In business having a plan and a strategy will ultimately determine what direction it will take and how it will operate in the future. Having a clearly defined business strategy you stand the best chance of achieving the goals you set at the beginning.
In order to be successful you do not have to be the market leader you simply need to be aware of your strengths and how your strategy differentiates you from your competitors.
Your business strategy will state how you intend to achieve your goals, meet your customers' needs and remain competitive in your chosen market. It will need to include an analysis of what products or services you are offering, who your customers are and why you have chosen them.
An extremely useful and well- tested technique for identifying key points is SWOT analysis. It will help you to develop your niche in the market and to sustain it by understanding yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and the needs of your market.
SWOT analysis was originally thought up by Albert S Humphrey during the 1960s, it is a powerful tool that can help you to see what opportunities are out there that you can exploit to your advantage through understanding these key points.
Opportunities and threats tend to be external factors whereas strengths and weaknesses are internal ones. We shall consider each of these four factors.
Ask yourself, What does my company have in the way of advantages? What does it offer the world and in what way is that unique? How does your market see you in terms of superiority/value for money? How do you manage to make sales? What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
These questions need to be considered from both an external and internal perspective, looking at things from your point of view, that of your customers and your competitors.
What are you doing wrong? What causes you to lose money or sales? In what way could you improve your business? Do you lack knowledge or experience in any crucial field of your market? What mistakes have you made? In what way are your competitors beating or outclassing you? Consider this from both external and internal viewpoints; try to be as honest with yourself as possible.
What opportunities have you noticed? Have there been changes in technology that you can exploit? Have there been changes in your market, their lifestyle choices; your competitors have not acted on yet? Have there been changes in government policies or regulations? Have the cost of your materials changed, have you found suppliers offering better deals? Are there advertising venues you have not tried?
What kind of problems or difficulties do you have to deal with?
Are your competitors doing things differently to you and are they making more sales as a result? Is technology changing and as a result presenting a threat to your position? Do you have bad cash flow, are your customers paying you on time? Are there changes occurring in standards of quality that are affecting your ability to meet your customers needs?
Only use precise measurements in your statements, prioritise all the factors involved in your analysis, try to be realistic and aim to draft a coherent strategy as a result.
Here is a link to a YouTube video that discusses the subject in more detail
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