How to Build Your Business Strategy

Business strategy is something that comes naturally to me. I’m good at anticipating challenges, at doing research to assess the risk and reward to multiple options and I love to use data to validate or refute initial findings.

Though easy for me, I have found that being successful with business strategy is not as natural for most business owners, senior managers and decision-makers.

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When I set up my first company, it was based on a year of research and lots of networking. When I launched my second business it was based not just on research and networking, but learning from the mistakes made the first time with financial planning and partner relationships. Now on my third business, having taken the best of everything that worked before and finding ways to mitigate the things that went wrong before.

Now, for most business leaders you can’t just hit the rest button every few years, but you should hit the reset button on your initial strategy. Adapt to changes in the market. Glean new insights on cutting edge technology. Stay on top of industry trends.

That’s the first key to business strategy. Understanding that it is a continual process that evolves. Many businesses fail because they don’t change with the times or because leaders just stick with what has always worked. That’s dinosaur thinking.

Any good business strategy has to adopt a continuous process improvement policy, using something Six Sigma or Lean to keep things form getting stale.

A good business strategy also seeks out new technologies that can disrupt both their business and their business marketplace. What was cutting edge and trendy six months ago most likely be as effective six months from now. Good Business intelligence tools that can do cool data visualizations and build business dashboards help us stay ahead of the game. I show a lot of people how to do this using Tableau Public, which is free and easy to learn.

The next key to business strategy is integrating customer insights into everything you do. If you don’t listen to your customers, if you can’t predict what they need, and if you have a strategy that puts profit before customer experience you will probably fail.

It amazes me when I see bad customer service, products that no longer meet customer needs being produced and unimaginative marketing campaigns. In this day and age, with access to our customers at unprecedented levels, there is no excuse for failing to get it right the first time.  We do a lot of surveying and engage using social media to stay connected.

The third key I include in my business strategy planning and consulting is understanding the competitive landscape. Knowing where we stack up in the marketplace, what are our strengths and weaknesses, what is hot and what is not… you need to put as much focus on what is happening outside the business as you need to know what’s happening inside.

Almost everyone I talk with about their competitors share with me one common feeling… I don’t really know what my competitors are doing. In fact a high percentage even struggle to identify who their key competitors are. We are active in industry organizations, online social media groups and attend competitors events to stay up to date.

Business strategy is a lot more than just business intelligence, customer insights, and competitive landscapes, but it is a good start. If you are able to add these to financial models and demographic data, you will have a well-rounded business strategy. And then its just a matter of keeping it fresh, resetting it every so often to make sure you don’t become a dinosaur.

Let me know if I can help. In the past few years I have helped companies of all shapes and sizes refine their business strategy using my keys to success.

Business Strategy with Analytics – Aligning a business strategy to drive an organization forward requires a robust analytics solution. Businesses who have good analytics tend to be much more profitable and efficient then ones that do not. DMAIPH has helped dozens of companies in both the U.S. and the Philippines with adding more data analysis in their business strategy. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to find out what we can do to help you align your business strategy with analytics.

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