Here at Infinity Loop, we know that staying ahead in business is a constant challenge no matter what industry you work in. In a market that’s ever-evolving, it can be hard to remain profitable whilst creating a sustainable business which is innovative and fresh.
Does the thought of the day to day running of your business leave you feeling exhausted before you’ve even started?
You’re not alone! To ensure you’re getting the most out of how you work, it can sometimes be really helpful to take a step back and re-assess your processes and structure. This process is known as strategic alignment and is one of the key tools that the very top businesses rely on to keep their competitive edge. Want to know more about how it works? Keep reading!
Strategic alignment can be undertaken on both a large and small scale and is something that benefits businesses of all sizes. Take a few tips from the top performers and you’ll soon start to see how a few tweaks here and there could bring real dividends. Here’s a closer look at strategic alignment and how it could bring your business up to date.
Strategic Alignment – Understanding the Basics
When a business first bursts onto the scene, the overall set-up and structure may be ideal for its current needs. However, over time the size, style and products of the business may change, along with its potential target market. Remaining the same may mean that it’s no longer running at maximum efficiency and changes may be needed.
Be honest with yourself: does your business feel a little tired and out of date?
The phrase “strategic alignment” may give you a headache before you start but don’t worry, at its core, it’s much easier to understand than it sounds. Stripped back to the basics, strategic alignment simply refers to the process of assessing every aspect of your business from top to bottom and checking whether a restructure would provide any advantage.
The crucial thing is to ask yourself – could you be doing things better? The chances are that a few changes here and there could have a radical effect. Strategic alignment may mean a small tweak in processes and identifying areas where efficiencies can be made (without compromising quality) but it could also mean much larger structural changes too.
The idea may sound intimidating at first, and some employees may assume that it’s a way of making redundancies but that’s not necessarily the aim of the process. Instead, we think it’s about maximising what you have, creating a way of working which is lean, high quality and achieves maximum efficiency in every area. After all, who wouldn’t want to be working smarter and more effectively if it were possible? For some businesses this may mean outsourcing routine tasks or cutting back on staff but there are many other ways to restructure a company too. Let’s take a look at them.
Identifying the Need
The process of strategic alignment isn’t something you’ll be undertaking frequently as it’s a significant task when carried out properly. However, as Wyatt Earp once famously said, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything“. If you haven’t got time to do it properly in the first place, how will you have time to re-do it all over again when you realise the end result just isn’t good enough? Set aside the resources you need to get this done properly and you’ll reap the rewards by the end.
There’s a number of signs that could indicate that strategic alignment could help your business. These include:
- New products
- Increase in demand
- Difficulties meeting delivery
- Rising costs
- Rapid expansion
- Financial difficulties
- Increasing number of employees
Strategic alignment can be useful if your business is struggling to meet its financial obligations. If you’re in debt with money worries starting to mount up, why wait to take action? Getting in quickly is the smart move and could be just the thing that saves your business from going under completely.
However, a business which is in debt or unprofitable is just one of many reasons why you might undertake this type of assessment. Conversely, a business which is successful and experiencing a surge in demand is the ideal candidate too. This isn’t a process which is carried out only because a business is in difficulty though; quite the reverse. In many cases, strategic alignment is needed to try and optimise the efficiencies so a business can continue to meet a heightened demand or deliver a new product.
Do you want to work harder or do you want to work smarter?
By opting for the latter, you’ll relieve pressure on your workforce while increasing output too.
In other cases it may simply be that the business has never been reviewed, having expanded almost by default without any in-depth assessment of the best ways to scale up the operation.
Did you ever sit down and consciously map out the structure of your business? Or did it just seem to evolve by itself in response to demand?
Strategic alignment is a great way to restructure the business from top to bottom, delivering changes which are not just sustainable but offer a real improvement in working practices.
Understanding the Challenges
The idea may sound simple in theory: re-assessing the business model to identify where time efficiencies or savings can be made. In practice it’s rarely that easy particularly if you’re considering making some very significant changes. And even if you’re excited about what’s about to happen, remember not everyone will feel the same way…
Staff who are comfortable with the current structure of the business may feel unsettled about the impending changes and worried about the impact on their job. This can create some hostility towards the process and a reluctance to fully engage with new strategies.
Having employees who feel positive about the changes is an essential part of making it a success so it’s important to address the issues and provide support from the start. The changes may be difficult and acknowledging this is vital, especially if one of your goals is to deliver the same service with fewer resources.
Although it may feel uncomfortable at times, as a business your priority is to remain profitable and sustainable. Without this, there’s a risk is that your business won’t continue trading long term – a far worse position for everyone to find themselves in. Using a professional company who specialises in strategic alignment can help to make the process much easier. As well as assisting with the review of the business restructure, we can offer valuable experience in change management to support your staff through the process.
Why Undertake Strategic Alignment?
So what are the real-time benefits of strategic alignment, we hear you ask?
Well, when done in the right way, strategic alignment can deliver a significant improvement in efficiencies and reduction in costs. Often we find that though employees may not be enthusiastic about the changes at first, in the longer term it can create improved job satisfaction due to a transparent structure, clear opportunities for progression and more efficient working practices.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) become useful here as well and are great if you’re looking to measure the results during the process. It’s also a good idea to maintain these in the restructured business to ensure the strategic alignment delivers what you and your customers expect. Continually ask yourself,
- What are your goals?
- Has speed of service been improved?
- Have quality enhancements been made?
Alongside any other questions along these lines that are specific to your business.
In our experience, companies who have gone through this process tend to see an increase in profits. This can be due to a reduction in operating costs or being able to ramp up production or service delivery without an increase in resources. Restructuring a business from the top downwards cuts out any corporate flab too, leaving a streamlined organisation which is effective in every aspect.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
A Professional Approach
If you’d like help with implementing an effective strategic alignment strategy, our team of experts adopt a professional but friendly approach, bringing years of experience to the table.
We’re really keen to use our knowledge and expertise to help businesses along in every step of the process. From supporting staff through what may be a painful decision to helping with a complete restructure, Infinity Loop can help you achieve the optimal outcome.
If you know it’s time for your business to make some key changes and create a brand new structure for your business, call Infinity Loop and let’s get the conversation started today!