Back with another blog – I haven’t given up!

I have spoken to so many people in the past few weeks. Setting up a business from scratch is difficult, particularly in a new area. I have lots of contacts in Stoke and Staffordshire who have been really helpful, but I am also trying to work closer to home, based in Warrington, but encompassing Liverpool, Manchester and all points in between.

The thing about meeting new people is perfecting this 60 second pitch – telling people what you do and how it will benefit them in one minute – it’s more difficult than you may think, especially for someone with verbal diarrhoea, who is so passionate about telling people what they are offering.

I keep talking about OGSM (which I am finding makes me sound like a nerd) when in fact the buzz words I should be talking about are ‘strategic planning for growth’. The fact is its one and the same thing – OGSM is a method of planning strategically for the growth of a business.

The difference is the output of an OGSM strategic plan for growth is a single piece of A4 paper encompassing a plan, rather than a 60-slide death by PowerPoint which no one ever actually reads.

Let me tell you how I found out about OGSM strategic planning for growth… About 16 years ago I joined a huge integrated tour operator and high street travel agency (no, not ‘that one’) who were in serious financial trouble (no, still not ‘that one’ – ‘the other one’). Of course, I only found out about the financial issues just after I had joined.

We all found out just before we were about to physically re-brand 600 travel agents. We found that all the money we were putting into exciting advertising about the new brand just couldn’t outweigh being on the front of all the national papers warning holidaymakers that they were going to lose their holiday. It was horrendous!

We had to pull the re-brand, which was a shame after 6 months work -but it did give me an insight into what a brand is all about – far more than just a sign over a door. (I might come back to that in a future blog)

The company was up shit street. Huge financial black hole created over many years. To save the company, a team of uber-expensive consultants were brought in to re-align the business and create a new business strategy. The central methodology for this was OGSM and as a young marketing bod, I was given access to this team and how they work.

I can clearly remember my boss telling me to watch and learn. Understand everything those consultants were doing and how they were strategically thinking, so that in the future I wouldn’t have to pay them to do it. I could do it myself (which I have done) or get other businesses to pay me to do it – although not at uber-expensive consultant rates (which is what I’m trying to do now!)

Its like being at home as a kid and being told to watch how the engineer is fixing the boiler so next time you don’t get stung for the £200 call out charge. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay attention and am still paying that call out, but now I am talking to the engineer about how he can grow the business…with an OGSM!

Anyway, I listened and learned and eventually left the business, travelled the world and ended up in Sydney, looking for a job. My first interview, I was asked to put together a presentation for a Foreign Exchange business. The go to method was OGSM and I put together a great plan, a plan they used to change the business over the next few years – despite me not getting the job because I didn’t have the right visa!!

From that point, I have used OGSM in every business I have worked in and every project I have managed. A commercial plan and new e-commerce platform for a market leading gym operator, a global sales and marketing plan for a private equity backed cruise business (used hierarchically through the team) which was ultimately used in the sale document for te business, launch of e-commerce platforms for high end consumer goods, managing a global licensing portfolio and most recently the development of a world class visitor attraction.

In fact, when I was asked to manage the visitor attraction, that was done almost exclusively through OGSM from the very first day I was put in charge. I created two actually. The first a six week OGSM, identifying everything that needed to be achieved immediately in the run up to the summer visitor season, and then a two year OGSM, which drew up a longer term plan for what needed to happen and how we were going to get there.

I was going to write about how the OGSM works – but I sense my time is up – it’s like Jackanory….we will continue next time.

If you cant wait till then and would like to find out how the story ends – or how we can apply an OGSM to manage, change or grow your business, please give me a call.

PS. About the travel company. It wasn’t ‘that one’, it was the ‘the other one’. But it was acquired by ‘that one’ shortly after. They are currently citing the failure of ‘that one’ on the acquisition of ‘the other one’. They obviously didn’t write an OGSM strategic plan for growth!!