Many entrepreneurs see business strategy as an optional element, more of a status thing than something that needs to be worked out. This state of affairs is a consequence of the fact that our market is very volatile: businessmen are used to living for the day, not thinking much about the medium and long term. Today we will deal with the problems of this approach and, at the same time, with how to draw up a business development strategy in practice.
Why do you need a business strategy at all?
As a rule, at the start of a business the entrepreneur sees everything as obvious: here’s the market need, here’s the product, here are our plans. On the scale of “right now” this really works, but this approach does not take into account changes in the market in the future. Unlike a business strategy, which:
Gives an understanding of the company’s mission
Your strategy is a comprehensive answer to the basic question: “How do we achieve the result we are striving for?” Usually this question is called the company’s mission. For example, our time tracking for Mac Monitask has a mission “To increase the productivity of our clients’ staff. Our strategy, accordingly, suggests:
- Create a transparent and safe working environment;
- Ensure that management is highly informed about the actions of employees;
- Form a database for analytics in order to optimize existing business processes.
And so on. We don’t have any questions about what exactly needs to be done to achieve the mission: we always know the answers.
Forms an action plan to accomplish the mission
The next level of detail in the strategy. From the previous point we already know what we need to do, now we just define the tools:
- “Improve control methods”: organize a system of comprehensive monitoring of the actions of employees;
- “Create a transparent and safe work environment”: ensure that controls are unobtrusive and unnoticeable;
- “Ensure high management awareness”: set up triggers and conditions for automatic notifications, create detailed reports;
- “Form a database”: combine incoming information, structure it, implement filters and the output of reports on specific indicators-employees-departments.
And here we have quite a clear plan to work on the product in Monitask, based simply on our business strategy.
Helps to choose directions for business development
By disclosing the company’s mission, the business strategy makes it easy to separate critical areas of work from additional ones. In our case:
- Improving the quality of data collection, analytics, and automatic reporting is the main area of work, a priority;
- Supplementing the system with the possibility of group access to reports (relevant to the scrum methodology) – this is the development of the concept of secure environment: an additional direction, but very important;
- Improving the computer’s remote control features is an additional and optional direction that can be rolled back if necessary.
That way, we always know what we need to work on first.
To begin with, you will only need to identify the 7 basic elements:
The company’s mission
Why do you exist? What result are you striving for? Formulate this thought as clearly as possible, clearly, in one sentence – it’s critical. This is what Monitask’s mission statement looks like: “To increase the productivity of our clients’ staff.
Are you a small team that makes no sense to divide, or a larger business with separate departments and branches? If the latter, be sure to spell out the role of each business unit.
Company and product benefits
What makes you special, unique, and motivates a customer to choose your product? For Monitask, the list is as follows:
- Ease of use;
- Inability to cheat the system;
Again, the shorter and more capacious you get, the better.
Your products and services
Your company’s main products.
Geography of business
Are you working on a specific region? Are you planning to enter other markets? Our example: Europe, the U.S., Latin America. We are entering the Turkish market. We plan to enter the Chinese market.
The company’s resource base
Development department, human resources, production space, funding – describe what you have.
Personal qualities of employees
What kind of people do you want on your team, and what kind of people should you never work with? Describe the portrait of your ideal employee – for Kikidler it looks like this: motivated, creative, believing in the product, a professional in his field, or wishing to become one.
Shaping the strategy itself
Now, looking at these 7 points, start putting them together:
- Who will you hire?
- What products to develop?
- How to sell them, to whom?
- Which markets to follow?
- How often do I need to update these 7 items?
Write down the answers to all of these questions on paper, and the foundation for your business strategy is ready – all you have to do is expand and add to it. Pay enough attention to this, and the chance of finding yourself in a situation for which you are not prepared will be reduced to a minimum!