Simple Business Growth Strategy Development (Part 1) – Overview

This post is the first in a series outlining a basic DIY business strategy building system.

What are you trying to do with a business strategy?

Well, if you are hanging around StrategyDIY, you probably have that nagging feeling you need a strategy for your business.  You might have lost that confidence you had when your business was launched; when you knew exactly what you were going to do to be successful.  You are most likely carrying around a lot of questions that you know need to be answered, but you haven’t found the time or the way to get them answered.  And you either can’t afford to or just don’t want to get consultants involved.

And so what is offered here is the chance to build your business strategy; to create that “integrated set of actions to” achieve your principle business objective (discussed here before).  If you complete  the 4 simple activities outlined below, you’ll have what could be your first business strategy; you’ll regain the confidence that comes from a clear plan of action to drive your business forward.  At the end, you will have answered those nagging questions about your business and be moving forward with deliberate action.

So, that’s the goal.  Having a plan of action – simply and, these days, quickly.

These 4 activities are synthesized from years of experience in developing big corporate business strategies, coaching business leaders on strategy, and helping many friends shape their own small business strategies.  These 4 steps have been successfully leveraged by many different businesses.

How can you get to that critical set of actions?

The basic process you’ll follow to eliminate that stress coming from lack of clear focus and get a clear strategic plan is the 4 Step Strategy Builder, below.

Step 1: Question

  • This is the most overlooked step in strategy development.  In the first step, you will identify the most critical questions you believe need to be answered for your business.
  • This was a way to break out of the paralysis of complexity discussed previously.

Step 2: Study

  • This step is when you will complete the research or assessment activities.  These will be commonly promoted activities of studying customers, suppliers, competitors, etc.
  • You may use common strategy tools, for example, SWOT or PEST analyses.
  • The difference here, is that your studies will be focused on answering those key questions from Step 1.  You will not be completing a ‘one size fits all’ template.

Step 3: Sort

  • For lack of a better term, Sort, identifies the step where you will analyze the results of Step 2 and start to draw some conclusions.
  • The conclusions are really the answers to your cornerstone questions.  You’ll start seeing alignment from key questions now to solutions.

Step 4: Act!

  • This is it.  The final step.
  • In this final step, you will take the priority findings from Step 3 and develop the action plans to address them.

The Focus Up-front Makes This Simple

You may wonder, “What makes this simple? Why will this process allow me to build my own strategy?”  It’s actually step 1.  The work up-front sets the direction for the remainder of the work in the studying and sorting phases, steps 2 and 3.  The setting up of the questions helps maintain focus during the analysis phases as opposed to the classic strategic process of just analyzing everything as other processes would do, like all stakeholders, all components, complete market and environmental assessments.  You will use your expertise and knowledge of the business, to drive the process.  You will not be working a cookie-cutter solution.  Your business is unique.  So too is your knowledge.

Keep in mind, strategy building is basically a problem solving exercise.  You will be trying to solve the problem contained in the question “What must be done to achieve . . . [insert principle business objective]?”  The problem is, you don’t know the answer yet.

To get started right now building that critical business strategy, you should create your master list of the key business questions that will guide your strategy development.  Get all the gnawing questions down on paper.


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