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You started a business. So what? What's your strategy?

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Congratulations! You started a business. That’s awesome, and I bet you’re feeling pretty proud of yourself right now. But here’s the hard truth: starting a business is just half the battle. To accomplish anything truly meaningful in your business, you need to have an effective strategy that will help you stay focused, guide larger decisions, and power your growth over time. Business without strategy is like driving with no destination; sure, it can be exciting for a while but eventually, you'll get lost and find yourself stuck in nowhere-Ville wishing there was more than just aimless wandering to show for all your efforts. So buckle up, friends—in this blog post, we explore why having an actionable strategy is key for small businesses that want to thrive!



What is a business strategy?


A business strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve an organization's long-term goals and objectives. It outlines the steps that need to be taken for the company to reach its desired outcome and includes tactics such as market analysis, competitive positioning, pricing strategies, product/service offerings, marketing initiatives, sales channels, customer service protocols, and more.


A well-thought-out business strategy can help you stay organized and focused on your goals while adapting to changing conditions in the marketplace. Ultimately, it will clarify decision-making processes and ensure everyone in your organization works together towards a common goal.


Why Having an Effective Strategy is Essential


Your strategy can be used as a tool to measure progress over time and ensure that everyone in your organization is working towards the same goal. It also keeps operations running smoothly by helping you identify problems before they occur, adjust plans accordingly when things don’t go according to plan, and maximize opportunities where possible. In short, having an effective strategy is key for small businesses that want to thrive.


How a Business Strategy, Business Plan, and Business Model Work Together


A business strategy, business plan, and business model work together to help an organization reach its desired goals and objectives. A business strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve an organization's long-term goals and objectives. It outlines the steps that need to be taken for the company to reach its desired outcome and includes tactics such as market analysis, competitive positioning, pricing strategies, product/service offerings, marketing initiatives, sales channels, customer service protocols, and more. The strategy provides the overarching direction for what needs to be done and outlines the steps that need to be taken to achieve the company's long-term objectives.


A business plan is a written document describing how a business will operate over time. It covers topics such as financial projections, management structures and processes, operation plans and practices, marketing efforts, and sales strategies. This plan takes the steps in a business strategy further by providing detailed plans of action on how each component should be executed.

Finally, a business model is the underlying structure of an organization that defines how it creates value for its customers while generating revenue itself. It consists of the core activities that a business must perform to succeed, such as product/service design, pricing and promotion, customer segmentation, distribution channels, operational processes, and more.


By working together in tandem, these three core elements of your business can help you stay organized and focused while achieving your desired results.


Different Parts of a Business Strategy


The different parts of a business strategy include vision and objectives, core values, SWOT Analysis, tactics, and operational delivery, resources and resource allocation, and measurement and analysis.


The vision and objectives provide clarity on the direction of an enterprise. They should include a mission statement, goals, and objectives that define success and core values that guide decision-making processes.


A SWOT Analysis helps you identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to make informed decisions about how to move forward.


Tactics are the specific strategies that will be employed to achieve your vision and objectives. This includes market analysis, competitive positioning, pricing strategies, product/service offerings, marketing initiatives, sales channels, customer service protocols, etc.


Operational delivery is the process by which these tactics are successfully implemented. It involves assigning tasks to staff members or departments, assigning resources to ensure the timely completion of tasks, and setting milestones to track progress.


Resource allocation ensures that your organization has the financial, human, and physical resources to accomplish its objectives.


Finally, measurement and analysis is the practice of tracking performance metrics over time to assess overall success levels. This will help you identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions on where to invest additional resources. By understanding the different parts of a business strategy and how they are used together, entrepreneurs can create a plan for success.


Different Types of Business Strategies


The different types of business strategies include competition, market expansion, diversification, functional, and operational.


A competitive business strategy focuses on achieving a competitive advantage over competitors by differentiating products or services in the market. It involves analyzing the competition and making strategic decisions to meet customer needs better and differentiate from competitors. Examples of this type of strategy include offering lower prices, expanding product or service offerings, or providing superior customer service.


A market expansion business strategy is designed to increase sales and market share by targeting new markets, customers, or channels for existing products or services. This can involve launching products in new countries, entering new distribution channels, or targeting new demographics with tailored marketing messages.


A diversification business strategy involves introducing new products or services to an existing customer base. This type of strategy can be used to enter new markets, increase sales, and mitigate risk in case of a downturn in the current market.


A functional business strategy focuses on improving operational efficiency by streamlining processes, systems, and procedures. Examples of this type of strategy include automating processes, creating standard operating procedures for tasks, or investing in technology to enable greater productivity.


An operational business strategy is designed to lower costs by optimizing production processes and resource allocation. Examples of this type of strategy include reducing raw material costs through bulk purchasing, consolidating suppliers to get better pricing, increasing automation levels to reduce labor costs, or moving manufacturing operations abroad where labor costs are lower.


By understanding the different types of business strategies, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions on which type is best suited for their organization's goals and objectives.


How to Build a Functional Business Strategy


A functional business strategy is designed to improve the operational efficiency of an organization. It involves streamlining processes, systems, and procedures to reduce costs and maximize productivity.


The first step in building a functional business strategy is identifying areas of improvement in your current operations. This can be done by analyzing customer feedback, conducting employee surveys, or assessing performance metrics over time. Once potential areas of improvement have been identified, you can start developing goals and objectives aligned with your business's overall vision.


The next step is to allocate resources to implement these goals and objectives. This includes assigning tasks to staff members or departments, setting milestones to track progress, and ensuring sufficient financial, human, and physical resources are available.


Lastly, you need to monitor the success of your functional business strategy. This includes tracking performance metrics such as customer satisfaction, turnaround time, and cost savings to ensure that the strategy works as planned. It also involves soliciting feedback from stakeholders, such as customers or employees, to assess the strategy's effectiveness over time.


By building a functional business strategy that considers your organization's overall vision and allocates sufficient resources for its implementation, entrepreneurs can create an efficient operational framework to meet their goals and objectives.


How to Build an Operational Business Strategy



An operational business strategy is designed to lower costs by optimizing production processes and resource allocation. It involves assessing current operations, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing measures to maximize efficiency.


The first step in building an operational business strategy is identifying potential cost savings within your organization. This can be done by analyzing customer feedback, conducting employee surveys, or assessing performance metrics over time. Once these areas have been identified, you can develop goals and objectives aligned with your business's overall vision.


The next step is to allocate resources to implement these goals and objectives. This includes assigning tasks to staff members or departments, setting milestones to track progress, and ensuring sufficient financial, human, and physical resources are available.


Lastly, you need to monitor the success of your operational business strategy. This includes tracking performance metrics such as cost savings or customer satisfaction to ensure that the strategy works as planned. It also involves soliciting feedback from stakeholders, such as customers or employees, to assess the strategy's effectiveness over time.


By building an operational business strategy that focuses on reducing costs and maximizing efficiency, entrepreneurs can create an environment for their organization to succeed in meeting its goals and objectives.


How to Measure the Success of Your Strategy


As a solo entrepreneur, it is important to measure the success of your business strategy, functional strategy, and operational strategy to ensure you are achieving the desired outcomes.


When measuring the success of your business strategy, you should look at key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer satisfaction or revenue growth. You can also review surveys or interviews with customers and stakeholders to gauge their opinion on your business's performance.


To measure the success of a functional strategy, consider KPIs related to efficiency and productivity, such as turnaround times or cost savings.


Additionally, feedback from employees or customers regarding improved processes can be used to assess their effectiveness.


For an operational strategy, several metrics can be used to measure success. These include cost savings, customer satisfaction, and resource utilization.


Additionally, you should seek feedback from stakeholders on their experience with the organization's operations.


By regularly tracking KPIs and soliciting feedback from stakeholders, a solo entrepreneurs can ensure that their strategies are delivering the desired outcomes. This will help them determine if changes need to be made to optimize performance further.


Business Strategy Template:


Vision Statement: _Insert vision statement here_


Goals and Objectives:

- Goal 1: _Specify goal here_

- Objective 1.1: _Outline objective here_

- Objective 1.2: _Outline objective here_


- Goal 2: _Specify goal here_

- Objective 2.1: _Outline objective here_

- Objective 2.2: _Outline objective here_



Resources Required to Achieve Goals and Objectives:

- Financial Resources: _List required financial resources here, e.g., capital, budget for marketing activities, etc._

- Human Resources: _List required human resources here, e.g., staff members and departments, etc._

- Physical Resources: _List required physical resources here, e.g., equipment, office space, etc._


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): _Specify KPIs to monitor goals and objectives here_


Plan of Action: _Outline key steps necessary to achieve goals and objectives here_


Timeframe for Implementation: _Specify the timeline for achieving goals and objectives here_


An Example


Vision Statement: Our vision is to be the premier landscaping company in our region, providing quality services and enhancing outdoor living spaces for our clients.


Goals and Objectives:

- Goal 1: Increase Revenue by 10%

- Objective 1.1: Expand service offerings to include new products/service

- Objective 1.2: Increase marketing efforts to reach more potential customers


- Goal 2: Reduce Costs by 8%

- Objective 2.1: Implement operational efficiencies

- Objective 2.2: Negotiate better deals with suppliers


Resources Required to Achieve Goals and Objectives:


- Financial Resources: Capital for purchasing new equipment; budget for marketing activities

- Human Resources: Additional staff members and departments (e.g., marketing, customer service, etc.)

- Physical Resources: Equipment to support expanded services; office space for additional staff


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Revenue growth; cost savings; customer satisfaction ratings; resource utilization.


Plan of Action:

1. Conduct market research to determine potential new products/services to offer.

2. Design marketing plans and strategies to reach more customers.

3. Identify areas for operational improvement and implement changes.

4. Negotiate better deals with suppliers for materials/equipment needed for services provided.

5. Hire additional staff as needed to support expanded services.

6. Train staff on new products/services and operational processes.

7. Monitor KPIs and solicit feedback from stakeholders to ensure desired outcomes are being achieved.


Conclusion


The story's moral is that starting a business is only half the battle--effective strategy is essential to taking your business where you want it to go. A well-crafted strategy will help you stay focused, make better decisions, and experience sustainable growth over time. Without a destination or plan in mind, businesses are like cars driving aimlessly down the road--eventually, you'll get lost and end up stuck somewhere you never intended to be. If you're feeling lost and need help charting a course for your business, schedule a consultation with us today! We would be more than happy to help you develop an effective strategy tailored specifically to your business needs. Thanks for reading!



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Of course, you do! That’s why I'll write more articles on this topic. I want to help you understand that creatives can also be good entrepreneurs.


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