Let’s assume you have an idea for the next transformational entrepreneurial business. You’ve shared your idea with everyone you trust, and their feedback has confirmed that you’ve come up with “the next big thing”. The “academics” you’ve spoken to keep emphasizing the need for you to develop things like a “value proposition”, “strategic plan”, “business plan”, and “prospectus”. Not only do you not know what any of these things are, taking the time to learn about and develop these documents could severely compromise your ability to take advantage of the opportunity that exists for your great idea. So, do you listen to the naysayers, or do you “strike while the iron is hot”? I’m sure you can list any number of successful businesses that seem to have succeeded “overnight”. They probably didn’t delay launching their ventures, so why should you?
To answer the question of whether strategy is necessary to succeed in business, let me walk you through a hypothetical scenario. You’re the parent of a child in 1st grade. Her school just called to inform you that your child fell off the jungle gym on the playground, and may have broken her arm. You drop everything, and race to the school to pick up your daughter. After picking up your daughter, you arrive at the emergency room of the nearest hospital. You’ve never been to this hospital before, and the first person who greets you when you walk in the door is a maintenance person mopping the floor. They see the distraught look on your face, the tears streaming down your daughter’s face, and drop their mop to come help you. They usher you into the nearest open room, then ask you what happened to your daughter. You tell them she fell at school and hurt her arm, so the maintenance person examines your daughter’s arm, then recommends a children’s aspirin and a good night’s sleep. You’re relieved that your daughter’s been treated, are pleasantly surprised at how responsive the maintenance person was when you arrived at the hospital, and as a result of your excellent experience plan to come back to this hospital if anything ever happens again that requires medical treatment.
How ridiculous does the hypothetical situation I just described sound? When you go to a hospital you have certain expectations. You expect that they’ll know who you are, and why you’re there. You’ll expect to be greeted by a receptionist, who’ll ask to find out if you’re a returning patient (so they can access your medical history from the medical records department), or a new patient (so they can request a copy of your medical history from your primary physician). You’ll then expect to be triaged by a registered nurse, so a determination can be made of what medical treatment is necessary (based on the fact that your daughter fell and hurt her arm, the nurse is more than likely going to recommend that an x-ray be performed, to verify the extent of the injury). You’ll then expect to see a doctor, who’ll evaluate the next course of action (based on the results of the x-ray). The medical strategy I’ve just described, maximizes the probability of a successful patient outcome. If strategy implementation leads to success in the medical profession, why wouldn’t it lead to success in your profession?
Now that you understand the correlation between strategy implementation and business success, how do you customize a success strategy for your unique business idea? The first thing you want to do is answer the following three questions:
1. Who is your customer? If you can’t identify and describe who your customer is, then you don’t know who you are seeking to serve and you can’t appreciate their needs.
2. Why does your customer keep coming back to you? By understanding the value you provide to your customers, you now have an opportunity to improve on that value.
3. What do you do for your customers better than anyone else? Knowing this allows you to build upon that strength, thereby improving your ability to distance yourself from competition.
Knowing the answers to the above three questions now allows you to develop a successful strategy that accomplishes the following:
1. It establishes a clear, concise, strategically sound direction for your organization (you explain how this will be achieved through detailed action plans).
2. It establishes priorities and allocates resources to your strategic initiatives, thus allowing you to achieve your desired results.
3. It defines clear lines of accountability and timelines for achieving your expected results on your strategic initiatives.
4. It increases the alignment of all organizational activities by enhancing communication, and fosters commitment at all levels.
5. It becomes your daily plan to get things done, and your guide to make progress towards achieving your long-term goals.
So, to answer the question of whether strategy is necessary to succeed in business, the answer is a definitive yes! And in the words of the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tsu, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
If you found this article helpful, please share it with other entrepreneurs in your network. If you have questions about anything in this article, or would like my insight on a question about any aspect of the entrepreneurial process, please connect with me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent/), or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent/). I also believe that 50% of entrepreneurs fail within 5 years, because they lack the resources to properly execute their vision. Leveraging what I’ve learned over a 40+ year successful entrepreneurial career, I’ve developed a methodology to help entrepreneurs build their unique customized strategy for responsibly scaling exponential business growth. To gain access to my 7-week online course, collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs through the exclusive “Think Big” Facebook group, regularly communicate with me, and gain access to my extensive professional network, connect with me on my course page (www.thinkbigwithgeoffreykent.com/).