This week the Boagworld Web Show discusses the importance of stepping back and thinking strategically. Dan Edwards from No Divide joined Paul and Marcus to share his thoughts with the audience.
Actually Dan doesn’t consider himself strategic. He tells Paul and Marcus the story of his getting into No Divide last November. As well as doing his work with No Divide Dan has also been creating a video series on YouTube called ‘Let’s Talk Design’, which is very cool.
After the usual introduction, the guys switch to the topic of today’s 'strategic thinking podcast' and their first question is addressed to Dan: “When you set up No Divide with Ryan, did the two of you sit down and have a conversation about what you wanted to get out of the company?” They discuss that topic for a while.
During the course of the conversation it turns out that Dan is expecting an IKEA delivery while the show is on, and he is babysitting a puppy. This can hardly be called strategic, so the next questions sound quite natural. Here they are: ‘Do you think that it really is that important to think strategically as long as work keeps coming in?’ ‘Is it important to know what you are looking for from your business?’ ‘Are you looking to build an empire or what exactly are you after?’
The guys arrive at the conclusion that the nature of the web design industry and its fast changing pace affects the degree of strategic planning that actually works. You can’t even predict what might come along and send you off in a new direction. So, it’s nice to have short term goals, to have a framework of what it is that you want to accomplish in the short term, define what your broader objectives are, but, at the same time, retain a degree of flexibility.
In the case of ‘No Divide’, the company has been around only since November, so in their case they had developed a personal reputation before that. But how do they differentiate ‘No Divide’ from anyone else? How do people come to ‘No Divide’ if it’s not through some form of specialization?
Depending on what your goals are, you are going to have to be more strategic and decide how to improve strategic thinking. So if they are bigger and bolder and harder to attain, then you are probably going to have a different strategy as to how you are going to get there. Meanwhile smaller goals require less strategic thinking and planning because they are easier to reach. Doesn’t mean that they are any easier or you don’t have to think about them, but they require less input because the goals are quicker to attain. This might be something that can happen over a short period of time so you don’t need to map out the next five years to reach a goal that is feasible within the next six months.
The other aspect is that maybe you become a bit more strategic the older you get. Progress should be checked every six months, or a year to ensure you are staying on track. Just going ‘Is this what we want to do?’ is not sufficient. ‘No Divide’ is very young so they haven’t arrived at that point yet, but in a year’s time they will probably want to consider ‘Right, are we doing the work that we originally wanted to do?’ If they have not, then why not? And if they have, then great, and everything can continue moving forward. But if they haven’t, then they might need to rethink their plan. It could be marketing, it could be a focus change, it could be a staff change, and it could be a multiplicity of things. But checking in every now and again to make sure you are on the right path you have set out for yourself is probably the key. The guys have nailed it and decided to finish at that point.
This was the second to last episode of the series, so don’t miss the final one next week. Just carry on learning through these podcasts, as it works. But we have one show left to listen to and that is on “Work/Life Balance”, which is very similar to some of the stuff that has been talked about today. We are not entirely sure who the guest is going to be right now. Paul has someone lined up but they haven’t confirmed yet so it will be a surprise for you next week.
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