As a growing company you will need a clear business strategy if you are to be successful long term. It’s a basic component of any successful enterprise.
If you’ve never had to sit down and come up with one, what do you need to know? What goes into one? How can a business strategy help you?
These are all good questions, and I'm going to look into all of them to give you the answers you need. Let’s get started!
Alright, What is a Business Strategy?
Well, to put it as simply as possible, a business strategy is a document which explains very clearly the overall purpose and direction of travel for your company. Who you are, where you are going and how you will get there.
It includes a set of clear plans and actions which will outline exactly how your business will move forward and make more money / contribute to society / make a bigger impact (whatever your ultimate goal is). It often talks about WHY too.
A business strategy can created by holding a Strategy Workshop with your team or with a business advisor, so that you can talk through all the elements of your business and discuss ideas and options for how to grow your business.
A Business Strategy can be used to help guide you and your teams intentions. It can also inform your decisions as Founder and CEO on important topics such as how you will compete in a market, promote a new product or service, and basically do anything business decision related.
Everything you do in your business should always flow back to, be consistent with and be linked to your overall Business Strategy. It's the umbrella.
What does a good Business Strategy cover?
A good business strategy has multiple elements - all with the aim of explaining the business in a logical, pragmatic way. During our Strategy Workshops we go into a lot of depth to really get to the heart of your business issues and decide exactly how you will make your investment grow.
It will often do the following:
- Outline the mission of the business. What is it you are trying to create and why?
- Identify objectives for marketing. What is the brand vision you want to deliver for your customers, for your investors and your public audience? What message do you want them to hear? What do you want to be known for?
- Look at long-term goals. What are you trying to accomplish on a long-term basis? Where do you see the business in a year, or even five years? What does your product range or service offer look like? Where will you innovate? Where will you invest?
- Assess the financials. What funding is available today, what financial objectives are you trying to meet and how do those objectives change the budget you have? If you are growing sales and stock holding, will you need more funding at somepoint? If so, when?
- Plans immediate and long-term actions. What steps will you take to make sure that your strategy succeeds? What needs to happen operationally? Do you need more capacity? Do you need more people with certain skills to bring your vision to life? Do you need a new strategic partner?
Turning a Business Strategy into a Strategic Plan
At the end of the day, most professionals agree that a business strategy is designed to do certain things. It tells the business story. It creates an umbrella over your business that encapsulates and communicates who you want to be, why you are working so hard for it and how you will get there.
A good strategic plan will take this overall vision (your business strategy), and turn it into hard actions you can undertake as a business. It will give it a timeline and allow you to implement these actions in realistic, small steps.
A broad business strategy is often overwhelming - a lot of people struggle with that kind of commitment. It's often too big a vision, it can feel too far away and for some people in your company your business strategy may even feel too ambitious given where you are today.
For example, if you say in your business strategy that long term you want to be a global brand but yet today you only have 5 sales to your name, some people in your team may not be able to get hold of that long term vision or know what to actually do with it today! The gap is too big.
A strategic plan (also known as a growth plan or business plan) helps you to break down the actions into a step-by-step guide. It’s a good tool for maintaining control over the situation and helping to create a path in bite-sized chunks. Steps you can actually take together.
Sharing your Business Strategy
Really importantly having a documented strategic plan makes sharing the overall business strategy with your team (and investors) so much easier.
If you can help your people see how what they do relates to the big picture umbrella strategy, they will join in and help you get there. They will follow that direction of travel - but that will only happen if there are clear actions they can work on today, something tangible that they can contribute to, that helps the overall strategy. A business strategy is no good unless it is supported by practical actions that make the strategy real for your team in their day job.
Make It Happen In Your Business
If you’re trying to make positive steps towards a growth goal, defining a business strategy is key. Most business advisors will agree is a vital component to any successful enterprise. Having the necessary plans in place to make the right commercial moves is critical to long-term progression and financial growth.
Developing a business strategy is probably the first thing to do with your business if your momentum has slowed, you are in need of a revival of growth or are starting to feel like you may have lost your way commercially. It helps you get total clarity on what you are doing and why you are doing it. It then helps you make secure plans for the road ahead.
- If creating a business strategy and growth plan yourself sounds daunting, hiring a professional business advisor like us can help. We are experts who are trained to run Strategy Workshops and create strategic growth plans. We have deep experience and have done this very thing for all industries and business types.
- Ultimately, regardless of how you do it, a business strategy is a necessity if you are serious about growing your business. It will help you a lot when it comes to making the right commercial decisions and financial investments to get growth.
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