Short Strategy Statements - Learn the 5 Key Elements of This Powerful Management Tool

The Five Key Elements of a Short Strategy Statement

My last article ended by defining strategy as "a beacon that specifies a goal, a time frame for achieving that goal, the context in which the the goal will be reached, and the company's unique approach that guarantees its success." Let's look at the five key elements in this definition:


1. Note that the word "goal" is singular. Strategy is designed to focus the entire organization around a single focus. Do one thing and do it exceedingly well. Sharply defined strategy cuts like a well-honed knife; a strategy with multiple goals cuts like a marshmallow.

Short Strategy Statements - Learn the 5 Key Elements of This Powerful Management Tool

2. Stating a time frame is vital. It provides impetus and motivation. Combined with a clearly stated goal, the time frame becomes the first of the key performance indicators that is necessary to ensure the successful implementation of strategy.

3. The context describes the specific competitive arena in which the company will operate. Be crystal clear on this. Don't just say "We're going to grow to a 10 restaurant chain by 2012″. Say "We're going to grow to a chain of 10 family-oriented, sit-down, full-service, Italian restaurants in southern Oregon by 2012″.

4. The most important part of strategy is defining what makes you different from your competitors. Why would somebody choose to eat in your Italian restaurant rather than the one next door? Is it the food? The locations? The physical design? The live Italian music? It must be unique and it must be something that your competitors can't replicate.

5. Finally, strategy is "a beacon". Once a strategy has been created it needs to be simply stated and widely distributed within your company in order to achieve its full potential. One of the best ways of doing this is to reduce your strategy to a single sentence.

Putting It Into Practice

With this in mind, here's another example of a one-sentence strategy statement:

Acme will add 35,000 net new customers by December 31, 2014 by offering premium, web-based, price comparison software to mid-sized,English-speaking North American commercial construction companies using a "high touch" sales and support approach.

Can you pick out the goal, time frame and context? How would Acme have guaranteed the uniqueness of its approach?

Short Strategy Statements Align The Company's Activities

Condensing their strategy into a single sentence means that it can now be easily communicated to everyone in their organization. This immediately provides a framework that helps align their entire staff. It saves staff time and energy by pre-empting or easily answering many of the little questions that arise each day:

  • "Can I attend the European trade show to see what their market is like?"
  • "Will we bundle hardware with our offering?"
  • "When will our Spanish version be ready?"
  • "Will we match our competitor's price?"
  • "The residential construction association called. Should I do a presentation for them?"

Their strategy statement will also influence the larger decisions such as hiring, product development, sales approach, IT deployment, office development - in fact, every decision can be shaped by this one 35-word sentence.

A single sentence strategy statement is an incredibly powerful tool that helps management align the entire workforce. Can you write your firm's strategy in a single sentence?

I am grateful to David J. Collis and Michael G. Rukstad, the authors of "Can You Say What Your Strategy Is?" published on page 82 in the April 2008 edition of Harvard Business Review.

Copyright © 2010 Alex Glassey

Short Strategy Statements - Learn the 5 Key Elements of This Powerful Management Tool

Alex Glassey is a business strategy expert who leads Glassey Consulting. Glassey Consulting helps its clients with business strategy implementation by aligning their sales, operations and information technology around a clearly defined strategy.

To see how well your firm is doing with its strategy implementation, take Glassey Consulting's free 60-Second Strategy Assessment.

Strategy Implementation

Nine out of ten strategies fail to be implemented successfully. We are starting to understand the very important lesson that implementing strategy is harder than creating the right strategy from the study of success and failures of previous strategy implementations.

When we triumph over implementation it can become a blue ocean strategy - that is a competitive differentiation and while there are many tools and techniques for crafting strategy there are very few for implementing it. Rosabeth Moss Kanter put it very eloquently when she said: "Ethical standards and our ability to groom future leaders inevitably decline. That's why execution, or "making it happen," is so important. Execution is the un-idea; it means having the mental and organizational flexibility to put new business models into practice, even if they counter what you're currently doing. That ability is central to running a organization right now. So rather than chasing another new management fad, or expecting still another "magic bullet" to come along, organizations should focus on execution to effectively use the organizational tools we already have."


To further support Rosabeth Moss Kanter comment, consider the fact from Barons that only 15% of the 974 programs reviewed in Fiscal 2005 were rated effective.

Strategy Implementation

In addition, from 1917 to 1987 only 39 of the original Forbes 100 survived and only two outperformed the market, GE and Eastman Kodak.

Many strategies are expected to deliver growth. This creates even more issues due to the "Growth Paradox". As businesses grow they create new and larger challenges which again emphasizes the need to be good at strategy implementation.

It is time to switch the focus from just crafting strategy to crafting and implementing it. If for no other reason, it is estimated that U.S. managers spend more than billion annually on strategic analysis and strategy formulation. If 90% fail then that is a waste of billion.
Strategy implementation is a relative new field that's genesis was the high failure rate and lack of a framework. The field is about 10 years old and the research on the subject is just being gathered. There has been various research:

1. Kaplan and Norton, the originators of the Balance Scorecard, published also that 90% of organizations fail to execute their strategies successfully.

2. In a study of 200 organizations in the Times 1000, 80% of directors said they had the right strategies but only 14% thought they were implementing them well, no doubt linked to the finding that despite 97% of directors having a 'strategic vision', only 33% reported achieving 'significant strategic success'. (Source: Why do only one third of UK organizations achieve strategic success?)

3. Harvard Business School teaches that at least 70% of all change initiatives fail.

4. A long term study by Newcastle University, (1973 - 1989) showed that business success is governed more by how well strategies are implemented than how good the strategy is to begin with.

5. The Economist Intelligence Unit reported that organizations realize only around 60% of their strategy's potential value because of failures in planning and execution.

With the pendulum now swinging away from leader's main responsibility of crafting the strategy to the recognition that they are also responsible also for its implementation and that can be even harder, there is a fast growing global interest in the field.

Strategy implementation is defined as the actions an organization takes today to deliver the strategy, tomorrow. The key word is "action". People in an organization are always taking action.

The critical question is, "Is it the right action?" Are the actions that their staff members are taking today driving the implementation forward? We know staff members are always busy and frequently have more work than they have hours in the day but strategy implementation is the collective individual actions taken every minute of every day by every staff member. If there are not enough of the right actions being taken then the strategy is heading for the graveyard.

"One of top management's biggest blind spots is the failure to recognize that any significant shift in strategy requires changes in day-to-day activities throughout the organization. Small shifts may require only minor changes. Significant shifts require significant changes-from subtle to sweeping-that can only be successful if implemented systematically. And people at all levels can either help or hinder the transition."

Executing Your Strategy, Morgan, Levitt & Malek

Leader's also have a fundamental responsibility to create the right conditions in the organizations. They must, for example, encourage the right people; clearly communicate the strategy objectives, create the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs); align the culture to the implementation; redesign processes, change the way staff members are reinforced to encourage the right behaviors and actions for the new strategy to be implemented and then review the strategy implementation every two weeks. This can be an overwhelming list but if it was easy to deliver the promises of a new strategy then nine out of ten implementations would not fail. And the pass mark is when the leaders deliver at least 50% of the objectives of the new strategy.

The leaders must identify what needs to be done and where to put the organization's focus.

Although it is not unheard of for two organizations to have the same strategy, for example number one in the industry or differentiate through customer service or leading product, each organization's implementation of the strategy is unique and the leader must first identify what needs to be done and then lead staff members to perform the required behaviors and actions. The leader's role is to translate the strategy in to daily actions that staff members can take. Strategy implementation is not the same as change management.

Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organization and on the individual level. It is applied as the solution for running out a new sales program as it is for strategy. Strategy implementation is a specific approach which drives the right actions today to deliver tomorrow's strategy. The challenge is for leaders to stop doing what doesn't work.

Change management is flawed as a methodology for implementing strategy as the research is revealing. If we keep doing the same thing then no wonder we keep failing and the strategy fails! It is time to change the way we think about change. We must go beyond change management as we know it and focus on implementation.

Consider that 30 years ago management was about control and change management was designed as command and control. But business has dramatically changed. We have moved to empowerment and a teaming methodology. Many leaders use change management out of ignorance, as they are not aware of an alternative and end up taking the wrong the actions.

After crafting the strategy for the organization's future the leader's role is to ensure that staff members are set up for success in its implementation by being guided by the leadership on what actions to take. The problem on many occasions is that even the leaders do not know what the right actions to take are. In addition leaders often have the wrong mindset. Leaders often underestimate the implementation challenge and what is involved. They believe that once they have created a new strategy, the hardest part is over. Not true. The hardest part - implementation - is just beginning.

In the 10 per cent of organizations that successfully implement their strategies the leaders double the effort compared to what they had spent crafting it. In some cases, leaders are cognizant that implementation requires extra effort. In reality, however, very few are able to free up valuable time and resources to do justice to the implementation process. In other cases, leaders become so caught up in managing the day-to-day business that they lose sight of their goal to implement the new strategy and as such are taking the wrong actions.

The research in the field of strategy implementation started to become part of the mainstream awareness in 1999 when Fortune Magazine ran a front page on "Why CEO's Fail". The article, which has since been quoted on numerous occasions, explained that "organizations fail to successfully implement strategy not because of bad strategy but because of bad execution". This was one of the first times the field of implementation (execution and implementation are interchangeable), had received major exposure.

In 2002 Ram Charan followed up the article by co-authoring with Larry Bossidy Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, Crown Business, 2002. The book made execution a common word in business conversations. Since its publications there has been a greater focus on the topic by leaders and a handful of books and articles have followed on the same topic.

There is, however, still a vast gap of knowledge, techniques and tools in the field.

For much of the last 40 years the focus in business has been how to create the right strategy and quite rightly. It is the leader's responsibility to create strategy, it is what they are paid the big bucks for and it is critical to the success of the organization that they get it right. A plethora of tools and techniques have been created to assist in the strategy formulation. Hundreds and even thousands of books have been written on the topic and in every city, consultants are standing by to offer leaders their support and wisdom.

As a result we have improved at understanding strategy and how to create it. Although it is worth noting that even strategy is still being developed. Consider the simple fact that we do not have a globally common definition for the word "strategy".

There is a change in the wind. In the last ten years we have started to ask, "What happens after we create the strategy and why are there so many failed strategy implementations?" These questions are just starting to be asked because we are just discovering from the research that so many strategy implementations fail.

Instinctively most leaders know that implementation is tough and can recall at least one corporate wide implementation; they participated in, that failed. It is, however, only in the last few years that strategy implementation has started to become a recognized field in its own right. We are starting to understand that implementation fails not because we have the wrong strategy, in most cases, but because the challenge of implementing the strategy is tougher than most CEOs and leaders anticipate and they underestimate the whole challenge.

Professor Joseph Bowler of Business Administration at Harvard Business School recently said, "One of the criticisms we would have of some of our colleagues who have studied strategy (and some consultants who advice on strategy) is that they assume that once you design strategy it gets executed. They don't look inside the process and realize that it's much more complicated."

Strategy Implementation

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A Winning Strategy For Farkle

If you Google the history of Farkle, you'll find numerous theories as to the origin of the game, all significantly different. But one thing we know for sure:

Farkle is older than dirt. First there was Farkle, then dirt.


Why do you suppose it's been around for so long? Probably because it's fun. Farkle has just the right combination of luck and skill to have amassed a broad appeal among people around the world and to have remained popular for hundreds of years. If you have never played Farkle, you should give it a try.

A Winning Strategy For Farkle

Many Farkle enthusiasts insist that luck is much more prominent in determining a winner than any skill involved. This is true in a single game. But as more games are played, skill becomes more significant and luck less significant in determining the overall winner. If you sit down with 3 friends and play 12 games of Farkle, luck alone dictates that you'll win about 3 games, and so will your friends. 3 times 4 equals 12.

However, if you use my Winning Strategy For Farkle (and assuming your friends do not), you'll more likely win about 4 games rather than 3. No, it doesn't mean you'll win every game, but over time, you will emerge as the best Farkle player in your group. Your friends will start calling you "The Farkle Expert", or "Mr. (or Mrs. or Miss) Farkle" or "The Farkle Guru". Would that be cool or what?

My strategy assumes the following rules:

· It takes 500 points to get "on the board".
· It takes 10000 points to win.
· A five is worth 50 points.
· A one is worth 100 points.
· Three 1's is worth 300 points.
· Three 2's is worth 200 points.
· Three 3's is worth 300 points.
· Three 4's is worth 400 points.
· Three 5's is worth 500 points.
· Three 6's is worth 600 points.
· Any 4-of-a-kind is worth 1000 points.
· Straight (1-2-3-4-5-6) is worth 1500 points.
· Three Pair (2-2-3-3-4-4) is worth 1500 points.
· Any 5-of-a-kind is worth 2000 points.
· Triplets (2-2-2-3-3-3) are worth 2500 points.
· Any 6-of-a-kind is worth 3000 points.

The Strategy:

1. In the beginning of a game, when you are trying to get the required points to get "on the board", stop throwing after you have the required points on the table, unless you can throw all 6 dice again. If you can throw all the dice again, that is called ".. and rolling" and you should do that.

Example #1: You throw 5-5-5-2-3-4

The three 5's are worth 500 points. So you have enough to get "on the board". So do not throw the remaining 3 dice again. Just stop and take the 500 points.

Example #2: You throw 1-2-3-4-5-6

You have a straight worth 1500 points so you could stop and satisfy the "on the board" requirement. But since you can throw all 6 dice again, you should do that.

Now that you have satisfied the "on the board" requirement, we can talk about the rest of the game.

2. If, after any turn, you discover that all six dice are worth points, so that you can throw all six dice again if you choose, you should throw the dice again. This rule is especially difficult to adhere to when you have just thrown triplets or some other high-scoring combination, and you're thinking to yourself, "If I throw all six dice and get nothing (a Farkle, a goose-egg, the big zero, the old 'bust-a-roo'), then I'll loose the 2500 points for my Triplet. Oh gosh, I don't think I could go on living if that happened. It would be devastating. It would put a hole in my self-esteem the size of the Belgian Congo"

Nah. It's not that bad. You'll bust (or "Farkle") less than 10% of the time which means over 90% of the time you'll throw some more points and improve your score.

3. So the big decision, the one you'll have to make dozens of times in each game of Farkle, is "should I stop now, or keep throwing?"

The exact answer to this question is very complicated. But we can simplify it and put it into terms everyone can deal with. You just need two pieces of information: 1) how many dice am I considering throwing and 2) how many points would I have if I didn't throw, i.e., if I stopped now?

If you are considering throwing:

6 dice Just do it! Don't worry about it.
5 dice Stop at 2000 points or more. Otherwise go ahead and throw.
4 dice Stop at 1000 points or more. Otherwise go ahead and throw.
3 dice Stop at 500 points or more. Otherwise go ahead and throw.
2 dice Stop at 400 points or more. Otherwise go ahead and throw.
1 dice Stop at 300 points or more. Otherwise go ahead and throw.

4. Never hold a 5 (worth 50 points) unless you have no other choice.

Example #1: You throw 5-5-2-3-3-4

You could hold on to the two fives (worth 100 points total) and throw the remaining 4 dice. But it's better to hold just one of the fives (worth 50 points) and throw the remaining 5 dice.

Example #2: You throw 1-5-5-2-3-3

Here, you have a single one (worth 100 points) and two fives (worth 100 points combined). So you could save those three dice and throw the other three. But you would be making a mistake. The rules say that you must hold at least one die before you can continue your turn and throw again, so the correct strategy is to hold the single one and not the two fives. So you would throw five dice.

5. When an opponent gets above 8000 points, you need to start thinking about playing a little more aggressively. Especially if your total is 5000 or less. When the difference between your score and leader becomes greater than the difference between the leader and winning the game, it's time to take the gloves off. Up those totals in rule 3 above. Don't stop at 400 points when you have 2 dice to throw. Keep throwing!

When my opponent is within 1000 points of winning the game, and I'm way down at 5000 points or so, I don't stop throwing until I get above 2000 points. Every so often, I get that big throw that puts me right back in the game.

Look at it this way, although it may look dangerous to continue throwing when you have 700 or 800 points, especially if you're only throwing 2 dice, the alternative of stopping isn't going to do you any good! Adding 700 or 800 points to a pitiful score like 5000 isn't going to change the outcome of the game... you are still going to lose! The only thing that will save you now is some big 4-digit turns.

So stop worrying about it and throw those dice! Throw them fast and furiously. Throw 'em like there's no tomorrow. Throw 'em like a drunken sailor.

As I mentioned at the outset, this strategy will not guarantee a victory on any particular game. But it will ensure that you win more than your share of games. Remember, your goal is to be known throughout your town as the "Farkle Queen" (or "King" as the case may be).

A Winning Strategy For Farkle

by Scott Slocum Amuseware Software Company

And, of course, if you want to practice your Farkle skills, you can visit and download a 3 day free trial of Farkle For Windows (which I wrote, coincidentally).

Happy Farkling everyone!

iPhone Marketing Strategy

As with all Apple marketing, the iPhone marketing strategy is very clear, simple and clever. With the plain and simple apple icon, Apple focuses on the pure innovative style of their products without all the "fluff". The iPhone was released by Apple in June, 2007. The ground-breaking style of the iPhone was touted for months before the initial release and has remained the best of the best when it comes to cell phones over the past several years. Before the iPhone's official release, Apple ran four television commercials promoting the new cell phone.

The first of the commercials portrays the new iPhone as the next step up from the popular iPod. The iPod was all the rage up until this point, and the iPhone was supposed to be the next-generation iPod, oh, and it's also a phone! The advertisement displays all of the enhanced features available in the iPod, and more, the point being "There's never been an iPod that can do this."


"So, say you're watching Pirates of the Caribbean"
Finger clicks on video and displays wide screen movie.
"Mmm, did somebody say Calamari?"
Finger clicks back to menu, selects Maps application to search 'Seafood'.
"The closest would be..."
Map displays all seafood locations and highlights location nearest to you.

iPhone Marketing Strategy

Finger clicks seafood location, and restaurant phone number displayed. iPhone dial's.

The first four iPhone commercials flaunted the convenience, innovation, and usefulness of a single product with the functionality of not only a phone, or a music device, but a product that can, among other things, listen to music, watch videos, view photos, make conference calls, check e-mail, browse the web, and view maps.

Not only does Apple utilize television for their marketing strategy, but they make use of their website by posting videos, they also published a handful of press releases that could have been released in one single document. Apple often uses this tactic to build up hype and leave the consumer wanting more.

With Apple's brief press releases, giving the audience little to go off, "Apple leveraged a law of social physics - news, like nature, abhors a vacuum. In the absence of real information, those who care about a product will grasp at any rumor that comes their way. Apple may publicly disavow the rumor Web sites that scramble for scraps about the companies plans, but secretly their marketing department must be delighted. It would cost a lot to buy that kind of Web advertising." (Silverman, 2007)

The official iPhone website does more than just provide information about the product. The website provides top tips and tricks for the use of an iPhone, as well as a huge focus on apps. Almost the entire iPhone page displays images of apps, provides the "App of the Week," the website also contains sections titled "Apps for Everything," and the "Top Apps." Apple's website is a great marketing tool for current iPhone users and consumers that have an interest in purchasing the iPhone. The promotion of the apps will create a stronger source of revenue for Apple. As customers see top rated applications, they are more likely to download the app, rather than searching through 25,000+ apps to find one that may be of any value to the consumer.

Successful younger men were the target audience that Apple had originally focused on. Apple had hoped that with this target audience, and the fact that 48% of this audience did not already own an Apple iPod, would allow them to reach their forecast of 10 million sales by the end of 2008.

One month prior to the release of the iPhone, Solutions Research Group profiled a cross-section of those aware of the phone. The forecast of potential buyers for the day of the release ranked a majority of T-Mobile customers, AT&T's only GSM-based product competitor, at 15%. The second largest group expected to purchase the new iPhone was AT&T's existing customer base, at 12%. The Solutions Research Group also found that 72% of males, versus 28% of women were most likely to investigate the phone at its minimum price of 9. (Malley, 2007)

The obvious current target audiences for the Apple iPhone include young people between the ages of 20 and 35, affluent teenagers, "jet-setters", and "mobile" employees who work outside of the office.

Apple is known for their simplistic, but catchy commercials. In recent television commercials for the Apple iPhone, "There's an App for that" is the new catch phrase that places a strong focus on the apps available from the App Store. Apps, or applications, are in "every category, from games to business, education to entertainment, finance to health and fitness, productivity to social networking. These applications have been designed to take advantage of iPhone features such as Multi-Touch, the accelerometer, wireless, and GPS" (Apple, 2009). Apple currently claims to have 25,000+ apps available, and counting.

The focus on the variation of apps offered opens up the target audience greatly. There is essentially an app for everyone. As a few of the iPhone commercials advertise, you can find the snow conditions on the mountain, track calories in your lunch, find exactly where you parked your car. You can find a cab in a strange city, find your share of the bill for a table of 5, or learn to fix a wobbly bookshelf. You can read a restaurant review, read an MRI, or just read a regular old book. These are just a few of the features that Apple has promoted through television commercials. iPhone apps provide every functionality that one can imagine.

When the iPhone was initially released, it was priced at a hefty 9. Still, hundreds of thousands of people rushed out to get the new phone, forking over a third as much as they would have had they waited an extra 3 months. 3 months after the initial release, Apple reduced the price of the iPhone to 9. This enraged Apple's loyal customers and consumers who purchased the new phone just months earlier. One year later, Apple again reduced the price of the iPhone to 9, 66% less than the original price.

In July, 2007, the Apple iPhone was all the hype. I believe that Apple's decision to release the phone at 9 was slightly based on greed. However, their product was the most innovative out in the market place, giving Apple the freedom to price the iPhone at whatever they wanted. Many believed that Apple had cut the price after discovering lower than expected iPhone sales. Apple, however, states that the price cut was made "to spur holiday sales and predicted that Apple would meet its stated goal of selling its 1 millionth iPhone by the end of September." (Dalrymple, 2007)

As with the product life cycle of any cell phone or Apple product, including Apple's iPod, prices are often reduced drastically months after the initially release. Tech products are always competing against "the latest and greatest" while maintaining a relevant price in the market place. Had Apple not reduced the price of the iPhone, the customer base would have dwindled quickly as many consumers are unwilling to spend 9 on a cell phone, no matter how many useful features the phone may carry.

As the iPhone remains to be the number one smart phone around, the product continues to grow, increasing size capabilities, increasing the number of applications available, and providing new features that are released through new iterations of the phone, continue to provide a greater value to the iPhone while the pricing remains relevant.

At this time in the product life cycle, Apple continues to release enhanced iterations of the iPhone. With most iPhone users un-willing to purchase a newer version of the iPhone because of price, the target audience for the newer generation phones is new iPhone customers. With Apple's installed base continuing to grow, they have found a way bring in reoccurring revenue from their existing customers through the sales of their application downloads. As more and more people purchase the iPhone, Apple's audience for new customers continues to dwindle. Fortunately for Apple, they have built in another source for revenue that continues throughout the life of the product.


(2009). Apple: iPhone. Retrieved April 26, 2009, from Apple

Dalrymple, J (2007, Sep, 11). Lessons learned from the iPhone price cuts. PCWorld, Retrieved Apr 26, 2009, from

Silverman, D (2007, Jul, 10). Apple's silence helped the iPhone hype., Retrieved Apr 26, 2009, from

Malley, A (2007, Jun, 6). Apple, AT&T neophytes to define iPhone audience - report. AppleInsider, Retrieved Apr 26, 2009, from AppleInsider Website

Mukherjee, A (2007, Feb, 28). iPhone under attack. Business Today, Retrieved Apr 26, 2009, from the business today website

iPhone Marketing Strategy

Jesus has smoked most of his life. Now he writes inspiring articles for people trying to quit smoking. You can check out his recent site at [] where he writes about the Benefits of Stopping Smoking [].

Business Strategy - Using A "Nordstrom" Business Strategy Might Be The Key To Your Success

Successful business owners know they must take into account their market and their competition in determining the right business strategy to implement in their business.

Ignoring these two factors and taking the stance of, if I build it they will come, will lead to business failure.


In a market where the business owner has little wiggle room when it comes to pricing their products and services it's necessary to find another method to gain a competitive advantage, which equals happy customers and lots of them.

Business Strategy - Using A "Nordstrom" Business Strategy Might Be The Key To Your Success

Recently at a local business meeting I "mentioned" the higher local prices to a business owner. This owner proceeded to explain to me that he didn't want to compete on price alone but on Service. He wanted to be thought of as the "Nordstrom" in his industry.

Now I'm a long time dyed in the wool Nordstrom shopper, so when he said, "be the Nordstrom of his industry and compete on Service not price" - I got it.

I decided long ago it was cheaper in the long run for me to pay Nordstrom prices because if I bought and then decided I didn't like the item for any reason I Never had any problems returning it, unlike other department stores who insisted on a No Return Policy. In addition Nordstrom's customer service is excellent with their sales force willing and happy to help you whether you're buying or returning. I am a loyal customer for this reason and since Nordstrom continues to grow and profit I can only assume that many feel the same as I.

Now this local business owner knows he can't compete with larger stores who offer the same products at a lower price so he determined to be competitive by using Service as his competing business strategy. Once I understood the "Nordstrom" service mind set behind his products I became his willing happy customer.

This business owner did 2 important things with me: (a) by mentioning a well known company, Nordstrom, and aligning his store with their name, he made his store philosophy immediately recognizable, likable and sellable (b) next rather than be offended at my questioning he took the time and effort to explain what his business strategy was and why.

Today the small business owner competes with bigger stores who can buy in more volume and charge lower prices. You can also shop over the internet from the comfort of your own home and have it the next day. The Internet has become a bigger threat to the small business than the store down the road.

So then what does a small business owner do? Give up and close its doors? I suppose that's one strategy but if instead you want to run a business and a profitable business with happy customers then "Service" might well be your competitive advantage. I believe most people want to shop in their local areas and they want to touch, feel and see what they buy. Running a business, big or small has always been about finding your competitive advantage and finding the business strategies that work for your business. Service will always be a deciding competitive advantage and like Nordstrom has proven, will bring you happy customers.

Business Strategy - Using A "Nordstrom" Business Strategy Might Be The Key To Your Success

Jean Starling holds an MBA in International Business and is an Author, Business Strategist and Executive Coach. Go to [] to get your Free Leadership Home Study Course and learn how to be the leader that people want to follow. Contact Jean at

Is Psychological Pricing an Effective Strategy?

Price has a psychological value. Buyers will buy a high priced product because they believe that the high price is a good indicator of value. Their perception is not reality based, it is psychologically based therefore buyer behavior is affected by more than the product and price tangibles.

Interestingly, as buyers do more investigation into the product's attributes or the business promotes the product's characteristics more effectively, that product knowledge ('familiarity breeds contempt') enables buyers to make a more rational, versus psychological, buying decision and for buyers, price moves down the value scale.


One use of psychological pricing is in price-ending numbers. Buyers believe that prices ending in uneven, rather than even numbers, (such as, .99, 9,999, etc.) are a better deal or a better price than even numbers (e.g. or 0,000). If the products to be priced are to be in a price 'band' (such as on-line auctions, or cars or other sales listings), if the listing price is in the odd range, say 9,000, it will appear in a lower price band than the 0,000 listing and will be viewed as better value. The challenge with this strategy is that products ending in an odd number are also often perceived as being lower in value. Ensure that you chose the right price and the right strategy for your specific product or service.

Is Psychological Pricing an Effective Strategy?

Another use of psychological pricing is reference price. Reference pricing is when buyers have a psychological response to the price that mirrors the way they view a price's relationship to a specific product. A business could capitalize on reference pricing and position their product amongst high value or luxury items to imply that its product belongs in the same category. Be careful with that positioning strategy, it can backfire if buyers feel that your product doesn't really belong in that category.

For psychological pricing to be an effective price strategy, the product needs to have some characteristics that would appeal to an ego-sensitive buyer. For example, luxury goods are attractive to ego-sensitive buyers. Premium recreational goods, such as boats, are attractive to ego-sensitive buyers. Your strategic planning model must ensure that the pricing strategy selected for your product or service is a best-fit price.

Make sure that your price strategy fits your product and your market by testing the price before releasing that price to your whole target market. Also consider the impact that the other elements of marketing mix have on your price: is the product the right fit for a psychological price strategy, is the promotional program in-step with the price strategy, and is place or the distribution channel in balance with the price (i.e. shipping of the product should not cost more than the product itself)?

Is Psychological Pricing an Effective Strategy?

For more information on pricing strategies, visit and for more information on small business strategies and advice, visit
Kris Bovay is the owner of Voice Marketing Inc, a business and marketing services company. Kris has 25 years of experience in leading large, medium and small businesses.
Copyright 2008 Voice Marketing Inc.

Best Investment Strategy for 2013 - Simplified

Here we lay out the average person's best investment strategy for 2013, keeping both the investment strategy and investment options simple. For most folks the best investment options are mutual funds. So, here we highlight the best funds and funds to be wary of for 2013 and beyond.

Due to the risk of interest rates rising in 2013 or 2014 and the heavy investment losses that this could cause, money market funds are your best investment strategy and best funds in the safety department. They earn interest and pay dividends that increase when rates go up, and their share price does not fluctuate in value (pegged at ). Every major fund family offers these funds, and your best strategy is to go with tax-free funds ONLY if you are in a higher tax bracket. Otherwise, the best funds here for you are the traditional, taxable money market variety.


Bond funds are the next investment options to consider in putting together your best investment strategy, and this is where you must be careful. Bond funds should be a part of virtually everyone's investment portfolio; and have been good solid performers year after year for a long time (basically, for 30 years). However, the best funds in the bond arena of yesterday could be the worst funds in 2013 and beyond. Bond funds are relatively safe and are some of the best investment options for average investors ONLY when interest rates are high and/or are falling. Since interest rates fell to record lows in the summer of 2012, there is not much room for them to fall much further.

Best Investment Strategy for 2013 - Simplified

Your best investment strategy in terms of bond funds: go with short or intermediate term bond funds. Don't reach for the higher dividends offered by long-term bond funds, because if interest rates head north significantly, your fund's value will head south big time. That's one of the worst investment options for the average investor. Don't go with the highest quality bond funds; and don't go with tax-free funds unless you are in a higher tax bracket. Both of these investment options will only serve to lower your dividend income in this period of record low interest rates.

The average person also needs to include stock (equity) funds as a part of their investment strategy for 2013. The best funds in the diversified equity funds category will be those that hold large-cap, high quality stocks that pay higher than average dividends. These are your best investment options because they offer: diversification, good dividend income, and less volatility (price fluctuation risk).

There are times when the best investment strategy is aggressive in nature; but with financial problems in Europe, and a floundering economy in the USA this is not one of them. Keep all 3 mutual fund types in your investment portfolio to keep your portfolio balanced. But cut your risk in both your bond funds and stock funds by going with the mutual fund investment options suggested above.

It's tough to find good interest income and dividend income these days without taking significant risk in long-term bond funds. To increase your dividend income I suggest you also consider specialty stock funds that specialize in a specific industry. Real estate equity funds could be one of the best investment options to increase your dividend income, and could offer good returns (growth) as the real estate industry gains strength.

When considering your best investment strategy for 2013 and beyond you've got to take today's HIGHLY UNUSUAL interest rate environment into consideration. Our Federal Reserve has openly stated that they INTEND to hold rates down or lower them even further through 2013 and possibly 2014. They want to stimulate our lackluster economy. Meanwhile, the USA goes further and further into debt. National debt: TRILLION. Even at today's ridiculously low interest rates, the economy is not responding.

Maybe the Federal Reserve will successfully take interest rates even lower; and maybe this will stimulate our economy. In putting together your best investment strategy for 2013 or 2014, I wouldn't count on it. Sooner or later the party will be over for people who assume that their longer-term bond funds will continue to be one of the best investment options out there.

Your best investment strategy in times of high uncertainty should focus on both caution and balance. Here I have offered my opinions on the best funds, best investment options for the average investor for 2013 and beyond.

Best Investment Strategy for 2013 - Simplified

Author James Leitz teaches investment basics, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and how to invest in his investing guide for beginners called INVEST INFORMED. Put Jim's 40 years of investing experience to work for you and get up to speed at Learn how to invest.

What Is Marketing Strategy?

A lot of people want to know exactly what is marketing strategy. There are many definitions out there but to put it simply, it is how you get people or potential customers interested in your company, your product or your service. How you position your brand, create messaging and establish your company goals, supports your attempt to interest people. How you engage with or pursue your audience is what defines your marketing plan.

A marketing strategy is the foundation for which you can judge whether or not your plan is successful. You can from that determine if you are meeting the goals set out and defined in the strategy. The marketing strategy is really the cornerstone of every marketing effort and acts as a springboard for all future efforts.


Marketing Strategy Importance

What Is Marketing Strategy?

Some business owners sometimes get so hung up in the finite details of creating, developing and testing a product, that they don't take the time to figure out who the audience is, what the product should say and why people would be interested. Without paying attention to a marketing strategy a product launch might be rushed and not be as successful as one backed by a marketing strategy to guide it into the market. It could potentially cause a small company to have to close it's doors because there was a great idea and need for a product but no thoughtfulness to how it fits into the space or how people might receive it.

Strong Strategy Basics

In order to create a strong marketing strategy you need to:

1. Understanding what makes your business unique or different.
First part of a successful marketing strategy is to find something that makes your business stand out from other businesses that offer similar services or products. Sometimes you will have to change parts of your business to accommodate that. If potential customers don't find anything unique about your business they will choose service based on price.

2. Understand your target audience.
Think about characteristics of your ideal customer. Make a mental picture of this person and try to get inside their heads. What would they like? What things are important to them? What motivates them to buy? What influences their decisions?

3. Identifying marketing goals or what you want to achieve with marketing.
Does this mean a conversation rate, products sold or number of contracts signed? It could be any number of things. It is just the definition of what you would consider success for your company.

4. Establish your marketing budget.
Having a budget helps you keep track of what you need to spend on marketing without it getting out of control. This is something that will allow you set up expectations internally as well.

Upfront Planning Leads to Success

Embracing and establishing a solid marketing strategy would benefit any company, product or service. It is where the most successfully marketing campaigns are created from. Plus, it is a great way to keep everyone on the same page and keep a consistent brand identity and message platform throughout. Consistency is key in developing recognition and loyalty. A marketing strategy that clearly spells everything out keeps all the efforts in line with each. This will ultimately make all your efforts more impactful.

What Is Marketing Strategy?

e-Marketing Strategy: 7 Dimensions to Consider (the e-Marketing Mix)

What is e-Marketing?

e-Marketing is still quite a controversial subject to talk about, since no one succeeded to unify the various theories around it; however there is one thing upon which there is no doubt - that e-Marketing first appeared under the form of various techniques deployed by pioneer companies selling their products via the internet in the early 90's.


The frenzy around these new marketing techniques created by e-tailers and supported by the internet rapidly gave birth to a new dimension of what we knew as Marketing: the e-Marketing (electronic Marketing).

e-Marketing Strategy: 7 Dimensions to Consider (the e-Marketing Mix)

There are many definitions to what e-Marketing is, the simplest and shortest one being formulated by Mark Sceats: e-Marketing is Marketing that uses the internet as manifestation media. A working definition is that coming from a group of CISCO specialists: e-Marketing is the sum of all activities a business conducts through the internet with the purpose of finding, attracting, winning and retaining customers.

e-Marketing Strategy

The e-Marketing Strategy is normally based and built upon the principles that govern the traditional, offline Marketing - the well-known 4 P's (Product - Price - Promotion - Positioning) that form the classic Marketing mix. Add the extra 3 P's (People - Processes - Proof) and you got the whole extended Marketing mix.

Until here, there are no much aspects to differentiate e-Marketing from the traditional Marketing performed offline: the extended Marketing mix (4 + 3 P's) is built around the concept of "transactional" and its elements perform transactional functions defined by the exchange paradigm. What gives e-Marketing its uniqueness is a series of specific functions, relational functions, that can be synthesized in the 2P + 2C+ 3S formula: Personalization, Privacy, Customer Service, Community, Site, Security, Sales Promotion.

These 7 functions of the e-Marketing stay at the base of any e-Marketing strategy and they have a moderating character, unlike the classic Marketing mix that comprises situational functions only. Moderating functions of e-Marketing have the quality of moderate, operate upon all situational functions of the mix (the classic 4 P's) and upon each other.

1. Personalization

The fundamental concept of personalization as a part of the e-Marketing mix lies in the need of recognizing, identifying a certain customer in order to establish relations (establishing relations is a fundamental objective of Marketing). It is crucial to be able to identify our customers on individual level and gather all possible information about them, with the purpose of knowing our market and be able to develop customized, personalized products and services.

For example, a cookie strategically placed on the website visitor's computer can let us know vital information concerning the access speed available: in consequence, if we know the visitor is using a slow connection (eg. dial-up) we will offer a low-volume variation of our website, with reduced graphic content and no multimedia or flash applications. This will ease our customer's experience on our website and he will be prevented from leaving the website on the reason that it takes too long to load its pages.

Personalization can be applied to any component of the Marketing mix; therefore, it is a moderating function.

2. Privacy

Privacy is an element of the mix very much connected to the previous one - personalization. When we gather and store information about our customers and potential customers (therefore, when we perform the personalization part of the e-Marketing mix) a crucial issue arises: that of the way this information will be used, and by whom. A major task to do when implementing an e-Marketing strategy is that of creating and developing a policy upon access procedures to the collected information.

This is a duty and a must for any conscious marketer to consider all aspects of privacy, as long as data are collected and stored, data about individual persons.

Privacy is even more important when establishing the e-Marketing mix since there are many regulations and legal aspects to be considered regarding collection and usage of such information.

3. Customer Service

Customer service is one of the necessary and required activities among the support functions needed in transactional situations.

We will connect the apparition of the customer service processes to the inclusion of the "time" parameter in transactions. When switching from a situational perspective to a relational one, and e-Marketing is mostly based on a relational perspective, the marketer saw himself somehow forced into considering support and assistance on a non-temporal level, permanently, over time.

For these reasons, we should consider the Customer Service function (in its fullest and largest definition) as an essential one within the e-Marketing mix.

As we can easily figure out, the service (or assistance if you wish) can be performed upon any element from the classic 4 P's, hence its moderating character.

4. Community

We can all agree that e-Marketing is conditioned by the existence of this impressive network that the internet is. The merely existence of such a network implies that individuals as well as groups will eventually interact. A group of entities that interact for a common purpose is what we call a "community" and we will soon see why it is of absolute importance to participate, to be part of a community.

The Metcalf law (named after Robert Metcalf) states that the value of a network is given by the number of its components, more exactly the value of a network equals the square of the number of components. We can apply this simple law to communities, since they are a network: we will then conclude that the value of a community rises with the number of its members. This is the power of communities; this is why we have to be a part of it.

The customers / clients of a business can be seen as part of a community where they interact (either independent or influenced by the marketer) - therefore developing a community is a task to be performed by any business, even though it is not always seen as essential.

Interactions among members of such a community can address any of the other functions of e-Marketing, so it can be placed next to other moderating functions.

5. Site

We have seen and agreed that e-Marketing interactions take place on a digital media - the internet. But such interactions and relations also need a proper location, to be available at any moment and from any place - a digital location for digital interactions.

Such a location is what we call a "site", which is the most widespread name for it. It is now the time to mention that the "website" is merely a form of a "site" and should not be mistaken or seen as synonyms. The "site" can take other forms too, such as a Palm Pilot or any other handheld device, for example.

This special location, accessible through all sort of digital technologies is moderating all other functions of the e-Marketing - it is then a moderating function.

6. Security

The "security" function emerged as an essential function of e-Marketing once transactions began to be performed through internet channels.

What we need to keep in mind as marketers are the following two issues on security:

- security during transactions performed on our website, where we have to take all possible precautions that third parties will not be able to access any part of a developing transaction;

- security of data collected and stored, about our customers and visitors.

A honest marketer will have to consider these possible causes of further trouble and has to co-operate with the company's IT department in order to be able to formulate convincing (and true, honest!) messages towards the customers that their personal details are protected from unauthorized eyes.

7. Sales Promotion

At least but not last, we have to consider sales promotions when we build an e-Marketing strategy. Sales promotions are widely used in traditional Marketing as well, we all know this, and it is an excellent efficient strategy to achieve immediate sales goals in terms of volume.

This function counts on the marketer's ability to think creatively: a lot of work and inspiration is required in order to find new possibilities and new approaches for developing an efficient promotion plan.

On the other hand, the marketer needs to continuously keep up with the latest internet technologies and applications so that he can fully exploit them.

To conclude, we have seen that e-Marketing implies new dimensions to be considered aside of those inherited from the traditional Marketing. These dimensions revolve around the concept of relational functions and they are a must to be included in any e-Marketing strategy in order for it to be efficient and deliver results.

e-Marketing Strategy: 7 Dimensions to Consider (the e-Marketing Mix)

Otilia Otlacan is a young certified professional with expertise in e-Marketing and e-Business, currently working as independent consultant and e-publisher. She developed and teach her own online course in "Principles of e-Marketing" and is also a volunteer Economics teacher.

You can contact her via her personal website at [] or check out her latest developing Marketing resources project at

Craps Strategy - How To Win In Simple Steps

If you want to win at craps you need to have a craps strategy that focuses on placing the bets with the greatest odds of success.

This is relatively simple, the house edge against you is relatively small when you apply a correct craps strategy to win.


Another advantage of playing craps is the excitement and entertainment value it gives you.

Craps Strategy - How To Win In Simple Steps

Let's now look at how you can apply a craps strategy to win and also have some great fun.

Craps strategy - History of the game

The playing of dice for money or possessions goes back far into history. We hear of it firstly in the (Rig Veda X:34) Hymn 50.

This was written perhaps before 1500 B.C. and only then from an earlier ancient oral tradition. Today's craps have their own rules and betting customs, but one can be sure, there is not that much difference.

Craps Strategy - The Odds

In today's game, you can, if you follow the craps strategy below, bring the odds at least to even...or about so, and with some patience, a sizable stake, and knowledge, you can win with this craps strategy.

Unlike the unhappy king who lost a kingdom and in Hymn 50 advises tilling the land and leaving dice alone, we will show you how not to get burned, and have some fun.

Craps strategy - The basics

The craps table is oblong, and the shooters stand at one of the narrow ends, and throw the dice to the other side. The rules say that when you "come out" if you roll a 7 or 11, you win. If you roll a 2,3, or 12 you lose.

Any other number becomes your "point" and you throw until you hit that number, whereby you win, or a 7 whereby you lose.

Craps strategy - The odds

The secret for winning at craps is to have a craps strategy in your betting, and bring the odds as close to even as you can, where the house holds the lowest edge possible.

Let's look at the best bets to incorporate in your craps strategy

On the table you will see a "pass" or "don't pass" betting area. The pass line bet wins on an opening 7 or 11. The don't pass line wins when the shooter throws a 2,3, or 12. This is known as "craps".

There are many bets possible, but we will concentrate here on getting the odds in your favor. The bet is call Free Odds Bet and is the one your winning craps strategy should be based upon.

Free Odds Bet

This bet is available only after you put a bet on the pass line.

It's called Free Odds because the house has no statistical advantage on the player in this bet. It must be remembered that if you MUST put a bet on the pass line, and so the house gets a small odds advantage there.

When the point is determined (the come out roll is not a 7 or 11, where you won anyway, or a 2,3, or 12 where you lost anyway), you can place a bet equal to your bet on the pass line. This bet reinforces your pass line bet.

This bet is safe, as if the point is "made" (the same number comes up once again before a 7), you will win on the pass line and the free odds line bet. It becomes slightly complicated here, as the point made will have it own odds based on the difficulty in achieving that number.

As points, 4 and 10 are the easiest, so they pay out 2 to 1. 5 and 9 are the next most difficult and the payout is set to 3 to 1. The hardest numbers to achieve are 6 and 8, so they pay out 6 to 5.

Craps strategy - The way to win is simple

Betting on the Free Odds bet will double your pay out should you win.

There are many more bets, but they will have greater odds against you, and your chances of winning are reduced.

The Free Odds will keep you playing for hours and can get you an edge to win and is the basis of any craps strategy to win and make money at this fun and exciting game.

Craps Strategy - How To Win In Simple Steps

For more FREE information

On craps strategy and more tips to win in craps and all major casino games visit our website for free features articles and downloads at:

Coping with Change: Develop Your Personal Strategy

Why do we resist change?

As the saying goes, the only people who like change are busy cashiers and wet babies. We find change disorienting, creating within us an anxiety similar to culture shock, the unease visitors to an alien land feel because of the absence of the familiar cues they took for granted back home. With an established routine, we don't have to think! And thinking is hard work.


Change is a business fact of life

Coping with Change: Develop Your Personal Strategy

Is your company is currently undergoing major changes that will affect the lives of all of its employees? These changes are probably in response to the evolving needs of your customers. They are made possible because of improvements in telecommunications and digital technology. They are likely guided by accepted principles and practices of total quality management. And you can expect that they will result in significant improvements profitability--a success that all employees will share. Because our customers' needs are NOW, we must make changes swiftly, which means that all of us must cooperate with the changes, rather than resist them.

How do we resist change?

We tend to respond to change the same way we respond to anything we perceive as a threat: by flight or fight. Our first reaction is flight--we try to avoid change if we can. We do what futurist Faith Popcorn calls "cocooning": we seal ourselves off from those around us and try to ignore what is happening. This can happen in the workplace just by being passive. We don't volunteer for teams or committees; we don't make suggestions, ask questions, or offer constructive criticism. But the changes ahead are inescapable. Those who "cocoon" themselves will be left behind.

Even worse is to fight, to actively resist change. Resistance tactics might include negativity, destructive criticism, and even sabotage. If this seldom happens at your company, you are fortunate.

Take a different approach to change

Rejecting both alternatives of flight or flight, we seek a better option--one that neither avoids change nor resists it, but harnesses and guides it.

Change can be the means to your goals, not a barrier to them.
Both fight and flight are reactions to perceiving change as a threat. But if we can change our perceptions, we can avoid those reactions. An old proverb goes, "Every change brings an opportunity." In other words, we must learn to see change as a means of achieving our goals, not a barrier preventing us from reaching them.

Another way of expressing the same thought is: A change in my external circumstances provides me with an opportunity to grow as a human being. The greater the change is, the greater and faster I can grow. If we can perceive change along these lines, we will find it exciting and energizing, rather than depressing and debilitating.

Yet this restructuring of our perspective on change can take some time. In fact, coping with change follows the same steps as the grieving process.1 The steps are shock and denial that the old routine must be left behind, then anger that change is inevitable, then despair and a longing for the old ways, eventually replaced by acceptance of the new and a brighter view of the future. Everyone works through this process; for some, the transition is lightning fast, for others painfully slow.

Realize your capacity to adapt.

As one writer put it recently:

Our foreparents lived through sea changes, upheavals so cataclysmic, so devastating we may never appreciate the fortitude and resilience required to survive them. The next time you feel resistant, think about them and about what they faced--and about what they fashioned from a fraction of the options we have. They blended old and new worlds, creating family, language, cuisine and new life-affirming rhythms, and they encouraged their children to keep on stepping toward an unknown but malleable future.2

Human beings are created remarkably flexible, capable of adapting to a wide variety of environments and situations. Realizing this can help you to embrace and guide change rather than resisting or avoiding it.

Develop a coping strategy based on who you are.

Corporate employees typically follow one of four decision-making styles: analytical, directive, conceptual, and behavioral. These four styles, described in a book by Alan J. Rowe and Richard O. Mason,3 have the following characteristics:

    Analytical Style - technical, logical, careful, methodical, needs much data, likes order, enjoys problem-solving, enjoys structure, enjoys scientific study, and enjoys working alone. Conceptual Style - creative and artistic, future oriented, likes to brainstorm, wants independence, uses judgment, optimistic, uses ideas vs. data, looks at the big picture, rebellious and opinionated, and committed to principles or a vision. Behavioral Style - supportive of others, empathetic, wants affiliation, nurtures others, communicates easily, uses instinct, avoids stress, avoids conflict, relies on feelings instead of data, and enjoys team/group efforts. Directive Style - aggressive, acts rapidly, takes charge, persuasive and/or is manipulative, uses rules, needs power/status, impatient, productive, single-minded, and enjoys individual achievements.

Read once more through these descriptions and identify which style best describes you. Then find and study the strategy people who share your style follow to cope with change:

    Analytical coping strategy - You see change as a challenging puzzle to be solved. You need plenty of time to gather information, analyze data, and draw conclusions. You will resist change if you are not given enough time to think it through. Conceptual coping strategy - You are interested in how change fits into the big picture. You want to be involved in defining what needs to change and why. You will resist change if you feel excluded from participating in the change process. Behavioral coping strategy - You want to know how everyone feels about the changes ahead. You work best when you know that the whole group is supportive of each other and that everyone champions the change process. If the change adversely affects someone in the group, you will perceive change as a crisis. Directive coping strategy - You want specifics on how the change will affect you and what your own role will be during the change process. If you know the rules of the change process and the desired outcome, you will act rapidly and aggressively to achieve change goals. You resist change if the rules or anticipated results are not clearly defined.

Realizing what our normal decision-making style is, can enable us to develop personal change-coping tactics.

How can we cope with change?

Getting at least this much comprehension of the big picture will help us to understand where each of us fits.

2. Do some anchoring. - When everything around you is in a state of flux, it sure helps to find something stable that isn't going to change, no matter what. Your company's values (whether articulated or not) can provide that kind of stability for you. Ours include the Company Family, Focus on the Customer, Be Committed to Quality, and Maintain Mutual Respect. These values are rock-solid; they are not going to disappear or rearrange themselves into something else. Plus, each of us has personal values that perhaps are even more significant and permanent. Such immovables can serve as anchors to help us ride out the storm.

3. Keep your expectations realistic. - A big part of taking control of the change you experience is to set your expectations. You can still maintain an optimistic outlook, but aim for what is realistically attainable. That way, the negatives that come along won't be so overwhelming, and the positives will be an adrenaline rush. Here are some examples:

Invest time and energy in training. Sharpen your skills so that you can meet the challenges ahead with confidence. If the training you need is not available through Bowne, get it somewhere else, such as the community college or adult education program in your area.

Get help when you need it. If you are confused or overwhelmed with the changes swirling around you, ask for help. Your supervisor, manager, or coworkers may be able to assist you in adjusting to the changes taking place. Your human resources department and any company-provided counseling services are other resources available to you.

Make sure the change does not compromise either your company values or your personal ones. If you are not careful, the technological advances jostling each other for your attention and adoption will tend to isolate you from personal contact with your coworkers and customers. E-mail, teleconference, voice-mail, and Intranet can make us more in touch with each other, or they can keep us antiseptically detached, removed from an awareness that the digital signals we are sending reach and influence another flesh-and-blood human being.

Aware of this tendency, we must actively counteract the drift in this direction by taking an interest in people and opening up ourselves to them in return. We have to remember to invest in people--all of those around us--not just in technology.

The "new normalcy"

Ultimately, we may discover that the current state of flux is permanent. After the events of September 11, Vice President Richard Cheney said we should accept the many resultant changes in daily life as permanent rather than temporary. "Think of them," he recommended, "as the 'new normalcy.'"

You should take the same approach to the changes happening at your workplace. These are not temporary adjustments until things get "back to normal." They are probably the "new normalcy" of your life as a company. The sooner you can accept that these changes are permanent, the better you can cope with them all--and enjoy their positive results.


1. Nancy J. Barger and Linda K. Kirby, The Challenge of Change in Organizations: Helping Employees Thrive in the New Frontier (Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black Publ., 1995). This source is summarized in Mary M. Witherspoon, "Coping with Change," Women in Business 52, 3 (May/June 2000): 22-25.

2. Susan Taylor, "Embracing Change," Essence (Feb. 2002): 5.

3. Alan J. Rowe and Richard O. Mason, Managing with Style: A Guide to Understanding, Assessing and Improving Decision-Making (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Management Series, 1987) cited in Witherspoon, "Coping with Change."

4. Emily Friedman, "Creature Comforts," Health Forum Journal 42, 3 (May/June 1999): 8-11. Futurist John Naisbitt has addressed this tendency in his book, High tech/high touch: Technology and our search for meaning (New York: Random House, 1999). Naisbitt co-wrote this book with his daughter Nana Naisbitt and Douglas Philips.

Coping with Change: Develop Your Personal Strategy

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Copyright ©2006 Steve Singleton

Steve Singleton has written and edited several books and numerous articles. He has been an editor, reporter, and public relations consultant. He has taught college-level Greek, Bible, and religious studies courses and has taught seminars in 11 states and the Caribbean.

Go to his for Bible study resources, no matter what your level of expertise. Explore "The Shallows," plumb "The Depths," or use the well-organized "Study Links" for original sources in English translation. Check out the DeeperStudy Bookstore for great e-books, free books, and great discounts. Subscribe to his free "DeeperStudy Newsletter" or "DeeperStudy Blog."

The Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

What are the fundamental differences between strategy and tactics? Even the savviest on-line and off-line entrepreneurs frequently confuse the two.


Tactics are the day-to-day activities that are repeatable in your business and relatively clear-cut. Like blocking and tackling in football, they comprise the basic components of the jobs and the daily activities of any organization - or any business - no matter the size.

The Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

They are such things as SEO Campaigns, writing an article, creating a website, making a sales call, or perhaps joining an on-line community such as StomperNet, or Rich Schefren's Business Growth System. Tactics are specifically created and selected to reach particular and measurable objectives.

Tactics are the actual ways in which the strategies are executed. They may also include such things as newsletters, press releases, teleseminars, blogs, advertising, websites, and any other tool that your target markets are usually exposed to.

Tactics are easy to copy. If one company observes innovations in another company's products, for example, the observing company can easily duplicate what it has seen, or develop something comparable if straight duplication is not possible. As soon as the process or product is copied, the competitive advantage of the innovation recedes or disappears.

If you are not careful, tactics may end up being simply quick fixes that can bring short term gain, but they will not lead to long-term success unless rigorously applied; and they must be part of an overall plan for success. Therefore, it is critical to look at each tactic from the standpoint of what it will do to achieve your overall strategy.

Most businesses today tend to be tactically focused. You work diligently every day in your office, doing task after task, but most often without a strategic focus.
Being mainly tactically focused will result in a lot of ups and downs in your business, and very likely a long, slow (or very fast) decline in the value of your business.

Strategy, on the other hand, is perspective, that is, your Future Picture and direction. Strategy involves the "big picture" - the overall plan, and how those plans will achieve your goals and objectives. It involves deciding who the important stakeholders are, and which of them will be the recipients of your messages (i.e., "target audiences"), or the targets of your activities.
Your strategy is the framework, your compass that you will use to make decisions that will benefit the future outcome of your business. Strategy is the set of directions you make to enhance your situation and position within your overall market.

Without a well thought out strategy, your business is merely like a person wandering around uselessly in the dark. There is neither a planned direction of where to go in the future, nor which methods to use to get there. Tactics and strategy are always relative to one another, and together they bridge the gap between ends and means.

To succeed in your business environment, it is vital to plan a strategy that connects your activities to your overall plans. If you have a solid understanding of where you want to be at some defined point in the future, it becomes a relatively simple exercise to create a set of activities to get you there. If you know where you are going, there will be a way to get there - always.

Recognize that there is a difference between strategy and tactics, and do not confuse the two. The company that clearly understands that difference is the business that will be the most successful, the most durable - and the most profitable.

The Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

Certified Professional Management Consultant Jim McCarthy currently works in Oceanside, CA with his wife, Career Consultant Barbara McCarthy.
For information on a complete Strategic Planning System, please go to Internet Marketing

Significant Problems Encountered in Implementing a New Strategy in a Business

''Strategy is defined as the determination of the basic long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for carrying out those goals'' Chandler(1962)

Strategy is a process and could be considered in fewer than three stages. These are: strategic analysis; this is the stage where through analysis the strategist identifies the opportunities threats, strengths and weaknesses in the environment; the strategic formulation stage, where a choice is made and the strategy implementation stage is the stage where the strategy is translated into action.


Implementing a strategy or strategy implementation is defined as "the translation of strategy into organisational action through organisational structure and design, resource planning and the management of strategic change".

Significant Problems Encountered in Implementing a New Strategy in a Business

Analysing the definition, it becomes obvious that strategy implementation is somewhat complex. Therefore, the successful implementation of a strategy would be how well the various components in carrying it out are successfully integrated and interact.

To identify significant problems encountered in implementing a new strategy in a business, a critical look at the components to be applied in implementing the strategy would be a good pointer. These are considered below: Organisational structure and design; and strategy implementation; translating the strategy into organisational action by using the structure of the organization will also be dependent on the type of structure in use in the organization. This is so because the needs of a multinational organization are different from those of a small business. It is also possible that the extent of devolution or centralisation can influence strategy implementation.

For example using a matrix structure which often takes the forms of product and geographical divisions or functional and divisional structures operating in tandem; the time taken for decisions to be made may be much longer than in more conventional structures. The organisational structure and design aspect of the strategy implementation deals with how the human resources in the organization are mobilised and organised to bring about the corporate strategy. The main significant problems encountered through the usage of organisational aspect in strategy implementation is the fact that most of the employees can leave the firm if they feel that they are being 'used' in actual fact if they are not motivated. This is particularly so where the CEO or senior management imposes the strategy on the employees.

Another problem encountered here is the way and manner information is passed down or up the ranks. If there is a blockage which impedes the flow of information processes it means that decisions would be made based on outdated or obsolete information. This can be solved by devolving the central command for easy flow of information among all rank and files especially in implementing a new strategy in a business. Recognition must be given to organisational structure and design's set up where operational and strategic decisions are made, there should be compromise if implementing a new strategy will succeed in any business.

The next aspect in strategy implementation - resource planning sets out resources and competences need to be created. It deals with the identification of resources needed and how those resources will be deployed and controlled to create the competences needed to implement the strategies successfully. This resource configuration is dependent on: protecting unique resources i.e. where a strategy depends on the uniqueness of a particular resource such as patent; and it must be protected; by legal means; fitting resources together, (mix resources to create competence) business process re-engineering (to create a dynamic improvement in performance) and exploiting experience by learning and improving continuously to improve competence.

One of the major problems of strategy implementation as a result of resource planning is a failure to translate statements of strategic purpose, such as gaining market share into critical factors that will make the purpose achievable and ultimately achieved. This a critical success factor analysis can be pursue as a start in resource planning. For example a definite timetable might be needed for an organization trying to introduce, say a new product for Christmas. A detailed examination of the timing has to be done if production and its marketing would be a success; as well as the allocation of funds for this undertaking. The problem here is that due to the non-uniformity in the times needed for the various activities, it is difficult to know where to start.

Scholes et Johnson (1999) writes that the circularity of the problem is quite usual in developing a plan of action, and raises the question of where to start - with a market forecast, an available level of funds, a production-level constraint, or what? The answer is that it may not matter too much where the starting point is, since the plan will have to be reworked and readjusted several times. A useful guideline is to enter the problem through what appears to be the major change area. An organization planning new strategies of growth may well start with an assessment of market opportunity. Someone starting a new business may will begin with a realistic assessment of how much capital they might have available.

Critical path analysis is recommended for strategies which have detailed planning of implementation. Another problem envisaged is the conflict arising among departments on the allocation of funds especially where money is involved in the implementation of the new strategy.

The next component in the implementation stage of the strategy is the management of strategic change. It is widely accepted that strategic change builds on four underlying premises:

1.There is a clear view within an organization of the strategy to be followed.
2.Change will not occur unless there is a commitment to change
3.The approach to managing strategic change is likely to be context dependent.
4.Change must address the powerful influence of the paradigm and cultural web on, the strategy being followed by the organization.

There are two types of change - incremental change-which merely builds on the skills, routines and beliefs of those in the organization, so that change is efficient and likely to win their commitment, and transformational change - which requires the organization to change its paradigm over time. It could be a change in routine (''the way of doing things around here''. It could also be a change in strategy that will necessitate the change. Although the implementation of strategy concerns the changing aspect of organization structure, control systems and resource planning which does affect the day-to-day operations of members of the organization; people's behaviours and perceptions may not have changed.

To effect a successful strategy implementation, management must also adopt appropriate styles to manage the change processes. For example, it there is a problem in managing change based on misinformation, or lack of information, education and communication style will be used. This involves the explanation of the reasons for and means of strategic change. Collaboration or participation involving those who will be affected by strategic change in the identification of strategic issues; intervention, direction and coercion styles.

Associated with management of strategic change is the problem of change management. It becomes absolutely difficult to manage the change which comes about as a result of the implementation. For example some managers will lose their position as a result of the change (delayering) others might be made redundant as a result of do upsizing others might still lose their job titles or position which they cherished most as a result of business process re-engineering. This will demotivate the staff and the organization may lose some competent staff. Others may have to be retrained to take up new positions or demoted if they are to remain in the organization. This kind of problem can be avoided if management adopts a participatory style of leadership and get the staff involve from the formulation to the implementation stages of the strategy.

In conclusion, it could be expedient to point out that just as there are numerous definitions of strategy, its implementation style might differ and so might its attendant problems and solutions. Nevertheless, since implementation involves the controlling of others behaviours and sometimes perceptions and culture, most problems would be human-related and probably possible solutions would be dependent on management style and behaviour of the leadership in terms of structure and availability and allocation of resources.

Significant Problems Encountered in Implementing a New Strategy in a Business


Cole, G.A (2000) Strategic Management, 2nd Edition, Continuum, London.
Drucker, P.F (1993) the Practice of Management; Butterworth and Heinemann, Oxford.

How to Develop a Training Strategy

1) What is a Training Strategy?

Training and development in an organization requires implementation to achieve success. Therefore, the strategy will require vision, focus, direction and an action planning document. A training strategy is a mechanism that establishes what competencies an organization requires in the future and a means to achieve it.


2) Why have a Training Strategy?

How to Develop a Training Strategy

Many points can be put forward in favor of why you need a training strategy. The most compelling though rests in the results of a recent study of 3,000 companies done by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

They found that 10% of revenue -

spent on capital improvements, boosts productivity by 3.9%

spent on developing human capital, increased productivity by 8.5%

Remember, anything worth achieving, is worth planning for!

3) What are a Training Strategy's Components?

There are many important aspects to consider here. To create the Strategic Training and Development Plan, you will need a detailed profile of your;

  • Employee Training and Train-the-Trainer needs,
  • Team Building and Team Development,
  • Leadership Development,
  • Executive Coaching,
  • Competency Requirements and Skills Profiling,
  • Objectives and Action Plans,
  • Vision.

All of these profiles will further have to be considered within the realms of Equity and Diversity, Organization Values, Business Process Improvement, Change Management and Organization Design and Structure.

4) How are Training Strategies Created?

The most successful and profitable approach has been to;

Identify the customer's training needs in terms of their organizational strategic plan, HR strategic plan, personal development plans and focus on comprehensive interviews or focus groups,

  • Establish development gaps, present and future,
  • Set organizational training objectives,
  • Create a training action plan, which must ensure that the necessary systems are in place, access resources, source or design training and position the training. The training must then be delivered and co-ordinated,
  • Monitor the training,
  • Evaluate the training by assessment and verification, and
  • Revise training and/or training plan.

5) How are Training Strategies Implemented?

A strategy designed but not implemented is worthless!

In order to bring about the best results for the training strategy, the training products or services need to be marketed and promoted by manipulating the following;

  • Product/Service - keep the training cutting edge and future focused. Make sure there is a practical transfer of learning, put a development support network in place, and ensure alignment to quality standards.
  • Promotion - commit to a core training value system. Create a slogan or tagline to brand your training. Bridge the gap between perception and reality. Give your training a personality and a brand, and remember your customers (your employees are customers) want to know, "What's in it for me".
  • Price - cost the training accurately and calculate the value received.
  • Place - decide between on-the-job, classroom, distance learning, web-based and virtual learning. Access, location, and distribution are key to consider.
  • People's needs - establish what your customers want and need. Ensure your customers know the training is meeting their needs and that these needs provide a base for decisions in all other areas.
  • Project Management - Establish roles and responsibilities. Action the Training and Development Strategic Plan. Monitor and evaluate progress and make adjustments where necessary.

View our Training Strategy diagram for a visual perspective.

How to Develop a Training Strategy

To learn more about how you can benefit from our Organizational Development Training programs, please visit us at our website.

Business Strategy Game Quiz Answers

Most Business Strategy Game classes have quizzes separated in difficulty known as "BSG Quiz 1" and BSG Quiz 2". The quizzes have many in game questions relating to the rules, and some questions can be very difficult. Especially in BSG Quiz 2, the answers will need to be solved using basic business knowledge. Here is an example of a question in BSG Quiz 2.

Given the following exchange rate changes:


Year 1 Year 2
Euros (EUR) per US$ 0.8230 0.8165
Sing$ per Brazilian real 0.5860 0.5710
Brazilian real per euro (EUR) 3.7030 3.7180
US$ per Sing$ 0.5940 0.5980

Business Strategy Game Quiz Answers

Then, as explained on the Help screen for the Branded Sales Report, it follows that:

* The euro has grown weaker versus the US$.

* The Brazilian real has grown stronger against the Sing$.

* The Brazilian real has grown stronger versus the euro.

* The euro has grown stronger against the US$.

* The US$ has grown stronger versus the Sing$.

This is how you answer this question. If year 1 values are lower than year 2, that means it takes more money to purchase another currency in the present year. Or in effect, that the currency will grow weaker.

If year 1 is higher than year 2, that means it takes less money to purchase another currency. Or in effect, that the currency will grow stronger.

So let's deduce which one is the right answer.

"The euro will grow weaker versus the US$."

This can not be right, as the numbers have gotten smaller in the second year, which actually means the currency has gotten bigger.

"The Brazilian real will grow stronger against the Sing$."

As the second number has gotten smaller that means the currency has gotten stronger. But the currency in question is the Sing being stronger, and the words are reversed in this answer. This answer is wrong.

"The Brazilian real will grow stronger versus the euro."

The second number is larger than the first, which means that the currency has gotten weaker. Another wrong one.

"The euro will grow stronger against the US$."

By deducing the first answer, it made this answer automatically right. As the first number is higher than the second, which means the currency has gotten stronger.

"The US$ will grow stronger versus the Sing$."

As the second number has gotten bigger, this means the currency has gotten weaker, and this answer is wrong.

Tough stuff eh? It's not that hard if you walk away and come back to it. But this is how tricky the quiz can get.

Business Strategy Game Quiz Answers

Get more helpful tips and BSG advice from a former BSG Grand Champion by visiting BSG Tips. Email for more answers to BSG Quiz 1 and 2.

Effective Marketing Strategy in Retail

The retail sector is one of the most competitive in the business world, and so effective marketing strategy is needed in order to be successful. However, many retailers get caught up in the day-to-day running of their companies and don't use all their business strategy expertise to push their business forward. If you are in the retail business, then you need to wake up and think carefully about your current marketing strategy. If you don't you could find yourself trailing behind the competition and losing business to other retailers. If you want to improve your retail marketing strategy, then here is some advice to get you started.

Use the Internet


With the Internet increasing in popularity all the time, it is extremely important to use Internet marketing as a way to improve market share. In order to improve your access to customers, create a web site where customers can view your merchandise and possibly buy products online. Selling your products online is a great way of expanding your business without having to spend lots of money on new premises or retail locations. However, if you don't want to develop online business, then you can still advertise your business online. Effective marketing strategy should use all mediums available to improve business exposure, and with online advertising a low cost and effective medium it makes sense to take advantage of the opportunity.

Effective Marketing Strategy in Retail

Offer a promotion

Retail business is extremely competitive, and so even the smallest of promotions can give you an edge over your competitors. Your business strategy should be to come up with regular and innovative promotions to entice customers into your store. These promotions can range from offering a free gift with certain products to a competition entry when certain items are purchased. If you keep your marketing strategy fresh with new promotions then you will definitely remain competitive and will attract customers to your products.

Signage and storefront are important

Although you can use plenty of complex marketing strategy techniques to attract customers, nothing is simpler and more effective than having a bold and effective storefront and signage. If you have a shop window, then keep the displays up to date and imaginative. Change the display each season and alter your sign every few years to keep things looking good. However, make sure that you keep the signage them constant so that your brand and store are easily recognisable. Make sure your sign can be seen from as far a distance as possible. Sometimes, the simplest marketing strategies are the best, and keeping your store bright and attractive is one such method.

Ask customers what they want

Your marketing strategy ideas might be great, but if you really want to improve your business then you need to ask the people that matter most - the customers. Effective marketing strategy should always begin by asking customers what sort of products, services and promotions they want. This will give you a better idea of how to market your products and improve your customer base. If there is one thing you should learn about effective business strategy, it is to listen to your loyal customers and then cater to their needs through effective marketing strategy.

Effective Marketing Strategy in Retail

Julie-Ann Amos is a freelance business writer on business and property investment, and owner of She recommends as one of the most effective sources of information for small businesses and property investment. Their property investment forum is a place to find information hard to locate elsewhere.