Strategy

Fast Lane: How to set a 90 day strategy for 2015

Cara Waters /

A holiday and the start of a new year can be just the chance to take a rare moment to reflect on how your business is going and plan for the year ahead.

Do you have a strategy to grow your business and take it further in 2015?

If you do have a strategy, how will you put it into action?

I recently caught up with Jodie Fox, co-founder of online retailer Shoes of Prey, for lunch.

Fox revealed Shoes of Prey has a well-honed system for setting its strategy each year.

Shoes of Prey uses the 90 day strategy which its founders first discovered through music company Pandora.

90 days is the length of one quarter.

That’s how far you can reasonably think and plan ahead when you’re in hyper-growth, according to Pandora.

Each year Fox and her co-founders pick an overarching theme for the year and then they break this down into 90 day quarters.

“It might be a profitability goal or goal around number of shoes sold, this year it’s likely to be around the number of [Shoes of Prey] stores,” Fox says.

Then at the start of every quarter Fox asks her team: “What would be stupid for us not to do in the next 90 days?”

The Shoes of Prey team then nominates a project they will each be responsible for.

“You are allowed to write one sentence and put one goal in it and submit it,” Fox says.

“Then someone goes away and curates it and if it is your goal that comes out on that list you have to pitch it to the rest of the company.”

Everyone at Shoes of Prey has four votes to decide which projects will proceed.

“That always has surfaced for us the right projects to do in that quarter,” Fox says.

“It really generates ownership of the projects and helps people feel they have a voice in the business as well.”

Staff have buy in for the project and are motivated to work on it.

“You just have to make sure that the strategy sitting on top of it is focused enough so people pick the right projects and the company is going in the right direction,” Fox says.

The clever thing about the 90 day strategy is that it’s not about what it would be cool for the business to do.

The focus is on what it would be stupid for the business NOT to do.

Using this process means you end up with a manageable number of tasks that can be executed with the resources you have, and you have buy-in from staff.

The only catch is you have to repeat everything again 90 days later.

Email me at [email protected] or leave a comment if you have any tips for setting a strategy for your business.

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is the former editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter for the Financial Times' website and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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