The Strategy for Your Strategy

“Become Your Own Boss: Effective Business Plan Writing” will be presented at Boston Center for Adult Education on Wednesday evenings October 10, 17 & 24 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM.  Do you wonder what you’ll do after you retire?  Evaluate and prepare to launch the business idea that you’ve been thinking about for the past few years.  Register at  http://bit.ly/RnyIBP

We’re at the threshold of the fourth quarter and it’s time to set yourself up for not only a strong and profitable ending for this year,  but also an auspicious beginning for 2013.  To make that happen,  you may choose to tweak your business strategy or perhaps make more substantive changes to roll out.  Change makes us nervous,  because we  enter uncharted waters.  Business plans look good on paper,  but what will reality bring? The impact can be unpredictable.  Freelance consultants can test a strategy relatively quickly,  but mistakes cost time and time is money.  Yet,  there are ways to improve the odds of achieving success.

Competitive advantage is derived from recognizing and responding to developments in your marketplace faster and more accurately than your competitors.  Strategy experts in Fortune 500 companies know that the strategy setting process must reflect the conditions of the marketplace in which one operates,  as well as your company’s influence within.  In other words,  minnows have different options than sharks or whales and the minnow’s strategies must reflect that reality.

Claire Love,  Martin Reeves and Philipp Tillmanns of Boston Consulting Group say that to effectively plan to succeed,  the business needs a strategy for making a strategy.  The trio have identified four categories of strategy setting:  Classical,  Adaptive,  Shaping and Visionary.  Small businesses and Freelancers would use one of the first two.  Think of Sony and IBM as two companies that had Visionary ideas that Shaped the global marketplace and influenced the habits of a billion consumers.

Classical is the strategy setting style recommended when operating in an industry and business environment that while predictable,  is nevertheless beyond the businesses’ ability to control or significantly influence.  Strategy planners analyze the current business situation and use that information to set reasonable business goals and identify the most favorable competitive market position that can be expected by leveraging available resources and advantages:  client list,  experience,  expertise,  relationships,  reputation,  etc.,  plus identify and assess barriers to entry.

The strategy planners then refine and strengthen competitive positioning through standard strategy planning techniques such as the SWOT  (strengths,  weaknesses,  opportunities and threats)  matrix and project the likely results elicited by the new strategy forward into successive quarters.   Goals and the strategies developed to achieve them might be followed for maximum three years,  or until changes in the business environment or within the business itself encourage the planners to set new goals and strategies.

Next week,  we take a look at the Adaptive strategy setting style.

Thanks for reading,

Kim

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