A strategy is an important tool in the arsenal of any business. It guides your decision making, ensuring you’re building a consistent, coherent brand, and ensures you don’t overstep the values your customers want to see reflected where they spend their money – or that you hold yourself.
It’s important not to confuse strategy for tactics – your strategy is your high level direction, while your tactics are how you’ll face each challenge on the way and neither are to be confused with your goal, which is your ultimate aim. In military terms, your goal would be to win the battle, your strategy would be to occupy a significant hill and the tactics are how you would overcome all the environmental challenges to get there, take it from the enemy and retain it.
Your goal likely remains in place until it’s achieved, and if you’re a planner, you’ll likely have a linked series of goals planned out that cover the entire lifecycle of your business. Your tactics are reviewed and reset whenever a fresh challenge emerges, but your strategy falls into a middle ground. It has to be long term to be worth the investment of researching and creating the document, but it also has to be open to review or you risk locking yourself into a long term strategy that’s not creating the results you want or building a business you’re happy with.
When the Market Changes
One of the key things that signals you need to review your strategy is when you detect changes in your market. Whether it’s a new competitor that’s eating up your market share, an incoming recession, or a change in fashion that’s luring your customers away elsewhere, it’s time to take a look at your strategy.
When You Change
As a founder and owner, you may experience profound changes in your life after you establish your business. Meeting a partner, starting a family, parental health problems or simply aging can change how you feel about your business and what you to achieve with it. Don’t let yourself get trapped into a vision of work that no longer suits your values – review, rewrite and reconfigure to ensure you’re steering in a direction you believe in.
On a Regular Schedule
The above methods work when you detect a warning sign. But the most successful businesses anticipate trouble and take action first. Partnering with a business strategy consulting agency for an annual review of your strategy ensures you’re making changes ahead of problems, and realigning your business before your competitors!