Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

How Do You Define Small Business Strategy? 2

Yesterday I got this comment to my post Maybe You and I Aren’t As Good At Strategy as We Think, from last November:

I’ve been wondering: How do you define “strategy?” Is it possible to brainstorm to arrive at one? What are the “parts” of a good strategy?

strategy outlineThat’s a really good question, worth a blog post, or actually, maybe a book, or a series of books (not that I would be the author) or a whole graduate curriculum. But I do have 37 posts in the business strategy category of this blog, including this post from last October, which had this summary:

It’s really about focus. You can’t do everything, so you do the right thing.
You can’t please everybody, so you select who you please based on common sense, your strengths and your weaknesses, and how you’re different.
You can’t sell everything, so you sell what you’re really good at, what makes you appealingly different, and what sets you apart.
You can’t do everything so you do what’s most important, what gives you the most benefit per unit of resources, what aligns you best with your target market and your focused business offering.

In my Plan-as-you-go Business Plan book I divided it into three interrelated parts: identity, market, and focus.

Your Business Identity: This element is about you and your business, what I call your identity. How are you different from others? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What is your core competence? What are your goals?

Your Market: Telling the market story is about knowing and understanding your customers. Understand why they buy from you, what their wants and needs are, what business you are really in.

Strategic Focus You can’t do everything. In restaurants, you can’t credibly offer great food at bargain prices with great atmosphere. If you say you do, nobody believes you anyhow. So you have to focus. Make this focus intertwined and enmeshed with your choice of key target customer and your own business identity. All three concepts have to work together.

I hope that helps to answer that question from a reader. I’m glad she asked.

  • Pingback: 3 Ms for a Dragging Strategy: Map it, Manage it, and Milestones.

  • http://www.directis.ca Susan Low

    Sometimes I think small business strategy is more of a verb than a noun. For every business I’ve consulted with, there’s a different level of strategy-making that goes on. Some people are highly analytical and their activities fit nicely into the three interrelated parts you mentioned. For others, perhaps with simpler businesses or less lofty ambitions, strategy is more navel-gazing and less documented. Either way, the business owner needs to think about the shape and future of the business, not just the immediate demands of clients, employees and suppliers.

  • http://www.ers-ebusiness.com/ ERS eBusiness Services

    Handling own business is tough.You should know the appropriate act between goals of business and implementing successful strategies to deal with all the additional areas that you need to focus on.Better planning together with right decision making leads to your success.