Communicating strategy is hard. As the company grows and there are more moving pieces, it becomes difficult to keep everyone on the same page. We’re over 50 people now and with this size, we have to use a good framework to describe how we look at our company, our goals, and our strategy.

We base our strategy framework on one from Jim Collins’ Beyond Entrepreneurship. It’s a great book from the same author as Good to Great. Unlike Good to Great, it is a practitioners guide. So if you are running a startup and transitioning into becoming a real business, I highly recommend it.

As for the framework, we focus on four pieces:

  1. Purpose. Why are we in business beyond a paycheck? At Bronto, we are here “to make our customers better marketers through intuitive software and helpful people.” It’s simple. It’s true. It’s a rallying cry that inspires our day to day actions.
  2. Values. What do we stand for? This is newer to the framework and we’re going to spend our Quo Vadimus sessions (internal mixed team who we are / where are we going sessions) in February crystallizing this. We have them. Just a matter of articulating them very clearly. Not always so easy.
  3. Mission. This is what we are shooting for. Multi-year goal. Our mission is “to become the leading ESP around the shopping cart in 2010 with $10mm in revenue.” We’re almost there — at the least on the revenue side. The leading part is unrealistic at $10mm but we have been consistently building toward that direction so I’m happy with that.
  4. Strategy. This is what lets you accomplish the mission. Good strategy says what you are going to do and not do. When you zig and when you zag. We determine this on an annual basis. I just finished presenting this to the company and will explain that process in some future post.

Great strategies win markets. Great strategy frameworks get everyone on the same page, rowing in the same direction at the same cadence so that’s possible. This one has worked for us.