goal of connecting with more readers. How you do this is a list of tactics. IE; open a Facebook and Twitter account, join a chat room that’s talks about the type of books that you write. Most strategy’s take a number of tactics that build on the one before to reach their goal.
Be careful not to confuse this with Logistics. Logistics speaks to the things needed to accomplish said tactics. For instance, the goal of connecting with readers will require that you first buy a computer and open an email account.
But back to strategy.
A strategy should have five key elements within it. The common acronym is SMART; Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
“Become a bestselling author” may have a nice ring to it, but is it really a viable strategy? It’s too vague and there’s no real way to measure your progress toward it. Achievability is a possibility, but without a plan it will mostly come down to luck. Is it realistic? The math says it’s not. Without a plan in place putting a deadline on it is an exercise in futility.
A better one might be “Write three novels this year.” or “Gain two-hundred more mailing list sign-ups”. Once you have that you can make a list of how you are going to accomplish that (tactics), and then another list of things you’ll need in order to perform those tactics (logistics).
What you are doing is drawing your own roadmap to where it is you want to be.
As we all know, getting somewhere we’ve never been before is always easier if one has a map to guide them.