“Strategy” and “strategic management” are cool words. People love using them and it often leads a lasting & positive impression with your audience.
Competing to be the very best in your game is one of the major misconceptions about strategy. In the current times we live in, it is more important than ever before to make sure you stay up to date on the latest and greatest business strategies, to ensure your strategic direction leads to business growth, strong competitive position and strong financial performance.
Here is my list of SIX PRINCIPLES that every leader or business owner must harness:
KNOW your industry before you look at a strategy
Your understanding of the industry and industry competition will determine your thinking about your strategy – how you are going to compete within the industry and what is going to make you different from the rest.
The better you know and understand the industry in its entirety, the better you will be able to determine elements that will make you stand out, be unique and return a much higher average than your competitors.
What is your purpose? You need a clear reason of why you are going to do what you’ll do, who will benefit from you, how you’re going to do it etc.
This part is really about connecting the world (the demand) – with your company (the supply). You’ll basically need a STRONG value proposition for a particular market, and then go out and develop unique products and services in the value chain to service this market.
“Tailor your value chain (your business’ activities) to your specific value proposition, and stay on course. This is done through “STRATEGIC INNOVATION” when developing your purpose….
KEEP MOVING FORWARD NO MATTER WHAT
Having a GOOD strategy means that you have entered the building. Competitors will move around, customers’ needs and behaviours will change, technology will certainly evolve. One crucial element to determine a solid future path for your company is to forecast any movements in your sector and incorporate this way of thinking into your strategy building process.
Forecasting the future does not have to be a stab in the dark. You can easily take some practical steps to ensure you keep moving forward in the right direction, these may include:
Gaining an understanding of the big contextual drivers for change in your industry
Get your entire business involved in future planning; key stakeholders, innovative leaders and working groups to lead an innovation strategy
This is something you need to be thinking about on an ongoing, consistent basis.
THE ART OF SAYING NO
If you have a clearly defined purpose and plan, a strong value proposition for your customer base and a set of distinct products / services in your value chain, there will actually be a lot of things you are going to say NO to. This is going to come up often.
There will particular market segments you will NOT serve, specific things you will NOT be prepared to do, and services / products that you will NEVER offer. This is equally as important in choosing the YES parts of the business.
This should be reviewed regularly….
COMPETE FOR PROFIT
Business is not about having the largest market share or about growing fast. It’s about making money.
‘I want to grow my business’ is not a business strategy. ‘I want to grow my business’ is the same as saying, ‘I want to be rich’.
These things don’t just magically happen by themselves. Growing is not a strategy, it’s a consequence.
That does not mean that you cannot use the word ‘growth’. I use it a lot in the analysis phase – for example, when you talk about growth areas of the business or when you look for growth platforms – areas where you can reach potential that will give you additional profit.
DISRUPT, OR BE DISRUPTED
Welcome to the age of customer centricity. Digital is a new imperative. It’s not an option or a nice-to-have. Then, enter digital marketing: the nirvana of quantifiable marketing.
As technology evolves at unparalleled pace, businesses MUST jump on the digital train or be left behind. Consumers require technologies that are more intuitive, drive additional value, and are easy to use online, offline, and across all devices. The convergence of mobile, cloud, and collaboration has led to new types of customer engagements, new ways of using technology to link up to customers where they are, and new business models in order to harness these demands. Businesses that are complacent in this area will get left behind, plain and simple.
Digital Marketing – The beauty of digital marketing is that it allows you to experiment with different ad combinations until you arrive at the most effective approach. The flexibility of digital marketing means you aren’t stuck to any one approach for any length of time. Again, this is very different than more traditional advertising that forces you to make an upfront static investment with no guarantee of results. Now, every dollar you invest into digital marketing can be easily quantified and measured quickly.
Add all this up and you have a very powerful platform to make the most of your resources in helping turn your business into a growth machine. A well-formulated and executed business strategy will establish the foundations against which YOUR business can create, monitor and measure success