This month we’ll be exploring the second section of the PSE One Page, the Strategy Section.
The Strategy Section serves to get everyone aligned and clear on what you want and who you serve. It helps everyone understand where you’re going and who you’re helping along the way. It consists of Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), 3 Year Goals, Ideal Client, and Value Proposition.
A term coined by Jim Collins. It’s a long-term 5 to 25 year goal. A stretch goal that will take a lot of work and focus for you to actually reach. It sets a clear and compelling focus for everyone. The BHAG helps to get everyone on the same page and rowing in the same direction.
It may help you to think of BHAGs in four different categories.
Where you are aiming for a specific target, a specific goal. Generally a number. A Target BHAG gives everyone a very clear goal to aim for.
Example: Become a 125 billion dollar company by the year 2040.
Common enemy BHAGs
Where you are trying to take down a competitor and everyone focuses on that common enemy. You can build an us versus them atmosphere that gets everyone working together more effectively.
Example: Outsell Coca-Cola in foreign markets.
Role model BHAGs
Where you are trying to model a company of greater success or greater tenure than you currently have. This gives everyone a standard to strive for. They can look at the company you are trying to emulate and understand how they are expected to act.
Example: Become the Nike of the cycling industry.
Internal transformation BHAGs
Where you focus on improving internal efficiencies. These are much more inwardly focused BHAGs. And they tend to work best for larger companies or an individual department.
Example: Transform this company from a defense contractor into the best, diversified high technology company in the world.
3 Year Goals
If your BHAG is your beacon in the distance. Then your 3 Year Goals bring that beacon into closer focus. What do you need to accomplish in the next three years to reach your BHAG? Working to move the big levers that are going to help you get to your BHAG. These goals will give people slightly more concrete objectives, but they are still a little more on the abstract side.
You can get into more specifics with these goals. What revenue will you be bringing in? How much profit will you be making? How many employees will you have? What will your team look like? Where will you be located?
These 3 Year Goals are about creating a crystal clear vision of what the company will look like in three years so that everyone has a well-defined picture of where you’re going. Being able to see it in their mind’s eye will help them help you accomplish it.
Ideal Client is your target market. You want to focus your marketing efforts so that you’re speaking to an audience that is ideally suited for your product or service. You need to know who they are, where they live, what they care about, and what they want. That will give you a very clear picture of who you’re speaking to.
This Ideal Client profile will guide your marketing efforts so that you are only speaking to the perfect customers for you. It will help narrow down your focus so that you are only speaking to qualified leads. And eventually it will ensure that you are only serving those customers that truly value what you are providing.
Now that you know who you should be talking to, you need to know what you should say to them. This is where you point out what sets you apart. What are you offering that your Ideal Client would want? How are you solving their problems for them? And why should they do business with you?
To further clarify what your Value Proposition should be, you can think of your Ideal Client’s problems on two different levels: internal and external.
Internal vs External Problems
This framework was created by Donald Miller of StoryBrand. It’s a way to think more deeply and clearly about your Ideal Client’s problems.
Generally, we market to someone’s external problem. Say, for instance, someone has a really messy lawn. They don’t have time to cut their grass or to weed their flower beds. Externally, their problem is that their lawn looks overgrown and unkempt. Especially compared to the next-door neighbor who mows their grass twice a week. That’s the external, visible, physical problem. And that’s easy to market to.
But what people really connect with is when you speak to their internal problem. If their external problem is that their lawn is overgrown and they look like a slob compared to their neighbors, their internal problem is that they feel like an outcast in the neighborhood. Or they don’t feel like they’re good enough. They’re not keeping up with the Joneses so to speak. That’s their internal fear, doubt, and insecurity. And that’s the real reason they might want to do something about their lawn.
So if you can speak to their internal struggles, your Ideal Client is going to connect more with that message. Much more than just the “Your grass is too long, let me cut it for you.” message. Their true motivation to buy comes from their internal problem.
So though you’re solving their external problem, your Value Proposition needs to speak to their internal problem. That’s when your marketing will really resonate.
Getting Clarity and Alignment
The Strategy Section of the PSE One Page is designed to make sure that everyone knows exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. It will ensure that everyone knows where they should be putting their focus and effort. And it gets everyone bought into the same vision. You need to have every single one of the great people on your team rowing in the same direction to achieve truly great things.
At its core, it is another communication tool that sets your team up for absolute clarity about your goals and, consequently, accountability for reaching them.