The Costs of Strategy March 6, 2012Posted by David Dirks in business strategy, Strategy.
Tags: best practices, business growth, business strategy, David Dirks, differentiation, dirks on strategy, marketing strategy, small business strategy, strategy
It’s funny. Not a day goes by when someone tells me they need some “strategy” to help them in their business. Strategy? Today the word “strategy” is used like a cheap, $2 dollar bill. It must just sound good to say the work “strategy” in a sentence. So what’s so funny about that? Well, everybody wants a strategy until they find out that implementing it might actually cost them some money. Perhaps having a “strategy” might mean you have to upgrade a system or process to gain a clear competitive edge. Or it might mean investing in additional people resources to help you exploit a new marketing opportunity. As soon as the “strategy” requires an investment of some kind, the next stage is, “How can we do this on a shoe string budget?” Well, you can’t. So, business owners and managers will pick off the parts of the strategy that call for more investment than they are willing to make. That usually means that what’s left are one or two tactics that are weakened greatly because they were part of an overall “strategy” that now only has a few pieces of structure to hold it up.
The result: Strategy failure.
Couple of observations here:
- Strategy may require investment in resources whether it be money, people, and time or any combination thereof.
- “Strategy on the Cheap” is not a strategy. That’s hoping that you’ll find enough “cheap” or “free” ways to implement the strategy to make it work.
- Strategy is not a cure for a bad business model. If your business model is broke, no amount of strategy will help you unless you are willing to make great changes and most likely a reallocation of resources.
- Strategy is not designed to make you feel good. Strategy and the implementation of it may require you and great parts of you business to change.
- Strategy is not easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it and doing with great competitive and business results. Everyone in business isn’t.
- Strategy without action is dead-on-arrival. Nice to have but useless unless implemented.
- Strategy changes the moment the bullets fly. When the competition and markets keep moving forward, change is inevitable. When the competitive battle begins, be ready to modify your strategy as conditions warrant.
- Strategy cannot fix things tomorrow. Impatience is the killer of many “strategies”.
- Strategy development must be shared. You cannot develop a strategy by sitting yourself in a room and hoping something comes out of your head. Or perhaps what comes out of your head is not that good. Share your ideas and challenges with others and let the vetting process begin.
You get the point.