Friday, 30 March 2012

What Do I Include In A Business Strategy?

If you are at the point of developing your business strategy and would like a checklist of inclusions then this blog is for you.

You first need to articulate clearly what your business idea is and why it should be successful.

Finances are the next area to consider in full and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you expect your turnover to be in the first, second and third years? 
  • After costs what is your profitability? 
  • What are your funding investor, lender requirements? 
Profitability is key. So many businesses go to the wall despite high sales due to cost management issues.

Key personnel is the next consideration so ask yourself the following questions as well:

  • Who has the requisite qualifications and experience in the market and what is their financial status?
  • If the business is already operating what is the history of the business and its ownership?

However, the following is a full list of checklist of inclusions for developing your business strategy:
  • Customer (and potential customer) numbers, profile and mix and expected growth in use of services, products
  • Customer perceptions, needs, preferences, buying patterns, and trends (by sub-sector if necessary)
  • Products and services, mix, values and trends including unique selling point and ideas for new services and products
  • Demographic issues and trends - especially if dependent on consumer markets
  • Future regulatory and legal effects
  • Prices and values, and customer perceptions in these areas
  • Distribution and routes to market
  • Competitor activities, strengths, weaknesses, products, services, prices and sales methods
  • Intangible assets and protection - for example, copyrights and trademarks
In terms of a physical layout and structure on paper and on-screen your business strategy should have and be organised into the following sections:

  • Title, version number, author, date, company/organization if applicable, details of circulation and confidentiality
  • Contents page - sections with page numbers, plus a list of appendices, allowing the reader to find what they need and navigate the document easily and to refer others to particular items and page numbers when reviewing or querying your strategy
  • Introduction and purpose of the plan with terms of reference
  • Executive summary page - no more than a page long - what the business is, market and potential and financial returns on investment
  • The Business Strategy - split into clear sections
  • Appendices - detailed reference material, examples, statistics, spreadsheets, for reference and not central to the main presentation of your plan.
In summary your business strategy is a document which spells out how you will achieve your vision and mission (see earlier blogs for an explanation of these).

Meanwhile, other documents to develop include the following:

  • Values and ways of working - including business ethics and responsibilities wider than the business itself such as sustainability
  • SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Framed) Business Objectives
  • Operational and Programme Plans.

Let us know how you get on or if you would like to work with a business coach in developing your business strategy please get in touch via our website West of England Coaching and Counselling.

12 comments:

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  2. Finance, human resources, and marketing are the 3 key areas that you must include in your business strategy. Analyze and identify the company’s needs in every key area. Then, work on each and implement the solutions you have devised. If one fails to work, identify the areas that you need to improve on. Repeat the cycle until you find out the perfect strategy for your business.

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  4. As part of my executive coaching programs in Medford, I constantly preach to my executive-level clients that if they want to succeed it's important for them to think grassroots. Go back to the beginning, to start-up phase. Understand your product/service, your objectives, and what the end-goal is. Now, chart your path to success and create a check list that will guide you along the way. It's easy to become complacent and get comfortable, however, you will not succeed without a roadmap.

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