Recently, we published Leet Digital’s agile marketing framework to help marketers and entrepreneurs structure their marketing efforts. In that article, we touched on one of our key tools: the 1-page strategy.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into the 1-page strategy and guide you so that you can produce your own, tailored to your goals.
Let’s begin by breaking down the strategy into the key elements and looking at the top half of the template.
As you can see, there are three main components to the top half of our strategy template:
1. SMART (strategic, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals
2. Key outcomes, objectives, and milestones
3. Key initiatives and tactics
Notice we have an arrow progressing from left to right, from the SMART goals to the key initiatives and tactics. This signifies that we move from left to right in completing our tasks.
Briefly, we start by creating SMART goals and then break them down into key outcomes, objectives, and milestones. Then, we get even more granular, breaking them down further into key initiatives and tactics.
The philosophy behind this is to carve the initiatives and tactics into activities that will lead to key outcomes, objectives, and milestones, which – in turn – help achieve your SMART goals. This forces you to apply “big picture” thinking while breaking down items into the small actions that will get you there. After all, the actions we do each day contribute to the big picture.
Now, let’s dig a little deeper into each component.
Quite simply, this refers to the time period we use to implement our strategy. After working with a number of businesses, we’ve found that planning in 3-month segments is the sweet-spot that allows for a good balance between long-term thinking and short-term adaptability. This works especially well for start-ups and early-stage businesses, where there are a lot of unknowns and variables that can impact the overall strategy.
In case you have already heard about or used SMART goals before, I will give a quick summary. As noted above, SMART goals are:
There are plenty of resources online that you can use to create SMART goals, so I’ll leave you to research them for yourself to tailor the method to meet your needs. That being said, there are a couple of things I want to emphasise in relation to setting your goals.
The first is focus. While it’s nice to aim high, it’s better to hit one goal than to miss three.
The second – and this is something we’ve found happens often with marketers and entrepreneurs – don’t be afraid to set goals around learning. This is particularly relevant for early-stage start-ups where there is a temptation to say “we want to get 1,000 users by X date”. The issue here is that without past experience it’s hard to say whether this goal is realistic. An alternative might be something like “we want to determine the per-user acquisition cost for running Facebook ads to acquire users by X date”. We can always evolve our goals as we build up more data and experience to then set realistic expectations.
Key outcomes, objectives, and milestones
Once you have your SMART goals clearly defined, it’s time to break down the key outcomes, objectives, and milestones that you will work towards that will enable you to achieve your goals.
Outcomes, objectives, and milestones are great categories for dividing tasks among team members.
There’s no hard and fast rule for writing them, but we’ve found it best to keep these specific (as with SMART goals), because you need to know when the outcome, objective, or milestone is reached.
Key initiatives and tactics
The last component is identifying key initiatives and tactics. Our key initiatives and tactics stem from outcomes, objectives, and milestones.
This is where we list – at a tactical level – the key activities we will be doing on a daily basis. As above, I recommend that you break these up so that they can be divided among team members. Keep things simple enough so that those who are responsible for each initiative are clear on what they need to do, but leave it to them to figure out how to do it using their skills and expertise.
To be clear, we’re not looking to draft a full plan and task list in each of these rows. We’ll get to that later in the Kanban board.
That covers the top half of our 1-page strategy and what we want to achieve. Moving to the remaining components of the template, the bottom half of the strategy covers the key considerations in the implementation and management of the strategy:
Key performance indicators (KPIs)
If you don’t measure something, you can’t improve upon it. For that reason, as we implement our strategy we need to include the key performance indicators we’re going to measure.
Since it’s now so easy to measure things, you can get bogged down and overwhelmed by data. That’s why it’s important to focus on the core KPIs as you implement your strategy. Determining the right metrics can be challenging but there is an easy process to get you started. I recommend keeping it simple and doing some research on how to select the right metrics to focus on what you’re trying to achieve.
Remember, these are KPIs so keep it to the key metrics. We can (and will) collect other metrics, but we want to keep this component focused on the key ones.
Strategic control and review
There are going to be a million issues that will crop up and interrupt the execution of your strategy. It’ll be hard to build lessons learned if you aren’t consistently re-orienting your execution. Sometimes you need to pivot and sometimes you need to persist. But how do you know which to do and when?
We recommend determining – up-front – when you will conduct reviews and at what level. Based on our experience at Leet Digital, we’ve found that daily stand-ups and weekly sprint reviews are usually sufficient to keep things on track.
Key roles and resources
This pertains to who is doing what and the key resources available (e.g., ad budgets). It’s important that everybody knows where they stand in the implementation of the strategy so that there aren’t duplicated efforts and everyone can be held accountable.
Are there any key risks we need to be aware of as part of the implementation of the strategy? Some common examples include seasons and holidays. I recommend that you list any risks out in this stage so that everyone can be made aware of factors that can cause the strategy to succeed or fail.
There you have it: that covers the 1-page strategy. If you have any questions on implementing this tool, don’t be afraid to comment below or email us here.
Otherwise, once you’re done with your strategy it’s time to turn it into actionable tasks. That’s where the Kanban board comes into play. Read about how we use Kanban at Leet Digital in this article.
Last but not least, you can download the sprint retrospective template here.