Your idea is fabulous and you want to make progress on it but you need a strategy to execute your vision as it relates to long-term success or it needs to be reevaluated to ensure that it is on course. Strategy is, “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time,” per Merriam-Webster dictionary. However, we need a functional definition as it relates to your companies vision and goals. Therefore, I would say that strategy is, “the intent to act, the volition to act, and the design to achieve plans of action as they relate to the direction and future of your business.” Strategy development is a long-term process that is evolutionary and it should be evaluated yearly, quarterly, and more if conditions warrant a strategy session.
We will evaluate briefly the ten major areas of strategy creation as they relate to you achieving your goal. These ten areas will be listed and broken down to help you evaluate and reevaluate your current position in strategy design. They will be listed logically as they relate to an idea in your head and build upon that. In addition, the creation of a strategy is not a single day event. It takes time to gather what you know is needed and what you find is needed once you begin. We begin at the beginning. You should at this point have a vision and goals developed to help guide your organization in fulfilling its purpose.
Your product or service is what you offer the world to add value to the lives of others. This can be either qualitative or quantitative but you should be aware at this point. Ask these questions and others that help define this category well.
- What product or service do we sell or plan to sell?
- What does it look like?
- What is the outcome of its use?
- How do we update our products/ service to stay competitive?
For instance as a consultant my product/service is the ability to improve my clients condition based on over a decade of experience helping organizations professionally. This relates to you because you have to list your products and services that are offered in there fine detail. They must but listed in a way to allow rapid access to the information for future needs as the strategy secession progress.
You have to serve by helping customers or clients in some way. Your invention, technology, pastry, picture, music or designs have to connect with others. Asking ourselves a few questions clarifies that for future understanding.
- Who is buying our product or service?
- What organizations are buying our service?
- Who uses it regularly?
- How do we expand the diversity of the group?
Your target customer is the person you have identified as the one who is most likely to purchase your products, according to Entrepreneur.com. This is a specific person, who is elated to use your product/service when needed or desired. Be very narrow in your description here, as it will provide clarity. Examples would include specific age, specific education, and specific income. These identifiers are so spot-on that a picture could be painted of the individual without negating the various individualities of who uses your service.
This is an expansion of the above and is a broader category of client or customer base. This will be larger demographics through a range and not specific. Each product or service may cater to different aspects of the market served and they should be listed in conjunction with your product/service. Target market should also list the reason why these specific customers are likely to buy. In addition, this information will help in creating a primary component of your marketing plan.
Technology is how you use information to create and maintain a competitive advantage. The planning associated with this is a tie in for numerous other aspects of your organizations success. Technology is used in commerce, in design, and much more. Your organization marketing will also take into account the use of technology to deliver your value proposition.
- How is technology changing that we can grasp early?
- What changes in technology make it more affordable to deliver our goods?
Use technology as a multiplier of your organizations success. Evaluate what you have been using and determine if it needs to be upgraded, eliminated, or in line with current competitors use.
Creating knowledge, a teddy bear, a balloon, a house all have production element that deals with methodologies useful to arriving at a final product.
- How will we create our product?
- How will we produce the intellectual capital for our services?
- What needs to change to produce of product/service faster?
- What needs to change to produce our product/service less expensively?
Evaluating production on a constant basis ensures costs are controlled, quality is maintained, and your customers/clients are happy. I would remind you that, quality in gets quality out. This has been how Apple, Inc has maintained lead over its competitors. Production can be done with a planned ramp up to the best quality. Plan to find the most expensive means of production first, then scale it back your companies’ production budget.
The ability to create tangible or intangible goods and services are always acquired in there rawest form. Whether it is raw intellect, precise hands, or machines, they will need to be accounted for. A few examples to ask of the executive leadership team deal with the following questions:
- What is our companies’ raw material needs to produce goods or services?
- Who is needed to create the value in our goods or services?
- What automated systems can create this value?
This subset deals with elements that are inputs to production and delivery. This group must be managed to ensure it is efficient, effective, and motivated. In addition, the natural resources have to be measured per there influence to the environment and there frequency of price change.
Methods of Sale
This can be an extensive list of varying options but they will deal with financing on store credit (Macy’s Credit, Home Depot, Dillard’s, etc.), third-party credit (American Express, Visa, MasterCard, etc.), cash or other arrangements. Cash will be king but credit cards speed up payments. Ensure you have both options.
- What impact does our method of sales have on future profits/returns?
- How will we accept payment?
- What needs to change in the future to increase revenue from sales?
Ensuring that this subset is managed well will provide the resources, data, and fuel to innovate internally with information based on the organizations initiatives.
Method of Distribution
Moving goods from manufacture, to warehousing, storage, and in store handling, etc. is a sophisticated dance of timing.
- How will the product/service be delivered through manufacturing, shipping, retail options, shipping again, and varying other combinations?
- What are retail distribution options?
These questions ask a lot out of a leader but being stretched is why you are here. “How will item p get to y and both be happy?” This is a measure of logistic sophistication and there can be multiple routes. The best choice is better than the perfect choice. There should always be a balance between quality and cost. Erring on the side of higher cost to ensure quality is delivered.
This micro strategy subset deals with using past data of the size and speed of growth of your organization and comparing it to where you would like to go.
- What is our target in growth?
- Have we prepared for a boom in our business?
- How will we know we are on the right path?
These question deals with the future as well as benchmarking the present state. Thru analysis of vital KPI’s we would compare your organization to your peers so we can ensure that your leadership is thinking of growth.
What is the most useful size?
This deals with people, facilities, customer base served by projection, and more.
This is where all the hard work pays off for shareholders in for profit organizations; in addition to where nonprofits determine where they can return more to the individuals that are served.
- Where do we reinvest the profits?
- What expansions can be completed now?
- What needs to be saved?
The likely outcome of a for-profit venture is a profit if you plan for success and are vigilant in guarding and executing your plans. In addition, non-profits can benefit from strategy planning to enable an orderly creation of the means to return funds, goods, services, etc to the recipients.
Strategy design is a real worldview of the future of your organization. It provides planning and tactics to the board of directors, executives, management, and other associates. These questions are designed to increase your understanding of your organizations direction and actions to take to accomplish that. Remarkable, what can simply be listed, but the task does not end at creating a list, Alan Wise says, “Strategy doesn’t fail in creation, it fails in implementation,” and we will cover that in future white papers. In addition, each section of the strategy design is an overview of what will be much more information intensive reports. These subsections are created by individual leaders.