The Strategic ElementsSMEs more often than not will only put together a strategy document when the bank asks for a business plan. Big companies are more likely to have a process for the top team but it seldom trickles down effectively to the front line. Strategy can be commonsense if the right perspective is maintained and periodic reviews are made. It is my aim with these blog articles to take this approach and when appropriate bring in some academic models to make this easier, after all I do have an MBA!

So back to the commonsense bit, I am a great believer in Market forces and over the long term the customer rules. So what do they want and what are they buying? Do your products fit their needs and how do you increase your value to them? Of course, the market never stands still; the trouble is that it is usually incremental changes that take place slowly over time which means we miss much of what is going on unless we have regular reviews. Regular does not mean frequent but there does need to be a review probably on an annual basis and separate from any budget process as these tend to be inward facing. Strategy is not just about your customers and prospective sales but also at what your competitors and suppliers are doing.

The rate of change had never been faster and it is covering every area of our lives. Technology is perhaps the main driver. New sectors are appearing all the time, look at how the iPhone has transformed the landscape in only a few short years. So do keep an ear open for what your customers, competitors and suppliers are talking about. Like most things in business don’t wait for inspiration, give it a helping hand and examine your strategic planning process. Here is a quick assessment tool to help (also on the Tips, Templates and Videos page). As always, give me a call if you want to talk this through.

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