After putting together a few blog posts on branding (here and here), we thought it might be helpful to look at the overall picture of Business Strategy. Branding is certainly an element of Business Strategy, but it is only one piece of a much larger and more complex puzzle.
Every business needs a strategy in order to succeed. As obvious as that sounds, many businesses either operate without a realistic or sustainable strategy, or they operate with no real strategy, or they operate with a seriously flawed strategy. Any of these mistakes will make it that much harder to have a successful business. A sound strategy will help you take your business where you would like it to go, and it will help you evaluate along the way so that you can make changes when needed.
Today we will look briefly at what we mean by “Business Strategy,” and also give you an idea of some of the upcoming blog posts that will relate to this larger idea.
Business Strategy essentially encompasses everything that your company does to reach its business goals. Even in a simplified definition like that, we can already see that multiple things are assumed, such as the notion that your business has stated goals which you are trying to reach in specific ways. Too many businesses try to jump into strategy in the middle; this almost always fails because strategy is a building which needs a firm foundation, and then is put together piece by piece.
There are three major stages of Business Strategy:
We will look at some of the aspects of each of these stages in upcoming articles.
Business Strategy Formulation
Formulation is the first stage of Business Strategy, and it is exactly what it sounds like – this is where you put together the actual pieces of your plan. When you sit down to formulate your strategy, you will review things about your business like identity and general mission, and you will also want to measure where your business is now. You can then take these pieces of information and reach a list of goals or objectives – once you see where you are, you can concretely talk about where you would like to be, and how long it will take you to get there.
Finally, in this first phase, you will come up with a plan, or strategy, for getting your company to achieve these stated goals. We could simplify this process by saying: In the formulation phase you figure out where you are now, where you would like to be, and how you would like to get there.
The next two phases, Implementation and Evaluation, are a bit simpler to briefly talk about, but just as crucial to the success of your strategy. In the Implementation phase your company will be doing things like setting aside money for the plan, choosing people to be in charge of the plan, and deciding exactly how to put the plan into place. This phase also might include new training and organizing, and obviously integration into the already existing flow of company policies and procedures.
Evaluation: Final and Ongoing Step
The final step, Evaluation, is something you will then be doing on an ongoing basis throughout the duration of the particular strategy you have put into place. Evaluation simply means that you must see how well the plan is working, and is it bringing you closer to your stated goals, and do things need to be modified in order to work better. Quite often we need to tweak implementation because our evaluation shows us that some things could be better – and this is perfect! Remember, the goal is reaching company objectives, not just having a plan and sticking to it.
More in depth articles on each of the three phases will be coming soon, so if your business needs help with planning and strategy, stay tuned!
Next up Business Strategy Formulation.