How do you beat a competitor who’s a hundred times faster, more agile, and leaves you standing in the dust?
Remember the story about the Tortoise and the Hare?
The Hare had it all… speed, agility, and quick off the mark… but he lost! In contrast, the Tortoise was painfully slow and heavy… but he won. Why?
The Hare lost everything to a better strategy.
It’s too easy to be like the Hare. You know what it’s like… Feeling like you’re racing around, but just putting out fires. Or stuck on the start line with all this speed… but just spinning your wheels.
Running faster doesn’t get us past all the smoke and dust, but strategy does. It’s clear. In business, you don’t have to out-run the Hare… you just have to out-think him.
Avoiding the Tactics Lolly Shop
Without a decent business strategy it’s a long road, and dam hard work! Without strategy, every ‘new tactic’ will look great – but you’ll lack cohesive direction. And without a decent business strategy behind those tactics, you’re in danger of opening doors for your competitors… or worse.
So what’s business strategy really, and why should you use it? Think of your business like a giant jig-saw puzzle… ‘Strategy’ is like the BIG picture on the box, and ‘Tactics’ are like all the LITTLE pieces that make up the big picture. So when you know the big picture strategy, then you can put each small piece in the ‘right place’ – and each piece supports the whole.
In the same way; each business has lots of inter-connecting pieces; eg. sales, profit, leadership, customers, your offering, etc – and all have to fit together perfectly. If you’re missing a piece then no amount of hard work’s going to complete the puzzle… And each of these inter-connecting pieces has it’s own strategy, and tactics that support the BIG picture strategy.
Business Strategy Maps Your Puzzle
It determines the tactics required, how they should be used, and it ultimately determines your return and business value. It’s like a Super-Glue, focusing all your actions in one coherent direction, clarifying which tactics to use, why, and how best to implement.
It supports, rather than weakens your business.
So when you feel like you’re ‘herding cats’, or ‘banging your head against a brick wall’ – then you’re missing some business strategy. And the longer you wait, the greater your cost in money and opportunity loss. In short, business strategy can turn an average business into a great one.
Quick-Start Business Strategy Formula
- First start by defining your overall business strategy. Who are your customers, what’s the problem you’re solving, what’s in it for them, and why is it important to them right now?
- Then, what’s your unique benefit from your customer’s perspective. What’s the perception you want to convey? How you want your business to run; what model (service, price or quality etc).
- Now take those answers and start reverse engineering your overall business strategy. Match your customer’s wants with what you have, in a way that is meaningful to them. Then break it all down into mini business strategies for; sales, profit, customer attraction, etc.
- Now check, test and review. Make sure all areas are congruent. Do they all fit with your overall business strategy? Adjust and fix anything that’s out of whack. Why? Because they’re your missing puzzle pieces, the ones’ working against you!
So about now you’re thinking… “This sounds like too much work, you don’t have the time or you can’t afford it”. Well, that’s a perception… and the truth is often the exact opposite!
Let’s explore deeper. 1) You’re already doing the work; 2) you’re already investing your time and money; 3) but probably under a business strategy that’s not serving you as well – one that’s costing you money to keep.
It’s just a mind shift. And once you shift your mindset, it’s easy to shift your customer’s… then your whole game changes.
No Business Strategy? …that’s Bad Strategy
Let’s face it, either way there’s always a cost… you just have to decide on which cost you want! You can either invest in strategy, or you pay for not having one.
You can either invest a little in some business strategy, or pay a lot for not having it. Some strategies require little or no cost, or you can just refine your current methods.
The answers have changed, the old rules are out of date… and all bets are off. If you’re not using strategy in your business today, you’re going to lose to a competitor who is.
And in today’s world, your competitors’ are not just your industry… but any business chasing disposable income.
Example: Increase Sales While Maintaining Prices
Let’s take a fast food promotion…
The Business Strategy; create desire by running a children’s ‘Model Characters’ promotion. “Exclusive characters can be purchased for $x with any of our delicious children’s meals. There’s twelve fun characters for you to collect, and you get to choose a new one each time you come back”.
That strategy increases sales, maintains prices, attracts customers, builds return business, and the children sell the idea to their parents – continually!
Now, it would be too easy to just offer a cheaper price special. But that would ignore your overall business strategy, reduce profits, and train customers into discounting. If your business strategy was a ‘discounting model’, then it would be congruent.
Case Study: Increase Prices against Discounting Competitors
This particular customer wanted to increase their price whilst selling against similar products being discounted by competitors. We took the company and product image, identified all the customer touch points from marketing to sales, service, to follow through. Then we designed an overall business strategy to create the desired message.
Mini business strategies were then created for all customer touch-points. Eg. ‘Sales'; first contact, appointment (uncovering hidden wants, objections, criteria, etc), quoting, presentation and sale, follow-ups, etc.
The outcome? Their sales people now not only close sales at higher prices, but also out-sell their discounting competitors. The company has better tools, techniques and strategies, better customer advocates, and better profits.
So, if you’re tired of spinning your wheels and fire-fighting, then it’s time to shift into top gear by following better business strategies. Otherwise, it’s a good bet you’re taking that long, hard road ending in a place where you would rather not be.
Business strategy can turn a good business into a great one…
Investing quality time and thought in your business strategy will certainly pay-off. Remember, you’ll want to leverage your unique strengths in a way that sets you apart in your marketplace. Do it in a way that makes it hard to copy.
Good business strategies usually slip in under the radar; they’re unseen. And when your business strategies are unseen – they can take years for competitors to figure out!
The Real Magic is in What's Behind these Strategies... How thoughts, beliefs and perceptions are guided... and what's needed for the customer to sell themselves. Seeing your business from a different perspective, how its' all put together, how it builds on itself, and how it is all rolled out... You can get the secrets here