Being a firm believer in the notion that the ultimate aim of production is consumption, very few things beat the feeling of people happily paying for your product or service and, more importantly, coming back for more. As a business owner, your next challenge lies in scaling to make sure that your business consistently delivers on its value proposition for a fast-increasing customer base.
This transition towards an operationally robust entity will require you to constantly track the pulse of your business, and have a very clear understanding of where you are in relation to where you are going and how your next steps will get you there.
This is exactly why business strategy is important, and to this end I have outlined a framework for you to apply to your business.
1Be clear about why your business exists
More than just delivering on an order or providing a service, business that stood the test of time have a substantive reason for their existence. For example, Uber exists to ‘find ways for cities to move, work and thrive’, the app is just one way in which they do this. This ‘reason for being’ will guide all decision-making and is what will keep your workforce going through the tough times.
Related: (Video) Creating a Business Strategy
2Define your value proposition
Your value proposition is a description of how your offering will address a clearly defined customer want, need or pain-point. Interestingly, this description will be greatly influenced by market feedback.
If people like your product enough to buy it, they will be more than willing to tell you why they like it, and this is what you need to do more of. Repeating this exercise for each of your offering will reveal insights that will also guide any strategy-related decisions.
3Be clear about who you are targeting
Small businesses usually have limited resources, and very little room for error. If this is the case for you, a good strategy would be getting a small group of customers who love your product, understanding why they love it, how it fits into their lifestyle, what are their ambitions, where and how do they spend their time etc, will put you in a position to target more people like them.
This targeted approach will save you a lot of time, and money, in gradually increasing your client base and will also guide marketing strategy.
4Be one step ahead in your thinking
A strategy is essentially a set of actionable steps towards achieving a pre-determined goal. Taking the above into consideration, list the strategic decisions that must be made in the short run, and what the immediate consequences of each may be.
Move on to ranking each decision on the most important strategic metric of all: Is it getting the business closer to achieving its reason for existence?
Strategy formulation is an on-going process and, needs to be dynamic in evolving with the market. Always bearing in mind what your reason for existence is, and that the key to sustained business growth is an increasing base of happy, paying customers, will help you keep one-step ahead of the competition!