Business strategy jobs are in high demand. Do you know how to put together a stellar strategy that will help your company to reach its goals?
Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to plan, you are planning to fail.” One of the factors that goes into building and growing a successful business centers around strategic focus and making plans for each operational aspect. Any knowledge that you possess that helps you to identify business opportunities, mitigate operational risks, and execute profitability initiatives will go a long way toward helping you to land a job to build strategies for companies.
Of the utmost importance is your ability to demonstrate knowledge of a basic business strategy. In this article, we'll discuss the 6 key components of a business strategy and how knowing them can help you to succeed at work.
What is a business strategy?
Every business has goals - big goals and small goals. The main objective could be to penetrate international markets, create a new product, or challenge the status quo to disrupt existing industries. It doesn't matter what the objective is; a great business strategy is necessary to define how to get stuff done. Think of it as a master plan geared toward the achievement of goals.
Business strategies, sometimes called company strategies, contain these six components:
Vision and objectives
SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats)
Tactics and operational delivery
Resources and resource allocation
Measurement and analysis
It's critical to understand that there is a monumental difference between tactics and strategy. Simply speaking, tactics are actions and strategy is planning. It can be easy to get bogged down in the tactics, but those actions only support short-term goals. To ensure that you're leading your team toward long-term goals, you need to build a business strategy.
Vision and objectives
The beginning of your business strategy is the place to define your goal or goals. The vision gives you the direction, and the objectives detail the goals. As you think about the overall purpose of your business strategy, consider what steps you'll have to take to achieve the end result. Each objective that is fulfilled should take your organization one step closer to the goal or vision.
The values of your organization are powerful, in that they guide how the people within the company work together to achieve goals. Aligning core values with business strategy is imperative, if for no other reason than to demonstrate how employees should engage in the activities and objectives that have been set.
On top of that, core values help company leaders to identify potential staff members (or job seekers) that will work best for a given assignment. Identifying top talent and putting the right people in the right job will make measuring success much easier.
All business strategies must include an assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). Not only does this analysis show what factors exist that will guide success, but it also shows potential issues that could pop up. Knowing these things in advance will help you and your team to successfully navigate problems and could even pave the way for solving them before they arise.
Strengths are things your company excels at and how these qualities affect business operations. Strengths can be internal and external and include everything from your team having an innovative mindset to the company having a solid financial standing.
Weaknesses indicate areas for improvement. Weaknesses are demonstrated through low customer satisfaction, outdated equipment, and high debt levels.
Opportunities define what changes need to take place that can positively affect the company and the plan. Perhaps your business is in an area of expanding industry, or there have been recent government support programs put into place. All of these present possibilities of things your company can take advantage of, to propel the success of your business strategy.
Threats indicate risk. They are often external and can include things like supply chain issues or new regulations that could put up roadblocks.
Tactics and operational delivery
In the spirit of getting things done, tactics are the things that most executives like to focus on. They want to know where things are, who is doing the things that need to be done, and how much it will cost. This section of the business strategy is important for showing how resources will be allocated.
Resource and resource allocation
Once you know how the resources need to be allocated, it's time to assign, issue, or administer them. Resources encompass everything from people to equipment and budgets to time. As time progresses, you may need to adapt this section to include more or less resources. When resources are properly allocated, you improve efficiency, save time/labor hours, increase workplace harmony, and achieve higher employee retention rates.
Resource allocation happens in stages. There's early stage allocation, which happens when the strategy is being put into place. As the business plan progresses, you reach the growth stage. At this point, you start setting new goals and start working on new business strategies, which means that you have to allocate more resources (or the same resources differently). Finally, there's end-stage resource allocation. At the end of the execution of a business strategy, resource needs change and need to be re-evaluated.
Measurement and analysis
A great business strategy is moot if there's no way to measure success. Performance measurement, performance metrics, and performance indicators are prominent keywords in most job descriptions for business strategy jobs. Evaluating how the company is performing - whether goals are being achieved or not - allows you to make course corrections when necessary to keep things on track.
Business strategy examples
It's one thing to know the components of a business strategy and be able to talk about them during an interview; it's something else entirely to actually put a company strategy together. Let's dive into a couple of business strategy examples.
Build a loyal client base: The goal is to not only acquire new customers, but also to increase client retention to at least 80%. It's necessary to shift to a customer-first approach and fine-tune associates' client-facing relationship-building skills. Product and service delivery needs to improve, and the market needs to be continually monitored to guarantee that we're offering the best prices.
This strategy will work because it sets a goal (an objective) and addresses a core value of the business (customer-first approach). Then, it talks about SWOT by identifying that staff skills, product delivery, and pricing need to be improved. The tactics behind making this business strategy successful involve improving relationship-building skills and giving the customer the best product at the right price. It's certainly capable of being measured through the use of things like Net Promoter Scores and client surveys.
- Improve revenue by 50%: The goal is to increase sales by getting new products to market and pivoting from an in-person shop to include online shopping. Expanding technological capabilities and hiring a tech team will be imperative to the success of this plan. By expanding our product offerings to clients who don't have physical access to the store, we will experience a rapid increase in profitability.
This strategy's goal is apparent and extremely easy to measure. The strategist who built this plan also realizes that one of the company's weaknesses is a lack of technical personnel and it is immediately addressed. This example could technically be broken into two. One could define what the company will do to get new products to the market and the second could detail how they will address adding e-commerce capabilities.
Stay adaptable and flexible
These business strategy examples identify a course of action to improve business results surrounding a particular objective. In the end, you do have to remember that a business strategy isn't carved into stone. It's a roadmap with curves and turns that will have to be navigated along the way.
Sometimes, it must be adjusted or adapted to fit new circumstances or events. If there's one thing that's true, it's that everything changes. Often those changes are outside of your control - you can, however, control how you respond to the changes.
Are you ready for a business strategist job?
You already know about performance measurement being a skill that employers seek from new business strategists. Adaptability and flexibility are also great skills to possess. Your business strategist job is right around the corner, but your resume must show the necessary skills.
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