As it appeared in the Daily Nation on August 6th 2019
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu
Every business has some sort of strategy. In some businesses, the strategy is well recognised and understood by everyone in the business. In other businesses, the strategy is only in the mind of the business owner. Having a strategy means different things to business owners and to those in leadership. To some, having a strategy is about preparing well for the future by having in place some guiding policies that lead businesses in a certain direction. To others, a strategy is about having clear objectives for both the short and long term and being able to achieve those objectives. Yet, for others a strategy is simply the ability to survive in the marketplace. Do you have a strategy for your business? What is your business strategy?
One of the strategy masterpieces “Strategy Safari” shares the five widely referenced Ps that help us refine strategy. In the Strategy Safari, strategy is viewed as a plan or path that helps set direction, a pattern that looks at consistency in past behaviour, a position in a particular market, a perspective based on how things are done and a ploy to outwit the competitors. These descriptions make business strategy a little complex. Those in business must therefore recognize that strategy is more than an action plan or a to-do-list. For example, not all intended strategies are realized and new strategies that emerge along the way need consideration. Further, many factors play a central role in determination of the strategic direction. For example, in selecting our business strategy are we paying attention to what is happening in both the internal and external environment? Business leaders must appreciate that business strategy goes beyond a well-written plan.
Whether your business’s strategy is written on unwritten, a fundamental question is – Is the strategy helping your business survive and thrive? Most strategic decisions are vital and affect the overall welfare of a business. On one hand, an inappropriate strategy is detrimental to the survival of a business. On the other hand, the choice of a suitable strategy will lead to either business stability or transformation. Having an appropriate strategy should help a business attain sustainable change. It should also guide a business in determining what to do and what not to do. Business owners and leaders must therefore make the right choices today as they lead their businesses into an uncertain future. In addition, the staff need to have a reason to buy into the strategic direction and give the support needed in making it happen. Finally, strategy requires that resources needed are made available. What is your business strategy? Is it appropriate or inappropriate?
Business strategy must be seen to encompass all the decisions and actions that are taken in a business. Besides, business strategy must incorporate the creation of value for customers, shareholders, and the society. To do so, businesses must continually build the internal capabilities and competences necessary to determine and execute a desirable strategy. It is through making the right strategic choices that businesses create value and survive in an increasingly competitive marketplace. What is your business strategy? Does your business strategy safeguard your continued existence?
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy