With each new year, many small-business owners look ahead to update their business strategy according to the current economic landscape. A business strategy is an important tool for reaching business goals and defining the ways and methods you need to take within your company. The business strategy also guides many organizational decisions, such as hiring, producing and selling.
Creating a business strategy that is in line with the vision you have for your company can take time and development, but can you summarize your business strategy in 35 words or less? If so, would your colleagues or employees put it the same way? Very few executives can simply answer “yes” to these questions.
Many leaders mistakenly assume that having tons of documentation to back their initiatives will result in automatic success. History and experience show us otherwise. Leaders who fail do not appreciate the necessity of having a simple, clear and succinct business strategy statement that helps everyone internalize and use it as a guiding light for making difficult decisions.
Having a clear vision will help you develop your strategy. And it starts by knowing where you want to take your business. A relatively simple description in a strategy statement provides a clear roadmap that could not belong to any other business. When your business strategy statement is focused, it can then be internalized by all your employees, who can easily understand how their daily activities contribute to the overall success of your business, and how to correctly make the difficult choices they confront in their jobs.
Having a business strategy can be the difference between success and failure. Here are three key areas of a business strategy to help you write one in 35 words or less. All the big companies have a clear business strategy, and they all have three elements in common: an objective, a scope and an advantage.
- Your Objective
The first element of a business strategy statement is the objective. Ask yourself this question: “Which objective is most likely to maximize the value of your business over the next several years?” Whatever your response is, that will be your starting point.
Your strategic objective should be specific, measurable and time bound. It should also be a single goal. Your objective has a profound impact on your business. Decide which matters more, growth or profitability. Be selective about your objective because it will determine your approach to how your business will behave to achieve your objective.
- Your Scope
Your scope should encompass three key dimensions:
- Your customer offering,
- Your geographic location, and
- How it will be done.
Clearly defined boundaries in those areas should make it obvious to managers which activities they should concentrate on and, more importantly, which they should not do.
The scope does not describe exactly what should be done within the boundaries you created but, instead, it encourages experimentation and initiative across your business. This will help you prevent unnecessary, costly decisions made by your managers because your scope should always align with your objective.
- Your Advantage:
Your advantage is the essence of your strategy. It is what makes your business distinctive from the others and helps your employees understand how they can contribute to the successful execution of your strategy. This will require looking at two elements in your business: your value proposition and unique activities that allow you to deliver on your value proposition.
Your value proposition: Any strategy statement that cannot explain why customers should buy your product or service is doomed to failure. What value do you provide your customers?
Unique activities that deliver your value proposition: This is where you make choices to configure your business to deliver on that promise to your customer. Take a moment to research your competitors’ offerings and compare them to yours. Are you delivering on the needs of your customer beyond what your competitors can do? Do you have the capability to exceed those expectations?
This is an opportunity to look at how you deliver your services and become clear about what works in your business.
Here is an example of a 35-word business strategy statement: Window Cleaning Pros, LLC aims to grow to 500 window cleaning professionals in 2022 by offering trusted and convenient window cleaning services to commercial building managers who need reliable specialists by booking an appointment online.
A 35-word statement can have a substantial impact on the success of your small business. Words do lead to action, so choose wisely. Spending time to develop the few words that truly capture your strategy and that will energize and empower your team will raise the long-term financial performance of your business for years to come.
EDGAR RAFAEL OLIVO is a bilingual business educator, economic advisor and contributor for several media outlets. He’s a nonprofit executive who is passionate about education. He is certified in finance and data analytics and holds a business degree from Arizona State University.
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