Why do we build? As humans, we plan, create, and build to push the limits of what is possible. A great building structure requires a solid foundation upon which to build, as a solid foundation acts as the keystone to any future success. Not surprisingly, building a strong foundation also requires the right tools and strategic planning to develop a structure that can withstand the storms and pass the test of time.
However, strong foundations do not just apply to buildings. They also apply to strategic business planning. Just as a structure needs a strong foundation to build upon, companies need a clear strategy as the foundation to build their future. The right strategic plan adds value. It creates a base upon which everything else functions and grows.
Understand the Basics
The foundation of any great strategy starts with a basic plan. This plan acts as the initial groundwork to a company’s strategic roadmap. While every strategy is slightly different, there are some common approaches to basic strategic development, depending on the express goals of the organization:
- Plain strategy – a strategy built to achieve an end goal or result by drawing on resources available and outlining them in such as way as to create a business advantage.
- Corporate strategy – a strategy which focuses on a company’s mission statement and becomes the primary driving force of what the business will become.
- Competitive strategy – a strategy that looks at competitors and builds a plan of action to outperform competitors.
While each of these basic strategies has its strengths, companies that focus on only one aspect of strategy limit their ability to remain fluid and to plan for all aspects of a competitive market. A comprehensive strategy requires the consideration of all three common strategic structures – an overall vision, end goals, and competitive factors. Businesses that fail to embrace a multi-level, cross-strategy approach cripple themselves and miss out on the opportunities and success that come from a more holistic view.
Build a Framework
While there are many types of strategies and factors to consider, a strategic plan with the right framework sets up a business for overall success. A robust strategic framework includes a plan that offers tools for strategic execution and monitoring, maps out direction setting, and provides environmental analysis and plan formulation. A strategy should include the right structural framework as well as active communication channels between departments to achieve success. Block by block this framework can then support an overall vision statement or end goal to create a comprehensive strategy, ensuring a strong foundation and providing the necessary tools to maintain flexibility for the future.
One of the benefits to having a solid strategy in place is that you have direction for when things don’t go according to plan. Markets can be volatile and competition is fierce. A solid strategy acts as a foundational map but also ensures businesses remain agile during times of turmoil. The right strategy helps companies see points of failure sooner, adapt to opportunities faster, and deploy new strategies quicker.
It is not enough to simply have a plan in place, however. Companies must also be willing to adjust during times of change. No strategy should be so rigid that it prohibits a company from adapting and growing.
Just as buildings rise, so can businesses grow with the right strategy. Creating a strong foundation, building a framework, and remaining agile and flexible in the planning process is crucial to achieving success in today’s world. After all, the right strategy makes the impossible, possible.