As you start and grow a business it is important to spend time thinking about your business strategy. Think of the business strategy as your map — with it, you’ll determine the direction of your business and what you want it to look like in the future.
By clearly defining the strategy, you’ll have the guidelines and structure to develop your business or growth plan and achieve your business goals.
Remember, you cannot be all things to all customers. You do not have to be the market leader to compete successfully, but you do need to focus on your company’s strengths to find a way to differentiate from other competitors.
Once defined, your business strategy sets priorities for the company and management team and helps you attract and retain the talented workers you need.
Although individuals in your company may focus on different priorities to accomplish specific tasks, these priorities should not conflict with the overall strategic direction of the company.
Your business strategy can be defined in either several paragraphs or be written as a set of strategic statements. It is a summary of how the company will achieve its goals, meet the expectations of its customers and sustain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Answering these questions will help you establish your strategic priorities. After all, you can’t be all things to all customers — nor should you be!
You don’t have to be the market leader to successfully compete, but you do need to focus on your company’s strengths to differentiate your business from the competition and help customers understand the value you offer, including features and benefits.
Let’s dig into two examples that not only showcase a business strategy in action, but also highlight the difference between a business strategy and business goals. In continuing with the “business strategy as a map” analogy, goals are the journey — in other words, how you’ll follow the map to reach a destination. If you want to prioritize these two elements, it’s often easier to develop your strategy first, then outline the goals that will help you achieve that strategy.