Your Business Strategy
As an existing business you have to be constantly alert to the business market and environment you operate within. What is your business strategy? Whether as a new business just starting out or an existing business you need a business strategy.
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” — Matthew 10:16
Strategy is not always a one off long-term plan, but a continuous effort to reach a preferred a future position by adapting a competitive position as the market and conditions evolve.It is a mapping process to get your business to where it needs to be. It is a chosen set of actions by which a market position relative to your competitors is sought and maintained.
Strategy is the matching of the activities of an organisation to the environment in which it operates and to its own resource capabilities. Johnson and Scholes (1988)
Strategy is about effectiveness (doing the right things) rather than efficiency (doing what you do well). Your Business Strategy will be the framework within which the business operates (Business, Marketing and Operational plan).
To create a business strategy you must know where you are now (SWOT analysis) from which you develop a vision of where you would like your business to be in three or more years time with regards to size, business activities, operations etc. (Mission, Objectives), and a plan of how to get there (Positioning, Strategy).
The SWOT Analysis is an impartial assessment of the business’s Strengths & Weaknesses in relation to competitors, and the Opportunities & Threats posed by the environment. It is an analysis of the company and market from which the core strategy is developed.
What are the strengths of your business? What do you do very well? What is your stance in relation to your competitors? The strengths of you business could lie in your area of expertise, market presence, supplier or even distribution network. One or a combination of your strengths could form your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which could be a strength. As well as strengths you should also know your weakness, especially in relation to your competitors.
Undertake a research or study of the market and environment you are operating in or hoping to. This will enable you determine what opportunities are available. Opportunities could include growth in the market or a gap to be filled. Alongside the opportunities may also lie the threats posed by the environment or even competitors.
Strength: Established relationship with Suppliers and highly experienced management team.
Weakness: Absence of established distribution channels abroad.
Opportunities: High demand for the export of agricultural equipments to 3rd world countries
Threats: Tighter regulations forecasted for the export market.
Define your business purpose or mission statement, to help you do this ask the following questions;
1) Where & What business are you in now?
2) What business so you want to be in?
Your statement should include elements of your Vision (where you want to be in the foreseeable future), Values (ethical & moral), Core Skills and Customer targets.
The next stage is to set goals and develop a strategy; Build on your strengths, work on your weaknesses, exploit your opportunities and manage the threats. A key strategy could be to: Identify and recruit distributions channels abroad.
How will you go about achieving the set strategies and goals? This is where implementation comes in, this could be in form of a business, operational or marketing plan. As mentioned above the business strategy is not a one-off long-term plan, but evolves with the changing market and economic climate.