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16 questions to see if you have a winning strategy

The book “Business Execution for RESULTS” written by RESULTS.com’s Stephen Lynch was named Winner in the “Management” category of the USA’s 2014 Small Business Book Awards.

This blog from Sackmans Accountants in North London is based on his thinking and includes some questions to ensure you have a winning strategy. But, the first question is does your company have a strategy?

Many companies claim to have a strategy, but some end up producing a meaningless exercise in financial goal setting.

We all want to grow, but growth is not a strategy. We all want to be more efficient, but efficiency is not a strategy. We all want to continuously improve, but improvement is not a strategy. Strategy is not about being better than your competitors either. The truth is that bigger, better, faster, is not a strategy!

Strategy is really the process of establishing a meaningful point of difference in your industry that you can preserve. Nothing lasts forever of course, so we need to keep innovating.

Saying “no” is the essence of strategy because you cannot be everything to everybody.  You need to make clear cut choices about how you will compete in the future. When you have done this you can then allocate your time and resources accordingly.

The key is to balance short-term needs with long term wants. Short-term strategy is about “improving what is” and long-term about “creating what will be”.

So, here are 17 questions to consider:

Q1   – What is your vision for the future? (your compelling long-term goal).

Q2   – What competitive forces will determine how your industry is likely to play out in the coming years (competitors, new entrants, substitute offerings, suppliers, customers) – and what moves do you need to make to address the trends in these areas?

Q3   – What forces will impact your business environment (political, economic, social, technology) – and what moves do you need to make to address the trends in these areas?

Q4   – What geographic areas do you plan to serve, and how will you access those locations?

Q5   – Who is the ideal target market customer for your brand?

Q6   – What is your target customer trying to achieve, and how will you address this need (now and in the future)?

Q7   – What core activities will you perform (now and in the future)?

Q8   – What non-core activities will you stop doing?

Q9   – How will you strategically position your brand in the marketplace?

Q10 -What benefits will you offer?

Q11 - What blunt overt promise will compel your customers to take action?

Q12 – What key strategic moves do you need to make within the next 3-5 years to position your firm for future industry success?

Q13 – What goals and milestones will measure your success along the way?

Q14 – What is the current reality that you must deal with?

Q15 – What projects will you implement in the coming quarter to address your current reality and/or move your business in your chosen strategic direction?

Q16 – What Key Performance Indicators will track and drive the success of your current business model?

The questions help with Strategic Planning which should be an ongoing process, not an annual event or worse something done every 3-5 years!

Highly effective companies update their strategic plan every 90 days. This ensures it is relevant to the technology development and competitive environment.

If you’d like help I can set you up on LivePlan and set up a planning session.