In my strategic planning work with small and mid-market B2B companies, I often see management teams struggling with the key concepts of business strategy and strategic thinking during the development of a strategic plan. Operational thinking is often prevalent. The term ‘strategy’ is often used rather loosely for anything that involves some kind of planning, whether it’s truly strategic in nature or not.
In this post, I’ll try to provide some clarification. Let’s take a look at the essence of strategy and strategic thinking, its characteristics, and how it’s different from tactical or operational thinking.
Key Characteristics of Business Strategy
Take the Initiative
No organization, not even a Fortune 500 company, has the unlimited resources to go after each and every opportunity that looks attractive. In particular, small business needs to be smart about how and where to deploy their limited resources to achieve growth. They can’t afford to waste time and money.
A good business strategy involves focusing on specific markets, the specific products and services to sell, and deploying distinctive sales and marketing activities. Resisting the temptation to go after every ‘shiny object’ is a key element of strategic focus.
It is just as important to decide when to say “No” to an opportunity as it is when to say “Yes”, perhaps even more so. Pursuing too many opportunities leads to dilution of management’s attention and company resources, increasing the risk that none of the goals will be achieved.