A business strategy is like a compass. When you have resolved to take over the world, the next question that would naturally come to mind is where you’ll start from. It’s very likely if your business started off very small or you stumbled into business, you never really bothered to develop a business plan or a strategy. A strategy is important and necessary because it develops a company’s vision and helps staff stay focused on your organizations mission and aims.
Before we continue, remember that there is a difference between a strategy and a tactic. People often confuse the two. Strategies put simply, are the big idea. Tactics on the other hand, are more about ‘how’, you’re going to carry out the strategy objectives.
Research : Every great plan is built on the foundations of research. Knowing as much as possible about your industry, your target audience will help you navigate your boat in the right direction.
Develop a vision statement : A vision statement is an organizations roadmap that clearly states their objectives and embodies where they’re going and what they want to become. Ultimately, vision statements are used to help navigate the organisation’s internal decision making. This is a chance for you to think big and take time to decide where you want to see your company in the next few decades.
Develop a mission statement : A mission statement should be a few sentences that define your company’s primary goals, ethics, culture and generally what you stand for. You can define your goals in three dimensions; what your company does for its customers, what it does for its employees, what it does for its owners. Your statement should embody who you are, what you represent, and what contribution you make to people’s lives.
Identify strategic objectives : Now that you have summarized what your company is about, what your objectives are and what you stand for, it’s time to get into the really hard stuff which is strategy. To help, look at your vision and mission statement and ask yourself what you need to get there. If your goal is to become the biggest provider of beauty products in Africa, your strategy should be to get as many customers in Africa as possible, to get your product in as many stores as possible and so on.
Come up with tactical plans: As discussed earlier, tactics are all about the how. So if your strategy is to get as many customers as possible in Africa, your tactics may include getting free samples to them, getting influencers to talk about your products, running promotional campaigns, or offering discounts. Tactics are all about thinking of creative ways to get the job done.
Performance management : After all is said and done, the only way to manage success is through analysis and performance management, you’ll need to closely follow your performance, find out how you’ll measure success and what key indicators you will use to help you know whether you’re on track or not.
All of these steps should help you in your plight to develop a killer business strategy. Remember that strategies aren’t written in stone and you may need to re-develop and revise your strategy at many points while running your business. No matter what, be flexible, learn and stay focused on the end goal.