Business Strategy Development
The development of business strategies doesn’t have to be a long-term, labor- or staff-intensive process that results in a plan that sits on a shelf gathering dust. Business strategies can be developed very efficiently by following a standard process focusing on the development of goals, objectives, strategies and tactics based on factual data.
The first step in the development of any business strategy is the determination of the goal, its desired endpoint. The goal sets the stage for the development of measures and specific actions that the company takes to achieve these goals. So, for instance, the goal might be to “increase market share” or to “improve customer satisfaction.”
Once a goal has been established and the planning team knows what to do, information needs to be gathered so that the decisions are based on solid facts and data. The situation analysis involves a review of information internal to the organization (about employees, sales, customers) as well as external information (about competitors, the industry, the economic climate).
A SWOT analysis is a brainstorming process used by strategic planning teams to identify the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, which are internal; and opportunities and threats, which are external. Based on the data gathered during the situation analysis and by brainstorming and priorizing these items, the team gets a better sense of the most important areas to focus on.
Objectives are the measurable element of a strategy. Objectives indicate, specifically, what outcomes are desired. While goals set a broad direction (“increase market share”), objectives will provide the detail that ensures the team knows when it achieves success, says Linda Pophal, a strategic planning consultant with Strategic Communications. An objective related to “increase market share” might be: “Grow market share in XYZ city by 25 percent among women age 25-55 by the end of the year.” That’s an objective that the entire team can agree upon.
Strategies and Tactics
Strategies and tactics indicate how and what a company will do to achieve its goals and objectives. Strategies provide general guidance, such as “engage in social media activities,” while tactics outline specific tasks that will be done, such as “set up Facebook fan page, set up Twitter account.” Ultimately all of the strategies and tactics work together for planning success.