Somewhere somebody described to me the process in which Michelangelo imagined his David from inside a flawed block of
granite marble that had a crack in it. The crack became the hitch in David’s arm as he holds the sling.
I think that’s something like real business strategy. The general type of business, what other people would assume it to be, is like the uncarved block of marble. The strategy is locked inside it. And the end result is created by what you take away.
So, for example, a restaurant’s strategy is about what it doesn’t do. One of my favorite restaurants serves very healthy fast foods. That’s what it’s doing. What it isn’t doing is sit-down table service, breakfasts, cheap meals, drive-through, date dinners, and on an on.
Then there’s the attorney I’ve dealt with for years who sent me to somebody else for IP law, and to a different person for litigation, and yet another for employer law. What he does is small business law. And what he doesn’t do is much bigger.
First you define your market in general terms by describing your target market segments. Then you define it better by defining who, within that segment, isn’t your customer, and why.
First you define your general strategy by what it is that you do. Then you refine it by defining what it is, within that general description, that you don’t do.
(Photo credit: K Patel 1980/Flickr)