Written by: David L. Lantz, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
A business strategy is a set of decisions and actions that result in the formulation and implementation of plans designed to achieve a company’s future objectives. Easy to suggest, but not necessarily easy to do. Frankly, there is never just one good strategy to follow. The key to creating a successful business lies in first evaluating your business’ DISC profile. Now, you may have read about the DISC profile as applied to individuals.
Today, I’d like to focus on the four pillars of your business DISC profile and why you must first understand them if you are to create a successful business strategy. These four pillars are:
Determine your business value proposition.
Identify your business goals.
Set your distinctive business competitive competency.
Craft your business marketing focus.
1. Determine Your Business Value Proposition
In Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the late author Steven Covey’s second habit is to “begin with the end in mind.” What are the objectives you have for your business? “I want to make a lot of money” is fine but lacks any details about the things you need to decide, actions you need to take, and routine business operating procedures you need to establish in order to achieve your objectives.
In the sales world, there is something called FABS – features, advantages, benefits. In order to build a business strategy, you need to understand what business you are really in, and why people buy from you. Knowing this, you can create your marketing message which says to the buying public: “This is our value proposition.”
A value proposition tells customers what they get from you, and why it’s important for them to get it from you. Profitability and economic value is determined by establishing a unique value proposition. What is your value proposition? Only after you have determined your value proposition will you be ready to develop your business strategy.
2. Identify Your Business Goals
What are your business goals? These can be almost anything but should refer back to your value proposition and your business strategy. Goals are attainable benchmarks that allow you to measure how well you are doing.
For example, some pizza delivery companies have a goal of delivering a pizza within 30 minutes of placing the order. What percent of orders are delivered in 30 minutes or less? That’s a measurable goal. Or, let’s say that you have a goal of keeping your prices 10 percent less than the number one company in your market. That, too, is a measurable goal. The key is to set goals that are quantifiable and can be compared to your competition.
Finally, once you have determined your goals, you must establish a set of policies and procedures – the “how tos” – of getting the day-to-day work done. Do these procedures make sense? Are they clearly understood by your employees? Are they easy to do, or does it take a lot of time (and therefore, cost) to follow the procedures? The clearer, more efficient, and easier these procedures are to follow, the more profitable your business will be.
3. Set Your Distinctive Business Competitive Competency
Once you have determined the answers to these questions, you next need to decide how you will compete.
Think of a basketball team. Will you compete by focusing on the “fast break?” Will you focus on a “half-court offense” strategy? Will you focus on having a defense that causes turnovers and score “in transition” off the energy of your defense? In sports, different teams are known for certain aspects of the game they play. In the same way, YOU must decide what aspect of your business you will be known for. Here are the three major factors on which customers base their buying decisions.
The first thing people base their purchase decision on is the product or service itself. People who focus on the product and what it does conclude that it is better to pay more for something that does what they need it to do than to pay a lower price for something that is, well, junk.
The second is price. Typically, people focusing on price want the highest value for the least cost. If your prices are higher than the competition’s, and you have not communicated the value your product brings to justify your price, you run the risk of losing to the competition. This is because, in the absence of a quantifiable value proposition, a customer will default to purchasing the product or service with the lowest price.
The third factor to focus on to build a competitive business strategy is how you serve the customer and stand behind your product/service after the sale. Customers who value this want to be sure that if they have a question about how to use the product/service or need to make a warranty claim, they WILL get an answer.
Choose wisely when deciding these things; poor judgment at this stage of your business design will lead to poor business performance later. Finally, keep in mind that in making these decisions, you are also deciding what NOT to do. This is important, as there will always be things in the marketplace that will tempt you to lose focus and not do things that lead to success.
4. Craft Your Business Marketing Focus
Once you decide how you will compete, you must next decide what your marketing focus will be. For example, perhaps your focus is on anyone in a certain geographic area. If you sell hotdogs outside a football stadium, your geographical reach will be very limited, and you will sell to anyone who walks up to buy a hot dog from you. If you sell e-books through Amazon’s Kindle platform, your geographic reach is global. In that case, you may be looking to market to specific types of buyers who are interested in the type of book you write. In this case, you will want to sell to anyone on the planet who is part of a specific marketing niche you have targeted.
We’ve brought up a series of very important questions that you need to answer. Will you market your product or service as a complement to something else, or as a stand-alone item? You must know who your customers are, where they are, and how they come to find out about you. To see how I’ve developed these ideas further, take a moment to check out this preview lesson from my course, Creating Your Business Strategy.
David L Lantz, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
David Lantz is a leader in the field of online instruction. He was awarded a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public & Environmental Affairs in 1981 and served as their Alumni President from 1990-1991. In 2005, he was named Faculty of the Year by the first graduating class of the University of Phoenix’s Indianapolis, Indiana campus. Having taught both face-to-face and online classes since 2003, he received the distinction of Advanced Online Instructor/Facilitator from the University of Phoenix in 2012. Since 2011, he has been creating online courses in the fields of entrepreneurship and online instruction. A self-published author, he has authored both fiction and non-fiction books, which can be found on Amazon.com. His mission can be summarized in the proverb: “The wise man makes knowledge acceptable.” To learn more about David, visit his website at www.wisejargon.com.