Hope is not a strategy

The goal of strategic planning is to position a business in its market with a sustainable advantage over its competitors that enables it to serve its customers more profitably, gain market share and deliver superior financial returns. Central to this is determining what assets – services, products and capabilities – you need to develop and deploy to create more value for your target customers in a market segment that has both growth and profit potential. To create a sustainable advantage, you must create assets that give a prospective customer a compelling reason for selecting you over the alternatives that are available and are hard for competitors to duplicate. Strategic planning is therefore about ‘what’ and ‘why’. A business plan is derivative of a strategic plan that outlines the ‘how’ – how a business will execute a strategic plan over a defined period of time and focuses on the tactics to create the competitive assets. Enhancing business value is (or should be!) the primary goal of every business owner and a coherent strategic plan offers a clear view on how you are going to enhance business value. Without it, you have no context for action, you won’t have a proper basis for deciding what must be done and why, and you will probably expend time and effort on activities that don’t add value. It is often said that strategy is easy and implementation is hard. This is a fallacy and here is why… The foundation of good strategy lies in answering 7 questions. In truth, most people answer these questions superficially, with little understanding of what is important to their customers – focusing on things that they think are important but their customers do not, and with too much reliance on assumptions, long-held beliefs and sacred cows. Unless a company can clearly answer these 7 questions, they may have ideas, energy, enthusiasm and great people, but they don’t have a strategy. If a business is stagnating in a growing market; if it is struggling competitively or losing market share it almost certainly lacks a compelling business strategy. Without a plan, all a business has is hope, and hope is not a strategy. EvettField Partners have experience, processes and rigor to encourage business owners’ focus on answering the 7 questions and to develop evidence-based strategy that drives business value. If you want to know more about the 7 questions, contact us for a chat.