People, politics, economy, technology… Your business’s journey can be affected by numerous external – as well as internal – factors.
Developing and maintaining a business strategy will help you to survive tough times, adapt your plans when necessary, and keep your customers happy and your team motivated.
But what makes a good business strategy? According to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), a good business strategy should be:
And to achieve success, you may need to have several strategies running concurrently.
So, here are 20 business strategy ideas you can mix and match to achieve your goals.
1. Prioritising customer retention. By investigating what customers do (and don’t) like about your products, you can market to them more successfully. Focus on giving each customer a positive experience. Then reward their loyalty, perhaps through referral schemes, gifts, or discounts, to make sure they recommend you to their friends and keep coming back for more.
2. Scaling up (sensibly). Developing your business by expanding into new markets is a sure-fire way to increase revenue. Or is it? Before pushing forward into a new market, always thoroughly research which areas are likely to yield the best results. A well-thought-out scaling-up strategy will allow you to grow your business safely and avoid unnecessary risks.
3. Embracing new technology. Streamline operations, reach new customers, increase productivity… New technology adopters can reap rich rewards. Research the most suitable areas for investment to ensure your money will be well spent. Then back up your investment with training on how to integrate the new tools into the workplace.
4. Being a low-cost leader. If your business needs to capture a low-cost product market, high-level streamlining is one way to maintain your margins. Competing with bigger rivals who can afford loss-leading pricing policies isn’t easy, so a low-cost business strategy needs to be agile to encompass clever new ways to stay competitive.
5. Brand building. Make sure your name is on your customers’ lips: use brand building expertise to grow your company or product name and keep feeding your target market with regular visuals and messaging.
6. Collaborating. Although numerous meetings can be counterproductive, time spent with staff members can be a great opportunity to identify new ways to streamline or develop the business. Taking on their ideas will also help to ensure team members feel valued, which should in turn boost staff retention rates.
7. Differentiating. If your USP is very different from others in the industry, focus on highlighting that fact and using it to stand out from the crowd. Be ready too to deal with copycats to ensure you can maintain your differentiator or find a new niche if that becomes impossible.
8. Marketing. Small businesses can find it hard to see value in a substantial marketing budget, especially when finances are tight. But a clever and focused marketing strategy should prove value for money, whether that’s by concentrating on improving your website’s SEO or by building up a customer email base for newsletters.
9. Targeting specific audiences. By gaining an understanding of your potential customers, you can target specific audiences to improve sales and make better strategic decisions. Competitor analysis, meanwhile, will demonstrate how these audiences are being targeted by other rival companies.
10. KPI monitoring. By monitoring your key performance indicators (KPIs) and developing your business accordingly, you can keep these measurables at the heart of your decision making. And regularly evaluating the results will ensure that you are focusing on the right areas.