3 Key Ingredients for Making a Business Strategy

September 14, 2011

Strategy Concepts

Problems in business strategy development, like failure to act due to perceived complexity or an intense focus on business plan tools or templates that don’t fit strategy building, are more obvious than the solutions.

So, it seems like a good idea to consider what can make strategy development successful; or to review some things that will help build a great business strategy.

What Will Help You to DIY Your Business Strategy?

Three factors that go into building a great business strategy are: a Process, Focus, and Expertise.  Sure, there are other components that might help build strategy, but let’s consider these 3 components here.

  • Process
    • There must be a “method to the madness”.  Without a solid process you risk not achieving your ultimate goal; not reaching the end-point.  A clear process, that you understand and can implement, will keep your strategy planning activities moving forward and will increase your probability of success.  This process is your proverbial road-map to a brighter future.
  • Focus
    • Finding time and resources to dedicate to Strategic Planning might be the biggest challenge for business leaders.  There must be time to focus on the development of strategy; on the analysis of issues; on the synthesis of information and drawing conclusions.  Not to overwhelm the DIY candidate, but some amount of time and resource needs to be dedicated to strategy.  In an age of “Ready, Fire, Aim” where speed is celebrated, even short bursts of focused energy can go a long way to building a strategy for your business.
  • Expertise
    • Maybe it goes without saying, but experience and knowledge are critical in strategy building.  Some deep insight into the business, market, customers, suppliers, and all other stakeholders is required.  It may be that much of this expertise is internal to the company but it may also be found outside.

Seeing this list of 3 ‘ingredients’ highlights why you might engage strategy consultants.  When you call in strategy consultants, they will bring at least two of these key ingredients – focus and process.

As I’ve stated in this site, I have worked with many strategy consultants and will say that experienced and qualified consultants can bring great value.  Most notably, they can bring resources that you don’t have and those resources are set on your project, delivering that focus that is required to create the strategy.  And they have processes!  Most consultants have rigorous processes that have been built and tested over time to ensure results.

If you get lucky, you might find a consultant with direct industry experience that will help enhance the project.  But, you will find very often, that consultants will start with your knowledge and expertise as the baseline for the project.  They understand that you know what’s going on and what the key issues are for your business.

Find a Process and Find Some Time

So, if you want to DIY your business strategy, what you need to do first is find a process that you can embrace.  Find something that fits your business situation, your personality, your desired outputs, timeframe, etc.  There are complex processes that are outlined across the internet and there are more simple processes (including the ideas and process steps outlined here in StrategyDIY) that give you a simplified approach.  Pick something that speaks to you.   A good process will keep you on track and help ensure the outcome.

Then find time to focus on building your business strategy.  Creating a regular plan for working on the business strategy (whether it is just hours per day or days per week) an established plan is important.

Why no discussion on expertise?  You have expertise.  You bring the knowledge that is required to start the process of strategy building.  The first step recommended here is to use that expertise and knowledge to kick-off your strategy building activities.  Get on paper all your key questions for the business.

What do you believe are key ingredients to building successful business strategies?  Put them in the comments below; I’d love to know.

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