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How to Create and Execute an Effective Business Strategy

Steve Surdez

The best business strategies are born from close collaboration, careful planning, consistent execution, and meticulous measurement. Strong business strategies must be practical — meaning they’re realistic given budget parameters and the human and technological capital available to an organization.

Effective business plans are underpinned with key performance indicator (KPI) data, lead behavior tracking, and customer feedback. This is in addition to a deep, intimate, and highly developed understanding of your industry, market segmentation, and customers.

Built to Win, Engineered to Convert

Strong business strategy collaboration among internal teams and external partners leads to the development of a comprehensive, integrated business strategy and deployment plan grounded in metrics, propelled by content, and, most of all, tailored to your unique offering and market conditions.

A strong strategy is rooted in the construction of meticulously detailed customer personas so you know what your audience needs, when they need it, and how they want it packaged and delivered.

Developing a strong business strategy that’s tethered to buyer behavior and rolled up into larger organizational goals is critical to its success. According to Forbes:

  • 65% of organizations have a plan
  • Only 14% of employees understand that plan
  • Less than 10% of organizations that have a plan execute it successfully

Those who communicate, execute, and adjust their business strategy thrive; those who don’t fade away. It’s really that simple.

Business Strategy Development Tips

  1. Know Thyself. Before diving headfirst into the deep end, you need to stop, take a breath, and realistically assess where your business is in its lifecycle. The key word here is realistic. You and your team have to truly (and maybe harshly) take a look in the mirror to understand where you are to identify where you need to go. This is where an internal audit (conducted by your team) and an external audit (conducted by an outside third-party and including public/customer input) are critical. Combining your own perceptions and then placing them in the context of outside input will give you the most realistic and objective assessment of where your business is.
  2. Articulate Your Long-Term Aspirations. Develop a mission and vision statement to frame your long-term organizational aspirations. It’s under this umbrella of values and broader, longer-term goals that your team will operate and execute your strategy and tactical initiatives.
  3. Establish Priorities, Goals, and Your Strategy. Clearly articulate what’s important to success, the goals you want to achieve in the near term, and the strategic approach you’ll deploy to reach your stated goals. Your audit will help orient the company and guide the development and refinement of your goals and overarching business strategy.
  4. Develop a Manageable Tactical Plan. Your tactics will roll up into your strategy and goals. Your macro tactical plan needs to be carved up into smaller monthly and quarterly plans that can be more easily managed and tracked by your team. Doing one-off tactics or trying to do too much, too fast is a recipe for disaster. Be thoughtful of what your team’s capabilities are and tailor the cadence and pace of your tactical outputs to match, while also pushing your team to do more.
  5. Track, Adjust, and Own. You need the data and results tracking system in place to understand what’s working, what’s struggling, what needs to be discarded and who is accountable for successes and failures. Beautifully designed business strategies and exquisitely executed tactical plans won’t mean anything unless you know what’s worked, why its worked, and which team members contributed (or failed to contribute) to the results.
  6. Write It Down. This one is simple. You cannot just talk about a business strategy. You also cannot document it and then have it live in multiple places that are hard to find. Your strategy, goals, priorities, tactical plan, and accountability all need to live in a single document approved by your leadership and presented (and made easily accessible) to your entire team.
  7. Keep Refining. If you think you’re done after all that heavy lifting, you’d be terribly wrong. Every month, every quarter, and every year you and your leadership team need to assess, adjust, and refine your plan to acclimate to new market conditions, changes in competition, and shifts in consumer/customer behaviors. Your business strategy must be a living, ever-changing document.

It Means Nothing Without Execution

The first key to execution is understanding your team’s skill sets and capabilities. If you go too big and build a very ambitious but highly impractical plan, it will fail and kill morale. If you cannot hire a marketing agency to help, you need to build a strategy that is scaled to your current resources.

There’s nothing more demoralizing than investing time and treasure in developing a beautiful marketing plan only to see 1/10th of it get executed.

If you build a plan that fits your capacity, the second key will be easier to achieve: Consistency.

You must execute your tactics consistently to maintain your strategy’s momentum. Going strong for two months and going dark for two months will not work; the minute execution falls off, your competitors that have stayed consistent will start capturing more leads and skimming off your revenue and market share.

Finally — and this is likely the most important key of all — you need to remember quality over quantity. Your team or collaboration with a marketing partner needs to produce value-driven, compelling, and memorable content for your audience.

A business strategy can’t work these days without great, compelling content; you cannot convert or close if you can’t attract.

Illumine8 is here to help you out any time you need it. Feel free to contact us for more information. We'd love to learn more about your business and the challenges you face.

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