“Strategy” is the most over-used word in business, yet many of us do not have a firm grasp on what it means. Time for a simple analogy. I use this one with my clients who often find it helpful.
Imagine we are on the shore and we need to get to an island.
The shore is our current situation. The island is our goal. How do we get from here to there? We need a strategy!
Let’s list some possible strategies. “Build a boat” and “swim” are usually the first two ideas. Clients with more ambition (or budget) will say “build a bridge”. More unconventional thinkers might say “walk”. Good point. If the water is shallow, and free of sharks, walking is a great strategy.
We quickly see there are many possible strategies. But which is best for us? Here is the point where many companies go off track. They go with a strategy that worked well in the past – radio ads, direct mail- or one that has a lot of buzz -“we need to be on SnapChat” – without full understanding their current situation and their current goal.
Your goal determines the strategy. If your goal is new customer acquisition, you will try different strategies than if your big opportunity is to build your average check.
So, let’s keep it simple. (1) Understand your business situation, the nature of the shore, (2) Decide the top priority goal, which island you are trying to reach, and then (3) Pick your strategy.