Business Growth Strategies: The Agile Approach Works Best

May 21, 2010

Implementing a business growth strategy? The standard approach is to expect that you can plan perfectly, then execute perfectly, then move onto something new. Plan, execute, done.

Unfortunately, the world does not work in a perfectly predictable manner, particularly with strategies that are new and the mental model of “plan, execute, done” leads operators more toward thinking that they did something wrong when the world turns out to be messier than this model suggests. This, in turn, leads many operators to ignore or not seek out issues and improvement opportunities, thinking that they either made a mistake in the planning, the execution of the plan, or both. This is just the opposite of what you want if you really want to execute effective business growth strategies.

The agile approach and mindset to business growth strategies eliminates these problems. By agile, I mean:

1. develop a long term goal for the strategy (the more S.M.A.R.T. the better),

2. carve off the first iteration of the execution,

3. plan the first iteration out,

4. execute the first iteration,

5. then check the results vs. the goals for the first iteration, reflect on the results and approaches, and identify the issues and opportunities going forward.

At this point, you are in a good position to review the progress, issues, and opportunities against the original goals, and carve off the next iteration (and so on).

This approach to business growth strategies not only fits the messy world of executing business growth strategies well, but also sets the right mindset in the team. The team goes into the business growth strategy assuming that they are NOT going to get it exactly right, puts in a step (#5) that proactively asks the team to figure out the issues and improvements, and gives the team multiple iterations to improve the strategy before moving its attention onto another topic.

Want to execute a great business growth strategy? The agile approach works best!

Founder & Partner

As the founder of OpenView, Scott focuses on distinctive business models and products that uniquely address a meaningful market pain point. This includes a broad interest in application and infrastructure companies, and businesses that are addressing the next generation of technology, including SaaS, cloud computing, mobile platforms, storage, networking, IT tools, and development tools.