S. 2 Ep. 41 – The 3 Things Your Business Strategy Needs

Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 2 Ep 41 - The 3 Things Your Business Strategy Needs with SpeakerFlow and Alex Brueckmann

In today’s episode, we’re talking about business strategy. What it is, how to create one, live by it, and create a business that’s producing the results you want.

As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get distracted by all the things we could do. Often, we find ourselves only doing the things we want to be doing and not the things we need to be doing in order to achieve the goals we have.

On a mission to save us from our own demise is our guest today, Alex Brueckmann.

Alex built and scaled companies in Europe and Canada, and led client projects across the world.

His passion lies in helping his clients build profitable businesses rooted in purpose and impact.

Alex mainly helps business owners with getting clarity, direction, and focus to build their dream businesses.

He has 2 new books in the making – and when he doesn’t work he loves riding motorcycles, gardening, and exploring the outdoors around his home in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada.

With more than 15 yrs in management consulting and business strategy, Alex helps business owners and entrepreneurs in the $1M-3M range get clarity and direction to reach their goals.

Austin and I learned a ton in this episode and we hope you do, too.

See you in there!

Watch the Podcast 👀

Listen to the Podcast 🎤

Show Notes 📓

✅ Get Alex’s Business Strategy toolkit: www.brueckmann.ca/toolkit

📷 Watch the video version of this episode and subscribe for updates on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYAr3nGy6lbXrhbezMxoHTSCS40liusyU

🎤 Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/

🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/

Read the Transcription 🤓

Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking, we’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin, and in today’s episode, we are talking about business strategy. What it is, what you need to consider, even as a solopreneur, how to have a business strategy that can lead you to achieving your vision? And more importantly, how to prioritize all of the things that you need to do in your business in order to achieve said vision. Now, we know, and we’ve talked about this a lot at Speaker Flow, that we all as entrepreneurs get super passionate and, unfortunately, sometimes optimistic about how much we can handle in our business at any given time. 

We chase shiny objects and squirrel chasing, if that rings a bell for anybody, and often, we can find ourselves working on projects that don’t, ultimately, create the impact that we’re looking for. And this is where business strategy can come in and help every single one of us. So, in today’s episode, we’ve invited on Alex Brueckmann. Now, Alex is a professional business strategist facilitator, he has scaled companies across Europe and Canada, and he gets his energy from helping businesses achieve their purpose and impact by strategically planning and developing a roadmap to be able to hit those goals. 

He realized that many businesses don’t follow through on their business plan, don’t have a strategy in order to achieve their vision, and as a result, we just end up squirrel chasing, anyway. Now, Austin and I, as most of you, probably, already know, are big business strategy fans, and we learned an absolute ton inside of this episode. Can’t wait for you guys to check it out. We’ll see you in there. And we are live. Man, am I looking forward to this one. Alex, welcome to Technically Speaking. It’s great to have you, man.

Alex: Great to be with you guys. Hey, Taylorr, hi, Austin.

Austin: Hi. Yeah, it’s awesome to have you, man. We saw on your about page, there’s this just beautiful picture of a beautiful man just staring at the camera, tatted up, watch on. We were like, we like this guy already.

Taylorr: Good style. For sure.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: What’s the motorcycle thing. Holy cow.

Austin: Yeah, we got to just geek out with you about that. So, motorcycles has come up before, shout out Neen James, if you’re listening to this, but, yeah, big motorcycle guy just got back from a trip, right?

Alex: Yeah. I was surprised by a friend who flew over from Germany. My girlfriend had conspired with him for half a year, so I had taken time off and he just showed up on my front porch and my brain really struggled to compute him standing in Canada on my porch. And then he was like, I hope your bike is ready; we’re going to go on a trip. I’m like, what? And, yeah, he had rented a motorcycle and we had a wonderful one week trip across British Columbia.

Taylorr: Wow.

Austin: Wow, man. I love that you have an adventurous enough spirit to just say, yes, to that, like, yep, we’re going on this trip now. I also don’t think I caught this earlier, but you said that your girlfriend conspired with him for half a year or something. So, they coordinated this without you knowing?

Alex: Absolutely. Yeah.

Austin: I missed that before.

Alex: I had taken time off. I run my own business, so my girlfriend was like, you’re not going to work from, I don’t know, this day to that date. And I was like, why? You have to tell me why I don’t work.

Taylorr: Yeah, context.

Alex: I have a business. And she was like, yeah, it’s a surprise. I’m not going to tell you. And I was just thinking, hey, maybe quiet time at home or maybe a trip with something, and out of nothing, my friend stands on the front porch and I’m like, okay, now, I’m confused. But they had planned it all out, I just had to jump on my bike and ride. It was amazing.

Austin: Wow.

Taylorr: Wow. What a good time. So, did you guys camp around? Did you stay at hotels? What was the trip like?

Alex: He had rented a beautiful little family run bed and breakfast in Kelowna.

Taylorr: Cool. Wow.

Alex: At Lake Okanagan, with a beautiful view, so we were sitting at a fireplace in the evening and just having a beer and a chat, the two of us watching over Lake Okanagan and seeing the lights of Kelowna below us; it was really beautiful.

Taylorr: Oh, man, what a dream.

Austin: Seriously. It’s like a fairytale scene. So, thank you for describing that in such detail. In fact, you have an Instagram page for your motorcycle adventures, right?

Alex: Oh, I do. I do.

Austin: If somebody wants to go check that out, how would they find it?

Alex: It’s called, Harley-DavidsonCustomAddict. All in one word.

Taylorr: Heck yeah.

Austin: Heard it here first people, if you’re a motorcycle fan, go check it out. It is a beautiful bike.

Taylorr: Beautiful bike. Yep.

Austin: Beautiful bike.

Taylorr: That’s exactly right. Well, anyway, we’ve geeked out about motorcycles a bunch. I wish we were running a podcast about motorcycles, Austin, so we might have to put that on our wish list.

Austin: Never say never.

Taylorr: Oh, but, Alex, we’re here to talk about business strategy, and, of course, before we get there, we did some research, as we do when we do a show like this, and we read that your past life was music journalism, DJ turned business professional. Can you break down that backstory for us?

Alex: It’s a relatively simple backstory. I never really thought about going into business in the first place. I was a wild child and I wanted to do something with music, which I then did. So, started working in clubs at the age of 15, well, Germany, it’s a bit different than the US, for example.

Taylorr: Say, wow, what a 15 year old job.

Alex: And it was a different time, we’re talking early nineties.

Taylorr: Wow.

Alex: And then I just always wanted to do something with music and ended up at a radio station, where I did an apprenticeship, became a radio journalist, started writing for music magazines, road stories, all these things. At some point in time, that was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so I, actually, went back to school, did my high school degree, went to a business school, studied business administration and general management, and it all spiraled from there, I guess.

Taylorr: Wow.

Austin: Man, it’s such a seemingly odd, sort of, transition from the outside, they seem to be so.

Alex: Oh, but that’s odd from the inside as well.

Taylorr: Yeah. Well, was that more a personal journey for you?

Austin: Oh, it’s pretty cool.

Alex: It was really interesting, because when you realize that you don’t want to do something that you love.

Austin: Yeah.

Alex: For the biggest part of your life and you realize you don’t want to do that anymore, you ask yourself, okay, what are the alternatives? And if you realize that without going to university, you’re so limited. I had to bite the bullet and go back to school and get the entrance criteria to then go to university. So, it was three years, full-time going back to school. Then three years full-time university. It was a six year journey, but it was very, very rewarding and I started studying in university when I was 28 years, so fairly late compared to a normal career path. But, I think you’re never too old to learn something new and even if it was financially, almost suicidal to do that, because I earned my own money back then, right? 

I was the editor in chief of a news agency, I earned good money, but it’s not about the money, it’s about the long-term prospects that you have. So, going back to school is, probably, a good idea regardless of how old you are.

Taylorr: Nice. Yeah.

Austin: Wow. Well, you must have been exposed to the business side of music then, as chief editor, right?

Alex: Yes.

Austin: But, in fact, the music business, I think people forget how much of a business it really is. I just read this whole article the other day about the financial implications of streaming for artists and how the whole transaction process there works, and I was amazed, it goes broad and deep, in terms of how.

Alex: Yes.

Austin: So, did you get some of that exposure there and then realize you wanted to go deeper? Or was it totally just, I’m jumping ship from one thing to the other?

Alex: I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what I wanted to do after I would’ve finished my studies. I went into that experience with an open mind, I had certain ideas. Eventually, I, actually, started my post-university career at one of the biggest media organizations in the world, but that wasn’t the plan, it was a coincidence.

Austin: Got it.

Taylorr: Wow. We read too, that business strategy wasn’t your favorite subject, and here we are talking to a business strategist. So, what happened there?

Alex: I think the biggest difference between strategy as a subject or a discipline and strategy in real life, is that the moment, there are people who love to geek out about stuff in a theoretical way or based on case studies and these things. And that’s fine. It was just not the right thing for me at university. For me, I fell in love with business strategy when I was in a real business, where real people were affected, where real money was at play, it was not just something I read about or I studied; it was something that I did every day. 

And by doing that, by being exposed to the consequences of decisions, I realized that thinking about the future, designing it consciously and building it based on clear priorities is something that people struggle with all the time. Because they always feel if I do that, then I will miss out on those other things. And being in the center, in the eye of the storm, in that company that I worked for, helping create the future for the business, I realized how little strategic acumen people in businesses often have, because they never needed it in their life. If you don’t have any kind of relationship to the topic from a previous job or through your current job, it is really difficult to apply these methods and do something meaningful with them. 

You can understand strategic thinking, you can understand any type of strategy mapping or using strategy canvases or whatever strategic tool you want to cite here, but using them in a meaningful way when you’re in the business, when it’s about your future, is kind of difficult for people. That’s when I realized strategy processes often need someone who comes in from the outside to hold the space for you and to challenge you really, really hard on your thinking.

Austin: Yeah. Well, what I like about this is it kind of speaks to this problem that I think a lot of people run into and you referenced this as well in your bio on your site, where this company you were working with, basically, was reactively doing things, it sounded like, until, I think you say the tides turned and then they were forced to have to deal with it and maybe too late. And I think that is, kind of, the root of the problem for some people, is that they can get away with not thinking strategically about their business to a point, and, I think maybe you kind of have to in the early stages of things, because you don’t know that much yet, you don’t have enough experience and context to be able to pull to the table, to do that meaningful strategy. 

And maybe that’s a false assumption on my part, but I can also see how once you make that switch and become more intentional with what you’re doing, how that it leads to getting traction in your business and making more progress faster and also, probably, being less stressed along the way. So, I think maybe I have some assumptions and observations there, are you tracking with me? Do you think I’m on the right track there?

Alex: The smaller a business is the more strategic thinking it needs.

Taylorr: Oh, fascinating.

Alex: If you take one of those huge business tankers.

Taylorr: Really?

Alex: They have so much fat around them that poor decisions can be compensated for a long time. They just have the money to take the punches. A small business, if it’s not strategic about how to invest, where to invest, what to do and what not to do; they don’t have that belly fat that can just take the punch and deal with it, the punches go straight to the muscles and to the bones. It’s brutal for small businesses not to be strategic, and many entrepreneurs, small business owners, they just don’t approach their business in a strategic fashion. What they do is, they hustle day in and day out, they jump ship, they use the term, I pivoted, which is just a different way of saying I messed up and didn’t think about what to do next and just did the next best thing. 

It’s not strategic thinking, and it’s hard to run a business, if you’re not strategic about what you do, you will just run out of runway at some point in time, and then you need to pivot.

Austin: Ooh, yeah, shots fired.

Taylorr: Shots. Yeah. This is something we hear, oh my God.

Austin: We did a lot pivoting in the last couple of years.

Taylorr: Especially, with COVID, Yeah, the whole. Yep. No planning happened there, just pivoting as it were.

Austin: Yeah, it’s true. I think something that makes this problem harder for people to sort of get their arms around, is that it’s such a personal adventure that you have to go on to strategically map out what you’re doing and where you’re headed with your business. And so, there’s a lot of competing information out there about what’s the right way to do this, and I hear all the time like, well, there’s no right way to do this because it is such a personal thing, and I can see how that could be true to a degree. So, what’s your take on strategy as, sort of, a one size fits all thing, is there a right way to do it for everyone?

Alex: I believe that the term strategy as such, because it’s undefined, gives people all kinds of potential ways to deal with it, even those who aren’t strategy. So, for example, when you use the term strategy, what many people have in mind immediately is marketing strategy, that’s what you see everywhere on the internet, day in and day out; use this marketing strategy, use that marketing strategy. It’s not strategy, its tactics, that’s the first difference, when you use the term strategy, what you really need to understand is, we’re talking about your business as a whole, and marketing is just one discipline in that. 

Marketing and sales are key pillars in a strategy, typically, if you compete with others in a marketplace, if you want clients, then marketing and sales plays an important role. But it’s not a strategy as such on its own, it might be something important, but there are way, way more elements that play into, or that build a solid business strategy.

Austin: Right.

Alex: So, that is the first thing. People need to understand, if they want to build a business, it’s not one dimensional, it’s not only marketing; they need to understand the broader picture, from finances to operations, to God knows what. Once you have that understanding, you realize, okay, I need to work on these pillars simultaneously sometimes and sometimes they come in a certain order, and that is about prioritizing your time and your finances. If you run a small business, I don’t need to tell you that you can’t do everything at the same time, mostly it’s you and a small team doing the things, right? 

So, things have a natural order, but figuring out what needs to come first is sometimes really difficult because you’re so deep into the weeds that you don’t see the forest for the trees. So, understanding what needs to come first and what needs to come next and how to build this chain, that as such is strategic and understanding how these pillars connect and support each other. Now, the not so funny news is, sometimes it’s not the things that you are passionate about that come first; it’s not the things that you love spending your time on that come first. And that’s where so many fall flat on their nose, because they, let’s say they love marketing and sales. 

Of course, they love to spend their time doing marketing and sales and building the structures and systems for that, but what about the rest that comes with it that you need? And sometimes it’s the difficult work that comes first and not the exciting work that comes first. So, being strategic is really about understanding where to invest your time and where to invest your money in, it’s more about knowing what not to do than it is about knowing what to do, and then putting those things into the right order.

Taylorr: Wow. That is super insightful. I’m really glad that you touched on there at the end that it’s often the stuff that you don’t want to be doing that needs to take priority over the stuff that you want to be doing. Especially, in the context of our audience, speakers, coaches, consultants, highly visionary people; I think we hear all the time; I just want to stay in my zone of genius, create content, speak to my audiences and that’s it. And then they just want to hire out the rest and not really be involved in creating the structure around it, do you find the same thing to be true from your experience? And if so, what do you have to say to that?

Alex: I’m a strong believer in outsourcing work that you’re not good at, so in that sense, I agree with what you said. When it reaches a point where you’re not interested in it, then it becomes dangerous, you can only outsource something that you have fully understood before you outsource it, otherwise you have no idea whether what you get from those resources that you outsource to is, actually, what you need, if it’s the right quality or not.

Austin: Alex.

Taylorr: Yes.

Alex: So, even if it hurts, you need to invest the time, you need to understand it to a degree that gives you the opportunity to say, yes, this is good enough. Otherwise, don’t outsource it; you can’t outsource something that you don’t understand.

Austin: Wow. I am going to print that out on a poster.

Taylorr: Seriously. We’ll get that audio snippet.

Austin: We will attribute you to the quote, but.

Taylorr: I’m going to just send it to everybody.

Austin: Yeah. That’s such an important thing, right? Because people get discouraged, the reality of strategy, and I think you touched on this, is that it comes down to making choices, intentionally making choices about the things that you’re doing and not doing, and so sometimes we have to choose to do things that suck. And I think we have to remember that, though, we have to do that, we have to do things that we don’t like doing as business owners. 

We don’t have to do it forever, that’s not the point, the point isn’t to do it forever, the point is to get a system that’s repeatable that you can then hold somebody else accountable to, so that you can move on to the next thing that you need to make repeatable. So, I’m glad that you drilled that home, for those of us that have heard us say things like this in the past, please listen to Alex, because he’s smarter than us.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: He agrees.

Taylorr: He agrees.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: So, I think, you alluded to this earlier, when you were talking about what strategy means, people will jump to marketing strategy and what they’re really, actually, talking about is tactics. There’s not a full picture of what it means to have a business strategy, so could you paint a picture, briefly, of a small business entrepreneur-type, maybe small team, what does a healthy business strategy look like? What are the things being considered evaluated? What are they looking at? What do they have inside of their strategy? Can you help paint a picture of what somebody with a healthy business strategy might look like?

Alex: So, when we use the term strategy, in that sense, I would, actually, say, we need to take a look at three distinct items that together can be called a business strategy. The first one, and I’m pretty sure everyone has heard about this term, is your vision; and when I say vision, I don’t mean the fancy marketing claim that you put on your website. I mean a page written down, how you envision your business to look like if you could time travel, so it might be only a year, might be three years, but it’s a clear description about what your business does and how it looks like in that point of time in the future. 

And it needs to be detailed, there is aspiration in it, but it also needs to have detail, and there’s a whole article on my website about what a good vision looks like, so please, go there, check it out, I’m not going into details here. When you have that description of your business, of how it should look in the future, you’re not going back and doing business as you did in the past years, because you want to build something, right? And you can’t just write it down, put it into a drawer and be like, okay, in three years’ time, I’m going to put that paper out and check whether I reached it or not, that’s just not how it works. 

You need to understand in the second step, what are the strategic implications to reach that vision? And that means, what are the two handful of strategic KPIs, measuring criteria that I need to keep track of that tell me whether I’m moving in the right direction or not. It’s not me rationalizing around what I do and thinking I’m moving in the right direction, I need to have proof in the numbers. So, it’s about breaking down the key elements in your vision and making them measurable and then checking them on a regular basis, like, I don’t know every quarter; if you do that, you can course correct. If you don’t do that, you will just waste your money on things that don’t matter, and when you realize that your money is gone, it’s too late.

So, have that vision front and center, break it down into measurable pieces and then decide what you need to do in order to move those measuring criteria into the right direction, and those things that you need to do, that’s what we call strategic work streams or pillar projects; you can call them whatever you like. And this is where it gets really, really difficult for most people, because then they realize they only have a finite amount of time and a finite amount of budget available in order to do all the things that they want to do. But all the things that they want to do are not the things that they should do, necessarily. 

It’s most likely only a handful of things that truly matter to the success of the business, and those are the things that drive your measuring criteria into the right direction, and that’s where you need to call the shots. I love this project, but it’s not helpful, it’s a pet project, it doesn’t help me build the business I want; I park it, I do it when the time is right. Instead, you focus on the 1, 2, 3 things that really matter, and you do them right, and maybe in six months’ time, you have completed one of the pillar projects and you add another one that is then the right time for your business. So, a vision, a strategic KPI dashboard, and the projects that drive the KPIs into the right direction, that’s what every business needs to succeed, it’s as simple as that.

Austin: Wow, simple is right. Three things y’all, these are three things that are available to anybody, regardless of talent or skill set going into, although, you get better at it over time. I’m seeing a little bit of crossover with a system that we use and love and hold very dearly to us, which is EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, brought forth by Gino Wickman. Are you familiar with this?

Alex: Yes, I am.

Austin: Okay. Do you see that there’s maybe some overlap with those types of frameworks? What do you think is similar or different between what your outlook is and some of these other major strategic planning systems out there?

Alex: The EOS, I value Gino Wickman for his work, he’s tremendously successful with what he did, his book has been a bestseller globally, it has helped countless people. I think it needs an update, I think it is fairly transactional in many areas. It’s more about operation, it’s called operation system, so it’s really, really good at managing a business. It’s something that, typically, comes after you’re clear on your strategy. So, the strategic part is, sort of, I don’t want to say it’s missing in Gino’s work, because it’s not, but it’s not that front and center as I put it in my work, but there are, certainly, overlaps, if you have read the book and if you’ve applied the EOS to your work, I’m pretty sure you benefited from it.

Taylorr: For sure. It almost sounds like the business strategy that you’re referring to would almost happen first and then a management system, a way to operate it and operationalize a strategy, then a framework of sorts that could help empower that overall business strategy that you’re referring to, it’s a progression, I’m tracking there.

Alex: Yes. That’s totally correct.

Taylorr: Yeah. Awesome.

Austin: It makes sense, because people get stuck on this, actually. Because we use EOS, we talk about it with people and there’s always this caveat that’s like, yeah, it’s really great, but most of our clients aren’t running a 5 to 25 person business, which is what Gino says that it’s good for; most of these people are smaller business owners. So, the idea of trying to build operational systems, to your point, Alex, it’s too early, it’s not even helpful, I don’t have a team to manage, so it’s all on me, it’s not helpful.

Taylorr: That’s right.

Alex: And, actually, you can even take this one step further. Even someone like me who does that for a living makes mistakes in that context, I have built certain systems for my business that were, I did that prematurely, I had to go back two steps sometimes and just take the hit. I sunk money as well on stuff that was implemented prematurely and I had to adjust it. And you make these mistakes as an entrepreneur, the art is to understand which pieces can still survive and make the jump and which pieces you need to let go without hitting yourself over the head. 

You will make mistakes when you run a business, you can be as strategic as you want, not everything that you plan out to do will work, there is just no perfect blueprint, if there was, I wouldn’t be here.

Taylorr: It’d be easy.

Alex: I would live on an island and sip cocktails all day because I had cracked the code, so just not how it works.

Taylorr: Well, seven day motorcycle rides through BC isn’t too bad either.

Austin: Move in the right direction, Alex.

Taylorr: Yeah, moving in the right direction. Yeah. So, on that note, though, I think you alluded to this, it sounds, and we’ve done this ourselves, just being business owners, I’m sure you have too, Alex. I’m sure every one of our listeners running businesses have done this, but it’s pretty easy, at least we find, to overextend yourself when you’re developing your projects to work on, let’s say in a quarter or over six months or what your strategy looks like three years from now, we can get maybe a little over zealous. 

We get passionate and excited and paint this perfect world and then we don’t hit our expectations and we feel like we failed and it was disappointing and all those emotions that come up with that. Is there some advice or recommendations you have to help folks not overextend themselves and paint a more realistic picture of what’s possible? Is that just secret sauce that doesn’t exist? What’s your take on that?

Alex: That is one of the, I would say one of the most exciting conversations that I have with my clients in the process of getting those strategic work streams together.

Taylorr: Oh, yeah?

Alex: And it really doesn’t matter whether it’s a smaller business or some of the Fortune 500 that I work with. They all make the same mistake. They think they can achieve way more than they can, actually, achieve it. It doesn’t matter whether I work with a solopreneur and they come up with seven work streams, or I work with a big business that comes up with 10 work streams, it’s just too much. There is a finite number of days in a year and a finite number of hours in each day, and you only have a certain number of people that can do that work, and it’s not something that they’ve been waiting for with empty schedules, that stuff comes in addition to running the business to keep running the business. 

So, when you are a small business owner, I challenge you to go with not more than just three strategic pillar projects and then do these right, rather than spreading yourself too thin, do a lot of different things at the same time, being unfocused, jumping ship, it’s really about discipline and self-leadership at that point. And that’s where I help my clients stay the course and not get distracted by shiny objects.

Austin: Yep. It’s an easy trap to fall into as a business owner, it’s the excitement, it’s the passion, I don’t think it’s because people are intentionally unrealistic or whatever. It’s just because the prospect of solving major problems that cause pain and hold us back from achieving more than we currently are and we want to solve those problems. We want to act and I get it, but I think it’s a really good reminder to acknowledge the fact that we are limited in nature and therefore, have to choose the right things at the right times, which is a habit, it’s a muscle that has to get built over time, right?

Alex: And adding to that, Austin. It’s not about, kind of, stifling the excitement; it’s about channeling it into the right directions. It’s about using that excitement and focusing it laser sharp on something that is the right thing to do at the right point in time. When you do that, you, kind of, pick up speed fairly quickly and people see that they’re moving forward because all of a sudden they’re removing these barriers that have been holding them back all the time. And let’s be honest, I don’t come in with a blueprint, I don’t come in and tell people what to do; people know what’s been holding them back, they know exactly why they are not where they want to be. 

I just help them get these things straight and remove the barriers, and that requires focus and discipline and that’s what a strategic facilitator does, it’s not that I come in and tell you how to run your business.

Taylorr: That’s right.

Austin: We can’t from the outside.

Taylorr: It’s all on ourselves.

Austin: So, we’re getting close to wrapping up, which hurts me because I feel like I could be picking your brain for much longer. I want to touch on a tactical question, if you’ll humor me, related to what you just said there. Are there indicators or signals or whatever that you’re looking for or helping your clients look for, as it relates to the right thing at the right time? Because I can hear in the back of my head already, all of the many conversations I’ve had with people saying, well, it all seems important, how am I supposed to choose amongst the 5 or 10 or 20 things that are driving me nuts right now? So, what does the process look like; even just high level in terms of making that decision?

Alex: It comes back to the question, what is your business uniquely positioned to bring to the world? If you do answer that question, a lot of things just fall off of the plate, because they don’t add to what you are uniquely positioned to bring to the world. And if you always have that front and center, it gives you focus already, if you then create that clear vision that holds the space for this claim, what are you uniquely positioned for? Then you create a strategy by design that is focused on the things that really are important and not the things that you love to be important. If you want to build a business around something that you are uniquely positioned to bring to the world, it focuses you very, very sharply on your unique skills, on anything that only you can do. 

Then there are all of these distractions around it and people that tell you that you need to do this, you should do that; these tactics come your way, shiny object syndrome. But if you are focused on what you’re good at, and if that is incorporated in your vision, you realize what a shiny object is, you realize it on your plate and you realize it when it comes along the way. So, you can easily say then, you know what? That is probably a great idea for someone else. And I really see how I could benefit from it, potentially, at some point in time down the road, but it does not fit into my strategy right now. 

Thank you, I’ll pass. And you allow yourself to move on rather than wasting precious time about thinking about how could I make this fit. So, having this clear strategy in place allows you to spot a shiny object and say, no, to it, but it also allows you to spot real opportunities that help you accelerate the process, some of the work that you do, and you see how it beautifully plugs into your existing strategy.

Austin: Brilliant.

Taylorr: Beautifully said. Alex, what an incredible episode, you are truly a master of your craft. Thank you for sharing your wisdom here on the show today. As you know, we’re all about creating a ton of value; you’ve done that here on the show today, what can our audience members benefit from? What are you working on right now that they can go and grab?

Alex: Oh, there are a ton of things, what are the most important ones? I would say the process that I just described, from vision to strategic KPIs, to work streams, is captured in a 20 page free toolkit that is available for download on my website. Go grab it, no cost. It asks you the questions that really matter. You can run with it and create your own strategy. If you want to dig a bit deeper, later in the year, I will launch an online course based on my new book that will come out next year and a second book will come out, which is the first book, by the way, I know I confused you now, but it doesn’t matter. 

So, in October there will be my first book available, all about next level entrepreneurship, I invited some of the most brilliant minds in the world to contribute, New York Times bestselling authors, Harvard professors, there are a bunch of amazing chapters in there that every entrepreneur can benefit from. I think I’ll leave it with that.

Taylorr: Yeah. Alex, we’ll make sure those links, they are down in the show notes, everybody, so go and check that out. Thank you again for coming on the show. Listeners, if you like this one, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribe to it and if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources.

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