How To Create A Powerful Business Strategy

by Andrew Bull

by Andrew Bull

founder of Bright Arts Agency

Strategy is more than a buzzword. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot, but most people don’t know the difference between a real strategy and a list of good intentions that won’t get them anywhere.

Well today, I’m going to teach you how to think strategically.

Why do you need a strategy?

Well, if you’re not thinking strategically, you’re going to be wasting time going round in circles, completing random tasks and failing to make progress.

And you want to make progress, right?

If you’ve got a proper strategy in place, you’ll be working through a list of coherent actions that move you forwards. You’ll make real, tangible progress and have a better chance of achieving your dreams.

Does that sound good?

Now there’s no need to worry. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by strategic concepts and believe that only professors at Harvard and Oxford can learn them. But with a little effort and practice, you can become a strategic mastermind.

Okay, let’s begin.

What a real business strategy looks like

A strategy can be broken down into five parts; when you’re designing yours, make sure you work through them in this order:

1. Goals

What would you like to achieve in the long term?

Here are some examples:

To become the dominant Fintech player in our niche.
Open a branch of our shop on every major high street.
To have our blog read by 100,000 people a month.
Goals are helpful as they give us something to aim for and keep us motivated. But while it’s good to have the finish-line in mind, to survive in the short to medium term, you’re going to have to focus on nearby objectives; we’ll come back to those later.

Now we’re going to look at your immediate situation…

2. SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS

 Or simply put, what’s going on here?

What would you like to achieve in the long term?

Here are some examples:

  • To become the dominant Fintech player in our niche.
  • Open a branch of our shop on every major high street.
  • To have our blog read by 100,000 people a month.


Goals are helpful as they give us something to aim for and keep us motivated. But while it’s good to have the finish-line in mind, to survive in the short to medium term, you’re going to have to focus on nearby objectives; we’ll come back to those later.

Now we’re going to look at your immediate situation…

3. GUIDING POLICY

The analysis diagnoses the challenge, the guiding policy describes the treatment.

You should be able to explain your treatment/approach in a short paragraph or even a sentence. 10-page management reports are not needed!

For example:

  • We’ll reach out to the investment community on sites like Kickstarter and offer product giveaways instead of equity.
  • We’ll offer customers a range of unique packages so that we don’t have to compete on price.
  • We’ll put together a live events programme and engage with people in the local community.

4. PROXIMATE OBJECTIVES

Earlier we spoke about long-term goals. Proximate objectives are short-term achievable milestones that fit perfectly within the approach outlined in your guiding policy.

These are targets you can reach in a reasonable timeframe; typically it should take 1-6 months to achieve a proximate objective. Anything shorter is probably an action, and anything longer should be considered a goal and broken down into additional objectives.

Examples:

  • Get our Kickstarter campaign live by the end of next month.
  • Increase sales by 10% over the next quarter.
  • Write ten blog posts that rank highly for keyword traffic and increase organic traffic by 200%.

5. COHERENT ACTIONS

These are small, specific actions that, together, achieve your proximate objectives.

Given the following objective:

  • Get our Kickstarter campaign live by the end of next month

We could create these actions:

  • Decide how much capital we need to raise and when by.
  • Decide on the different investor packages we are going to offer.
  • Design the Kickstarter page.
  • Design a marketing campaign to get traffic to the page.
  • Assign roles and tasks.
  • Work out how we are going to measure the results.
  • Set campaign benchmarks and record progress.
  • Decide what benchmarks are going to trigger a pivot.

Imagine trying to create this list of clear and coherent actions without a top-level strategy?

It wouldn’t happen.

It's time to think strategically

If you take the time to learn and practise what I’ve shared with you here, it will focus your efforts where they’re most needed and save you lots of time and money.

The choice you’ve got is simple:

Think strategically, make coherent decisions and move with purpose toward your bigger goals.

or

Run around like a mad person trying to get your business off the ground by doing 20 different things that don’t make sense and that don’t move you forward.

I hope this post has changed your thinking and that you’ll start to think strategically.

Andrew.

Andrew Bull

Andrew Bull

I'm the founder of Bright Arts — a Marketing Agency that helps brands tell better stories about what they do — so they get found and get the business they need!

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