Whether you’re an executive at a global enterprise or a solo consultant, creating a winning business strategy can be like assembling a Swiss Army knife: do you need this tool or that tool, some combination of tools, or all the tools? What should you include?
As a baseline, we recommend including the following three elements, which show up in most successful business strategies.
Business Strategy Key Element 1: Your Company’s Vision
Imagine traveling cross country without a big-picture view of the journey or route to your destination. While such an approach is fine if you’re traveling to “find yourself,” it’s a certain business and profitability killer.
Even so, many well-intentioned founders and small business owners travel along their entrepreneurial journeys that way. The result? Meandering. Time-consuming detours. Reacting when the tank is just about empty.
As you map your journey in your business strategy, lay out your vision or, if you’re feeling creative, quest. Beyond keeping you on your plotted path, a quest in your business strategy can also attract potential partners and top talent, people as excited about the adventure as you are.
To help focus your vision, summarize it in as few words as possible. Notable examples of succinct and effective visions include:
- TED – Spread Ideas
- Patagonia – Cause No Harm
- Sweetgreen – Healthier Communities
- Amex – Respect
Key Element 2: Your Action Plan
Translate your high-level vision into smaller objectives and actions by zooming in on key areas. In our road trip example, that would mean indicating your plans for overnight stays and sightseeing stops. Also consider your pace, or execution timeline, as you can’t travel as fast through winding mountain roads as you can on the Autobahn.
While zooming in, also keep in mind that you can’t stop everywhere. Borrowing a term from Jon Katzenbach’s book on corporate culture, focus on the critical few, or the actions that will maximize enjoyment (and profit) along the way while keeping the focus on the larger quest.
In this section, include content around the Six W’s:
- Who – in terms of plan and action ownership, as well as target audience and ideal customer profiles
- What – your objective
- Where – where the action will lead, your KPIs
- When – your actionable timeline
- Why – your value proposition
- How – the action steps
Key Element 3: Deliberate Flexibility
Finally, consider building into your business strategy room and permission to flex and grow. This element of deliberate flexibility allows you to take unforeseen turns that will make the trip more memorable, enjoyable, and, in a business sense, more profitable.
Some call this governance, a program of planned stops during which you review your map and adapt as needed based on what’s happened on the road and what you expect on the next leg of your journey.
Looking for a Business Strategy template to help structure and drive your upcoming journey? SlideShop’s 28-slide Business Strategy presentation template includes easy-to-edit slides for the elements we recommend and much more. Subscribe and start downloading here!
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