Aristotle said, “We do not know a truth without knowing its cause.” So what is so compelling about strategy? Why does it exist? Why is having a strategy so important? I was researching and preparing for a client’s Strategic Planning meeting when I realized that many women business owners don’t really understand the power of a Strategic Plan.
Strategy is necessary in response to two inescapable realities: limited resources and competition. Those two challenges alone force business owners to make choices about where to use their scarce resources to achieve a competitive advantage.
Simply put, strategy is the sum of an organization’s choices about where it will compete, how to create superior value and how it will generate superior results for customers. Through smart choices, a well-executed strategy will win the game.
What Four Key Questions Must A Strategy Answer?
A strategy must define how you will win. Winning in business means winning at value. It is important to focus your strategic plan on four key areas:
1. Where will you compete?
In what market segments?
Who are your customers?
What are you offering them?
2. What do we want to achieve?
What is your aim?
What is your measure of success?
What is your timeline in achieving success?
3. How will you win?
How will you beat the competition for value creation for customers and investors?
What resources will you need to create value that you don’t have right now?
4. What are your key priorities?
How will you focus your limited resources to achieve success?
How many priorities do you have?
The answers to these questions will make your strategic plan specific, clear and actionable.
People often struggle to understand the difference between strategy and planning. The fact is there are fundamental differences and it is important to know how they differ.
Strategy is about doing the right things – making the best choices for your organization by focusing on the few things that matter most.
Planning is doing things right. It provides a roadmap that includes discipline, logistical rigor and accountability. The purpose of planning is to create predictability and to generate forecasts, blueprints and budgets.
Effective strategic leadership is one of our greatest challenges in today’s competitive environment. Your strategic leadership gives a clear sense of direction that will enable your organization, your people and its stakeholders the ability to prosper.
Women Business Owners: if you don’t know or aren’t sure how to create your Strategy or build a Strategic Plan, we are here to mentor and coach you through that process.