Negotiation Strategy Vs Tactics

I have spent over twenty-five years now studying, practicing, and teaching martial arts. This includes time spent in the United States Army and living in Japan and Korea studying martial arts there. Two important concepts that I have studied, taught, and written about in a martial or military format are equally important when teaching negotiation. These concepts are strategy and tactics. Sometimes I see people mistakenly using one term when they actually mean the other. In this short article, I want to describe the differences between strategy and tactics as well as illustrate the relationship between the two.



Strategy is the overall, big picture, plan, which includes goals or desired outcomes. In the military, strategy is the utilization, during both peace and war, or all of a nation's forces, through large-scale, long-range planning and development, to ensure security or victory. Another definition would be a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result. A well known strategy used by the Allies in WWII was that of strategic bombing in Europe. The Army Air Corps' strategic bombing doctrine was based on the theory that a bombing force could pound the adversary until its industrial base was destroyed, and with it, its ability and will to wage war. While this example helps illustrate the concept of strategy, it is unfortunate that many of us have probably encountered negotiators that worked from a very similar strategic doctrine.

Strategic negotiation is simply the act of devising and carrying out a well thought out plan to achieve your desired outcomes. Often, it is your plan to convince another party to give you something that you want and on your terms. The first thing you must determine when developing a negotiation strategy is what do you really want? What is the purpose of the negotiation? Do you want to purchase a house or commercial building? Do you want a raise in your salary? Do you want to settle a matter that is being litigated? Once you know what you want, and have devised a strategy, you can implement the tactics that will help you achieve your desired outcome.

When one is developing strategy, it is often easier to break your planning into phases. Here is a simple model used with martial arts and warfare that you will notice fits with negotiating equally well:

1. Identify your strategic objectives
2. Collect intelligence
3. Plan for environment
4. Program for engagement


Tactics are simply the means by which you carry out your strategy. In the military tactics deals with the use and deployment of troops in actual combat, more specifically, it is the military science that deals with securing objectives set by strategy, especially the technique of deploying and directing troops, ships, and aircraft in effective maneuvers against an enemy. In our example above with the Army Air Corps, the tight formations employed by the bombers to make the best use of the bombers' heavy armament and prevent German fighters from singling out and swarming on lone planes is an example of a tactic used to help carry out the strategy. Another tactic was the employment of high altitude bombing when low level bombing proved to vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire.

One must be very careful not to focus upon activity, means, or tactics at the expense of accomplishment, achieving goals, or desired outcomes. Above all else, obtaining one's objectives in negotiations should be paramount. Of course, the tactics, activities or means we use should always be appropriate and ethical, but we must remember they are merely the ways to attain desired outcomes. Examples of negotiation tactics include things such as:

1. Giving ultimatums
2. Nibbling
3. Shocked or surprised looks
4. Good cop/Bad cop
5. Walk away

There are many tactics people use while negotiating. There is nothing wrong with using certain tactics to carry out your strategy and obtain your objectives. It is not necessarily unethical, deceptive, or unscrupulous to use negotiating tactics, even though some may want you to believe this. Yes, some tactics may be unethical, and as I stated above, we should always be appropriate and ethical, but there is nothing wrong with being competitive.

No, I have not forgotten the Principled Negotiation strategy taught by Fisher and Ury in "Getting To Yes." However, I also realize that sometimes we will be in competitive negotiations, and knowing various tactics can give us the edge. As an attorney, I realize some clients hire an attorney to be their pit bull, and while win-win might be the ideal, some of these clients only care about a win in their column. Practically speaking, we attorneys must deliver for our clients if we want to stay in business. In other fields of business, you run across competitive barganing as well, and knowing tactics may be quite beneficial. Additionally, knowing various negotiation tactics, and the counterattacks, prepare us for when others use them against us.


Strategy and tactics are concepts as old as conflict itself. By understanding the differences and relationships between the two, the successful negotiator can better plan and implement the strategies and tactics to reach specific desired outcomes. There is a reason so many successful business people study the ancient military classics such as "The Art of War" and "The Book of Five Rings." There is a reason why so many successful business people play strategic military games such as Go and Chess. The lessons learned from military sources, especially strategy and tactics, can easily be adapted to help us be better business people, better litigators, and better negotiators.

Negotiation Strategy Vs Tactics

Alain Burrese, J.D. is a mediator/attorney with Bennett Law Office P.C. and an author/speaker through his own company Burrese Enterprises Inc. He writes and speaks about a variety of topics focusing on the business areas of negotiation and success principles as well as self-defense and safety topics. He is the author of Hard-Won Wisdom From the School of Hard Knocks, several instructional dvds, and numerous articles. You can find out more about Alain Burrese at his websites or

The Importance of Corporate Strategy

Let's talk about strategy. A lot of companies that we work with spend too much time focusing on tactics and execution and not enough time really determining what their overall strategy is as a business and the impact on spending enough time at the strategic level can really have an stunting impact on a company's overall ability to accelerate its sales, gain market leadership, and really power up its revenue growth. A lot of CEO's get bored when it comes to spending time on strategy and they view strategic work as being theoretical or hypothetical exercise that doesn't add a lot of value to a company. But when you look a little bit more deeply, companies that execute really well usually start by having a strong foundation in their strategic objectives and their strategic plans.

Many companies that do well in strategic planning actually formalize this process and conduct it on a periodic basis and make sure that their strategy is updated and aligned with changes in the market, changes that are going on with their competitors, changes that are going on with their customers in terms of specific needs, preferences, and overall requirements. So, a company that does good work on strategy has a much better change at being successful than a company that neglects this important area. Strategy is all about setting the foundation for understanding how to be successful in a market and how to win.


Companies that have a good go to market strategy or strategic marketing plan are in a much better position to execute, according to a company's overall vision and to leadership's overall vision, than companies that don't. It's the job of leadership to provide this vision and set the framework for building a go to market strategy that can allow the company to be successful in its target markets and achieve its revenue and profit objectives over time. Strategy is also important in terms of being able to align the different elements of a business together and make sure that all of the people in your organization clearly understand where the company is going and what's required in order to get there as well as what role they will play in executing the company's overall successful strategy.

When leaders don't spend sufficient time defining their go to market strategy, often times the company suffers and resources are wasted. Members of the team don't understand what exactly it is they are trying to accomplish. Resources are wasted as sales people hunt for opportunities that don't fit with the company's core strategic objectives. And in general, a company that doesn't have alignment on strategy, is under-optimized and wasting time and effort on needless things that don't contribute to the company's overall bottom line success and leadership in the market.

It's the responsibility of a company's leadership to set the overall strategic direction for the company and make sure that they are keepers of strategy as the company moves forward and evolves. Second of all, to set that and to develop it as a vision for the company that can be projected and communicated outwards to its market place as well as internally with its employees. Good leaders plan. Good leaders have a strong focus on what the company's strategic direction is and work to align all of the companies constituents, including internal employees, as well as clients, business partners, channel partners, etc. with the company's overall strategy.

The Importance of Corporate Strategy

Cube Management helps companies accelerate their sales, by providing the Sales & Marketing talent they need to grow their business. Cube is a leading recruiting and consulting partner to mid-market and emerging growth companies in the technology, manufacturing, healthcare and business service sectors. We work across the spectrum of Sales, Marketing and Business Development, providing holistic solutions that drive revenue and profit success. Cube Management combines Strategy, Process and People, to produce great results. Download the Cube Management Recruiting Guide and the Cube Management Inside Sales Guide.

Chess Strategy

Chess is a conceptual strategy board game for two players. It is played on a square board of eight rows and eight columns. The rows are known as ranks and the columns are known as files. This results in sixty-four squares of alternating color. Each player starts the game with sixteen pieces, which are gradually eradicated in time (captured and removed from the board by opposing pieces) as the game proceeds. The main objective of the game is to checkmate the opponent. This usually takes place when no further move can prevent the king from being captured. Chess has since long reigned as one of the world's most popular games. It has been described not only as a game but also as an art and a science, which requires a lot of thinking and patience. Chess strategies are extremely important as it helps players understand the finer aspects and features related to the game of chess.

A game of chess is divided into three segments, the chess opening, the middle game, and the end game. An appropriate analysis of the openings is also considered to be extremely vital in conceptualizing an effective strategy. Players should be well conversant with the subtleties and beauties of the many and compound variations in the different chess openings. Often it is the starting move, which determines the move and strategy to be followed. The middle game refers to the phase of the game that takes place after the opening and usually merges somewhat with the endgame. During this time, an effective strategy revolves around players attempting to reinforce their positions while weakening their opponent's. The endgame is that point of the game when there are only some pieces left on the chessboard. Here the strategies used in the beginning and the middle comes to use.


In chess, detailed knowledge of the moves and how to play under certain given conditions play a crucial role in determining the game strategy to be followed. An efficient strategy acts as a guideline in ensuring a good game of chess.

Chess Strategy

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Affiliate Article Marketing 101

While there are a myriad of strategies to make money online, one of the most popular is affiliate marketing. However, even in the subset of affiliate marketing there are many ways to make a buck online.

The best way in my opinion is affiliate article marketing.


Writing articles and putting affiliate links in them is what affiliate article marketing is all about.

Article directories are definitely popular for anyone who even remotely has any search engine optimization efforts.

Let's say you want to promote a money making product online, for example. Now we'll assume it is a guide on how to make money from ClickBank. ClickBank is a popular affiliate retailer.

So let's continue still and say that the keyphrase "making money with ClickBank" is the one your site will target.

Your keyphrase (in this case "making money with ClickBank") is what you want to rank highly for in the search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Enter the affiliate article marketing aspect. You now want to write articles on how to make money with ClickBank.

You can get some great ideas from the sales page of the product you want to promote. Confused still?

When you promote someone else's product online, you are said to be an affiliate of that product. Every time a sale is made through your affiliate link, the owner will pay you a percentage of the sale. One of the best ways to rank high in the search engines is through this affiliate article marketing.

When done writing, submit it to an article directory.

Pay attention, a lot of SEO'ers forget this:

Article directories do not allow you to place links in the articles themselves. You can, however, put them in the signature box. Do not forget to do this!

Backlinks point back to your site. Do not forget to use anchor text in your backlinks.

To avoid duplicate content, I recommend submitting one article to only one article directory. The search engines take duplicate content very seriously. It will negatively affect your internet marketing efforts and undermine you affiliate article marketing strategy for sure. Write more articles, get more backlinks, get more traffic, make more money. Thanks for reading this and I wish you the best in all of your affiliate article marketing efforts.

Affiliate Article Marketing 101

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How to End Your Sales Letter With a Major Bang

A closer is someone who can finish the job. Many people can get far, but often have a hard time closing the sale. A sales letter must keep the attention of the reader until you can get them to take action, whatever action you want them to take. Most people talk about creating a compelling intro, but the end of your sales letter will have a major impact on your conversion rate.

Read these ten Power Packed paths to End Your Ad Copy and you will begin to see what I am trying to say about the power of a strong close. As with anything you pursue, practice makes perfect, so give these a try in your sales messages and see which ones work the best for you. The point is and I won't stress this enough - if you're ready to bother to try the alternative approaches you'll soon find one that might kick your sales overboard.


1-Use your strongest benefit as the example. Pick the one major selling point and make sure they know it.

2-Try ending your ad copy by telling folk what will occur if they do not buy your product. Remind them of their problems that you can fix.

3-Ask a string of "yes" answer questions. Use this strategy to finish your ad copy, and use questions they can always say yes too. They then will be used to asserting yes when you ask them to order.

4-Repeat all of the major benefits and features they are going to receive, and remind them how much better life will be with your product or service in it.

5- You might end your ad copy with a cut-off point. Tell them it's a restricted time offer and they have to order by a particular date. This is common because it works.

6-Try ending your ad copy with a dynamic guarantee. In fact, a guarantee is almost a must, as it give many people the confidence to make the purchase who would otherwise pass.

7-You might end your ad copy with a testimonial. Ensure you ask your clients authorization to run their testimonial in your adverts. Testimonials are hugely effective and need to be REAL.

8-Or you might end your ad copy with an extra bonus. When you give them a great bonus it increases the product's recognized value. Just list your usual price and then supply a reduced price off the order at the moment.

9-End your ad copy with a sample or trial of your product. If your ad didn't attract them to buy, perhaps a free trial or trial would get them to take the leap.

These powerful selling strategies can add a major bang to your sales copy, giving you a better conversion ration and higher profits. This will make the most effective and rewarding use of your website traffic and leads.

How to End Your Sales Letter With a Major Bang

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Creating Your Perfect Article Summary - 7 Tips

What should be in your article summary?

It's otherwise known as an abstract or article teaser. The purpose of your article summary is to entice a potential reader to read the rest of your article. It's a sales pitch for the benefits your article delivers and in many cases, it makes the difference as to whether your article gets read or bypassed.


Remove your "author/writer" hat and put on your "copywriter" thinking cap:

Here's what should be in your article summary:

  • Should be 2-7 sentences in length
  • Emotional benefits listed that speak directly to your target reader's interests.
  • Reasons why your target ideal reader should continue reading your article.
  • Mentions of at least 4-7 keywords relating to your article topic using keyword research tools.

Here's what should not be in your article summary:

  • Do not repeat the title of your article or your author name in your summary. This is redundant.
  • Leave out the sales pitch for yourself or your business.
  • Leave out your URL and email address.
  • Leave out any blatant self-promotion. You're here to do blatant article-promotion, not self- promotion.
  • Never more than 2 paragraphs or 14 sentences.

7 Quick Tips To Help You Write Your Perfect Article Summary:

Tip #1) Don't start it with words like "This article contains this or that." Get right to the point and playfully tease your audience with the benefits that they will get if they take the next step to read the rest of your article.

Tip #2) If you don't know what to put in your summary -- use the first paragraph of your article. If you're a good writer, you already have your first paragraph loaded with hooks to grab the reader's interests to pull them into the rest of the article.

Tip #3) Your article conclusion paragraph can help provide clues for what should be in your article summary. Just don't give away the farm in the summary.

Tip #4) Your article summary is about the WHY, not the HOW. Sell them on why what you're presenting in the article is important to them and that they will learn the "how" if they continue reading.

Tip #5) Keep tips and strategies OUT of your article summary. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. You're in sales mode, not teach mode.

Tip #6) Use smart keyword density research to ensure your article summary hits the key terms and keywords relating to your article. The worst thing you could do is include an article summary that uses 1-3 syllable words that barely mention your topic category. Be lavish with the rich use of buzz words and keywords that are related to your primary article topic. One word of caution: Write for the reader and not for the search engines. When you cross that line, you reduce your effectiveness over the long-term.

Tip #7) Originality matters. Your article summary should come from your brain. Never copy someone else's article summary or style if it's unique to them.

Creating Your Perfect Article Summary Conclusion:

Be brief and bold in your summary - promising the benefits your reader will get if they read on. This is your chance to pitch why your target reader will benefit personally if they continue reading your article. Unlike your resource box where you pitch yourself and your business or website address, the article summary is your article's only sales pitch. Leverage it well and don't waste the opportunity by overlooking this important article writing & marketing strategy.

Creating Your Perfect Article Summary - 7 Tips

About The Author:

Christopher M. Knight invites you to submit your best quality original articles for massive exposure to the high-traffic expert author community. When you submit your articles to, your articles will be picked up by ezine publishers who will reprint your articles with your content and links intact giving you traffic surges to help you increase your sales. To submit your article, setup a membership account today:

(c) Copyright - Christopher M. Knight. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Forces and Trends in Business

The corporate environment is characterized by a number of variables: competition, dynamism, turbulence, complexity and change. All organizations must develop ability to continuously and consciously transform themselves and their contexts. Such contexts include restructuring for optimum effectiveness, reengineering key processes and streamlining functions that are able to provide a source of competitive advantage. The aim is to adapt, regenerate and most important, survive. (McLean, 2006).

For a company to thrive today, strategists must find ways to increase the organization's ability to read and react to industry and market changes. They must know their goal to boost the company's strategic flexibility by recognizing disruptions earlier and responding faster.
Strategic flexibility or adaptability can be defined as the organization’s capacity to identify major changes in its external environments, quickly commit resources to new courses of action in response to such changes, and to recognize and act promptly when it is time to halt or reverse existing resource commitments. Being adaptable means leaders must not get stuck in a too-rigid way of looking at the world. The organization must view change as an inevitable and essential part of an organization's growth, in order to achieve this adaptability.


When there is uncertainty or unpredictability in the environment, managers tend to focus almost all their energy on successfully executing the current strategy. What they also should be doing is preparing for an unknown future. Flexibility stems from the ability to learn; managers tend to overlook the negative and emphasize the positive. They need to understand not only what led to the positive outcomes but also what led to the negative ones. This will optimize their learning experience. According to Ford (2004) four points to foster and maintain adaptability include challenging complacency, giving all employees a voice, encouraging participative work and driving fear out of your group.

The companies chosen for this task vary by industry: a famous automobile manufacturer (Ford) a bank going through a merger (Compass) and a start-up software company (DawningStreams). Ford and Compass have been in business for a long time; it is likely they have changed their strategic plan based on changing forces and trends. DawningStreams is new (established in 2005 and incorporated in 2007). Even though they have not had their first sale and have no staff, the owners have devised several iterations of their strategy.

There is a diversity of stakeholders all that are interested in the activity of business organizations. Emphasis must be placed on their adaptability in strategic analysis and their adaptability in strategic management of business organizations. The organization must have a strategic management model.

Each company might scan the same areas, but for different reasons. Considering technological advances, Ford would prepare itself to lead the market by having various electronic equipment in their vehicles, as well as robotic equipment with which to build them and the supply chain technology to keep all in check. Compass Bank is going through a merge and expanding globally; therefore they will need to keep abreast of communication technology. DawningStreams is a software company; they will need to monitor those companies who would be their competition to ensure their product offers better functionality. All three companies would make sure potential customers would be able to get good information from internet websites and advertisement, which encompasses yet another area of technology the organizations may need/want to scan. In this instance, many members of the organization must be enrolled: upper management and finance, who will determine budgetary factors; the IT department, who will be responsible for the implementation and maintenance of some of the technology; the staff who must be trained to use the technology; a sales force who will sell the technology.

To the outside observer, it may seem unnecessary for any but Ford to scan the (actual) environment when it comes to issues such as emission control, fuel efficiency and hybrid cars. That is true however; Compass Bank and DawningStreams can plan a strategy to be friendlier to the environment (and their pocketbooks) by practicing paper reduction (through the aforementioned technology). Lastly, DawningStreams’ product may be useful as a file sharing service to environmental groups.

With regard to the legal environment, all three must be acutely aware of laws, which affect their respective industry among others. To Ford, legal applies, among other areas, to environmental protection laws and department of transportation safety laws. To Compass Bank, they would abide by the rules of the Federal Reserve ( and the Federal Insurance and Deposit Corporation ( DawningStreams must follow laws as they pertain to the transfer of files, which have intellectual property and also the export of products, which have algorithms. All three companies are global and will need to monitor those laws in other countries, which could effect the strategic planning.

At one company after another--from Sears to IBM to Hewlett-Packard to Searle, strategy is again a major focus in the quest for higher revenues and profits. With help from a new generation of business strategists, companies are pursuing novel ways to hatch new products, expand existing businesses, and create the markets of tomorrow. Some companies are even recreating full-fledged strategic-planning groups. United Parcel Service expects to spin out a new strategy group from its marketing department, where strategic plans are now hatched. Explains Chairman Kent C. Nelson: ``Because we're making bigger bets on investments in technology, we can't afford to spend a whole lot of money in one direction and then find out five years later it was the wrong direction.''

In such a world we need a planning model that allows us to anticipate the future and to use this anticipation in conjunction with an analysis of our organization--its culture, mission, strengths and weaknesses--to define strategic issues, to chart our direction by developing strategic vision and plans, to define how we will implement these plans and to specify how we will evaluate how well we are implementing these plans. The fact that the world is changing as we move forward in the future demands that the process be an iterative one.

Ford Motor Company – Socio-cultural

Ford Motor Company embraces the socio-cultural changes taking place to allow the company to move in the right direction with respect to attitudes in the society. Two areas that stand out in terms of socio-cultural attitudes would be that of fuel economy and smaller cars. The growing concern by the public for better fuel economy has influenced the company’s introduction of the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The organization is committed to the hybrid to improve fuel economy as a global strategy to meet customer demands. The increased demand in society for such environmentalism has assisted in the decision for Ford Motor Company to look forward to adding the hybrid feature to the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan and continue in such a strategic planning direction.

The customers that use these vehicles get a substantial break on their insurance in many states and a tax credit as well while enjoying the increased mileage of a vehicle that runs on gasoline and capabilities for 100 percent electric power. The environmental scanning by Ford Motor Company has allowed the company to be knowledgeable of the fact that the people in the United States are buying more small cars today than any other type of vehicle segment. The lifestyles changes have been monitored and there is good data that shows that such a trend will continue in this direction and the expected growth in this segment will continue. The company has redesigned the inside and outside of the Ford Focus to set the car apart from the competitors in the small car segment while increasing upgrades and features to experience positive outcomes. The direction that the company is taking is based on a competitive advantage and being a leader in the industry. The vehicle line has both a sedan and a coupe to attract targeted markets including younger buyers at an entry level to build upon brand loyalty and customer retention. Ford Motor Company will continue to use the socio-cultural factors to drive the business and enjoy future success.

Ford Motor Company – Legal –

Ford Motor Company with regard to the Environmental Protection Agency adheres to the legal aspect of environmental scanning. Ford Motor Company accepted an award in March 2007 from the Environmental Protection Agency called the Energy Star 2007 Partner of the Year Award in Energy Management. The company is the first automaker to have ever been awarded the award two years in a row. The award has come to be presented due to the commitment made by the company to increase energy efficiency and to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from all of the facilities in the company.

The organization is committed to the responsible use of resources and energy efficiency. The leadership realizes that the environmental protection laws are of great importance and use the environmental scanning to move in the right direction to obtain future success in the company. In 2006 alone the company has improved the energy efficiency in the United States operations by five percent and saving approximately million with enough energy saved to equal 220,000 homes. The effective energy management protects the environment and reduces the greenhouse emissions. Some of the actions taken by the company include replacing lighting fixtures that use 40 percent less energy and using different low-energy, long-lasting compact fluorescent lamps in the properties to include the plants, corporate offices, distribution centers, and research and development campuses. Due to the environmental scanning that takes place at Ford Motor Company the company will use the information that is collected and continue in this direction. New projects for the company include Fumes-to-Fuel that is a system that converts paint fumes into electricity that is being performed with Detroit Edison along with attempting to consolidate the application of primer, base and clearcoat paint applications into a single application to eliminate the need for separate applications and ovens. In addition to the paint booth emissions Ford Motor Company will continue to rely on alternative energy sources such as landfill gas and wind and solar technologies to power their manufacturing facilities.

Ford Motor Company – Technology –

Another environmental scanning tool that Ford Motor Company monitors and uses would be the technological portion. The company has invested billion in the latest technology for flexible manufacturing. The technology that is involved is in many forms to include wireless technology that is installed on the delivery trucks with supplies to the plant as a monitoring status and improved efficiency to reduce inventory. The flexibility of products in the same plant allows the organization to use the same machinery and process for all areas from body assembly, paint facility, and final assembly. The improved efficiency at the manufacturing facility allows for several vehicle platforms to be built on the same line to produce multiple models and quickly change the vehicle mix, the volume, and options based on customer demand.

The technological changes that are being embraced by Ford Motor Company through environmental scanning enables the company to experience huge cost savings through new product launches and 50 percent reductions in cycle changeovers along with waste reduction. Robots are among the technological changes that are being experienced within the organization to include the 400 from the project that are used to weld and assemble the metal body of the vehicle for stamping and assembly. Artificial intelligence in the form of advanced visions systems and laser tracking systems are used to ensure quality through accuracy and dimension abilities. A multi-million dollar training facility is used to ensure that the workforce has the knowledge, skills, and ability to reap the benefits from the new technology that is being used by the company. The training that is administered includes the new servo-electric weld gun system that identifies the perfect center for welding that has replaced the older and loud air-powered system that used a less sophisticated spring system. The environmental scanning of technology that is performed by Ford Motor Company has allowed the company to have positive outcomes in efficiency while remaining a competitive company in the industry through cost savings and continuous improvement.

Compass Bank- Political -

On February 16, 2007, Compass Bancshares, Inc., the parent company of Compass Bank, announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (NYSE: BBV Madrid: BBVA) ("BBVA") will acquire Compass for a combination of cash and stock. Compass will become a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of BBVA and will continue to operate under the Compass name. The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2007, pending customary closing conditions, including necessary bank regulatory approvals in the U.S. and Spain and the approval of the stockholders of both Compass and BBVA.

BBVA, which operates in 35 countries, is based in Spain and has substantial banking interests in the Americas. The transaction will facilitate BBVA’s continued growth in Texas and will create the largest regional bank across the Sunbelt. Upon completion of the transaction, Compass will rank among the top 25 banks in the United States with approximately billion in total assets, billion in total loans and billion in total deposits. In addition, the combined company will rank fourth in deposit market share in Texas with .6 billion in total deposits and 326 full-service banking offices.

Compass is a billion Southwestern financial holding company that operates 415 full-service banking centers in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas. Compass provides a broad array of products and services through three primary lines of business – Corporate Banking, Retail Banking and Wealth Management. Compass is among the top 30 U.S. bank holding companies by asset size and ranks among the top earners of its size based on return on equity.

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, which has been approved by the board of directors of Compass and the relevant bodies of BBVA, Compass will become a wholly owned subsidiary of BBVA. After closing, BBVA intends to merge its U.S. based banking affiliates – including the former operations of Texas Regional Bancshares, State National Bancshares and Laredo National Bancshares – with Compass.

The aggregate consideration is composed of a fixed number of approximately 196 million shares of BBVA common stock and approximately .6 billion in cash. The merger is subject to customary closing conditions, including necessary bank regulatory approvals in the U.S. and Spain and the approval of the stockholders of both Compass and BBVA. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2007.

The merger between both companies will be determined by the political factors ranging from implications of laws and regulations to the state of world politics including the consideration of wars which may be going on in different parts of the world. New laws, regulations, tax programs and public policy create forces and trends, which may provide challenges and barriers or opportunities for any company or organization.

Compass Bank – Technology –

Ford is in the process of implementing a laser marking system on its production line to ensure the highest standard on each transmission assembled. The system will be checking for quality on different points on the assembly line. Ford is teaming up with a company called MECCO to implement this process and a trial run of the new system will last for 3 months. MECCO is a leader in its industry when it comes to laser technology. The decision to implement this new laser marking system came because it is more cost- effective and safer than previous ways of marking checkpoints for quality.

Although this process at Ford has not officially been implemented yet, Compass Bank can learn a few different things. It may be a good idea for Compass Bank to do a short trial of online cell phone banking to see how popular it becomes and if it worth all the time and effort, being spent to get it launched. Compass Bank should also consider investing into a company who is the best at what they do, is in the same time zone, and can meet their demands in a timely manner, not simply because they may be cheaper. Finally, Compass Bank can learn that they need to consider what will be most cost-effective and in the best interest of the company over time. Organizing a time line and a list of costs and potential risks would also be beneficial to Compass Bank so they know what to expect and when with the implementation of online cell phone banking.

When completing the global scan one looks for emerging new technologies which may impact any business in any industry. At one time the emergence of the Internet was a technology that was becoming an emerging trend across all industries. Today very new technologies are used to develop information systems at a fraction of the cost and time of processes that were used five years ago. Wireless is a telecommunications technology that may have moved from a trend to a force in revolutionizing the way information is stored, accessed and used across all industries around the world. Some, if leveraged by a company within an industry before competitors use it, may even provide a competitive advantage.

Compass Bank – Competition –

Although mergers may be costly and rather difficult, the value it creates in the end is the desired outcome companies seek. The eagerness to merge is based on several beliefs, those beliefs are, that the performance gains are greater, expenses are reduced, market power is increased, and shareholder’s wealth is also greater than before. The value of a merger is enhanced when the overall benefit is more valuable than the aggregate of two separate pre-merger companies.
In the end, both John and Bernard should consider this before finalizing a decision. When Zion’s purchased Stockmans, there overall value increased by 43 branches. These branches will help performance and brings much more power to the financial market. In the Journal of Money article, Pilloff states “Companies are more willing to acquire others to avoid being acquired themselves.” Keeping this in mind, companies must figure out a cross border strategy.

As part of the broad environmental scan, it is important to identify the internal capabilities of the organization. There are various models for defining capabilities. Most focus on the broad set of intangible assets such as brand, human capital, organizational capital and even relationship capital. Others include the more concrete assets such as available capital, the organization structure, current technologies and information technology infrastructure. In addition to doing a broad environmental trend, Compass Bank needs to do a more detailed capability assessment using any of the models available.

DawningStreams - Competitors –

Business activities are becoming more and more complex to manage, because of distance, time zones, number of parties involved in projects, number of tasks to achieve, multiple prioritizations, lack of general synchronization, insufficient secure and confidential communication channels and growing complexity of IT infrastructures. The use of task list managers has become very common. It is becoming more difficult to keep teams synchronized, to follow and to implement new business processes and to exchange sensitive information confidentially. The DawningStreams software application is aiming at increasing the practicality of daily executive activities. The types of business, which will most probably be interested in our product, are construction (size of network), consulting (need for synchronization), pharmaceutical research (secure exchange of information) and the software industry (complexity of manufacturing).

Many companies have already developed software applications that enable secured communications and file sharing. However, most, if not all, are relying on Microsoft technologies, which prevent them from expanding to Mac or Unix users. DawningStreams is developed in Java, which can be used on any platform, including Mac and Unix. Microsoft has acquired the Groove Company and has released a new version of the product, which can perform many of the functionalities of DawningStreams, but not generic activities ( This is our closest competitor by far. More recently, we found, merely by accident, a company called Shinkuro (, which offers the file sharing aspects of DawningStreams but lacks other capacities.

Although DawningStreams will face competition from many existing players, the fact that it will combine a super-set of functionalities in one application, for a very reasonable price, will give it some leading edge over other competitors. If the US patent is granted, the position of DawningStreams will become a niche. Even if the patent were not granted, it would take a profound architectural redesign of Groove (or other competitors) to include generic activities and match the offer of DawningStreams. As a strategy we will monitor the activities of those companies’ websites and understand what they offer in terms of similar functionality and try to ensure we match or best those functionalities to the best of our ability and resources

DawningStreams – Political -

Maintaining the secrecy of information is the fundamental function of encryption items. Persons abroad may use such items to harm US law enforcement efforts, as well as US foreign policy and national security interests. The US Government has a critical interest in ensuring that persons opposed to the United States are not able to conceal hostile or criminal activities, and that the legitimate needs for protecting important and sensitive information of the public and private sectors are met. Since 2000, US encryption export policy has been directed by three fundamental practices: technical review of encryption products prior to sale, streamlined post-export reporting, and license reviews of proposed transactions involving strong encryption to certain foreign government end-users and countries of concern. US encryption policy also seeks to ensure that American companies are not disadvantaged by the European Union’s “license-free zone.” (Bureau of Industry and Security, 2007).

DawningStreams will contain cryptographic functions. Any reliable and efficient cryptographic system requires a central authority to avoid identity theft. Cryptography is a key functionality of DawningStreams. All specialists insist on designing systems using well-studied algorithms and fully tested protocols; novelty is considered a source of risk. The cryptographic layer of DawningStreams will rely on a dual public-private key system. The private key encryption system will implement Rijndael, the Advanced Encryption Standard (, the public key system will implement RSA ( and the hashing function will implement the 256 bits version of the Secure Hash Algorithm ( ).

Encryption products can be used to conceal the communications of terrorists, drug smugglers, and others intent on harming U.S. interests. Cryptographic products and software also have military and intelligence applications that, in the hands of hostile nations, could pose a threat to U.S. national security. The national security, foreign policy, and law enforcement interests of the United States are protected by encryption export controls. These controls are consistent with Executive Order (E.O.) 13026, which was issued on November 15, 1996, and the Presidential Memorandum of the same date. (Bureau of Industry and Security, 2007).

DawningStreams also plans to be an international company, as offices now exist in the Netherlands and the US. As part of the strategy, we will ensure we remain compliant by registering our product with any necessary agency and allowing those agencies access to the processes if they feel there is a threat. We will be responsible to monitor (as best as we can) our client base and to put the proper verbiage in our contracts that illegal activities will not be tolerated. We will continue to monitor the BIS site mentioned in previous paragraphs and also sites in the European Union such as the Crypto Law website of legal expert Bert-Jaap Koops (

DawningStreams - Technology/Intellectual Property –

The management of organizational strategy requires a comprehensive assessment of the macro environment of the business. Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the original ideas and innovations evolved by an organization in order to haul up its systems and processes. Creation of ideas requires large investments. This necessitates the protection of IP. Benchmarking is the continuous process of measuring products, processes, and systems of an organization against those that are rated best in the industry. It helps in uncovering weaknesses and flaws in the organizational systems, processes, and products. (Watson, 2003)

The study of the global research conducted by McAfee Inc. and MessageLabs Ltd. on security threat in small businesses in the U.S. reveals that 80 percent of small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMB) believe that an information technology (IT) security failure would be damaging in attaining their business priorities. Yet, only few are courageously making steps to fight against infringements due to resource limitations from other business related priorities. The research implies that company size plays an essential part in the way senior management views security. Among the challenges that SMBs face include keeping up-to-date with security solutions and keeping costs low. Small-to-medium businesses’ behavior towards security is very tactical and meets only immediate requirements. (unknown, 2007)

DawningStreams’ relevance to these forces is two-fold. We are a software company—there is an opportunity for us to lose the intellectual property by those who would download and attempt to modify the code. We have competitors who offer functionality similar to ours, however we offer an additional functionality the others do not. It is this ‘specialty functionality’ for which we applied for a patent the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If the patent is granted, there is less likelihood of software piracy or the loss of our IP. Environmental scans should show us if there are other companies trying to do this.

The functionality, which most resembles our competitors’, is the ability to share files. That brings in a different concern with intellectual property- the possibility someone else’s IP could be sent from one of our users to another, as this could seriously damage our reputation, as what happened with Napster. (


At one company after another--from Sears to IBM to Hewlett-Packard to Searle, strategy is again a major focus in the quest for higher revenues and profits. With help from a new generation of business strategists, companies are pursuing novel ways to hatch new products, expand existing businesses, and create the markets of tomorrow. Some companies are even recreating full-fledged strategic-planning groups. United Parcel Service expects to spin out a new strategy group from its marketing department, where strategic plans are now hatched. Explains Chairman Kent C. Nelson: ``Because we're making bigger bets on investments in technology, we can't afford to spend a whole lot of money in one direction and then find out five years later it was the wrong direction.''

In such a world we need a planning model that allows us to anticipate the future and to use this anticipation in conjunction with an analysis of our organization--its culture, mission, strengths and weaknesses--to define strategic issues, to chart our direction by developing strategic vision and plans, to define how we will implement these plans and to specify how we will evaluate how well we are implementing these plans. The fact that the world is changing as we move forward in the future demands that the process be an iterative one.


Bilek, E. (n.d.) Compass Bankshares to be Acquired by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A.,

Investor Relations. Retrieved from the Internet on March 31, 2007 at

Cole, Jim. Zions makes small deal, cites growing Arizona market. American Banker, 171(175), 1-1. Retrieved March 31, 2007 from Proquest Database.
Ford Motor Company (2006). Ford Motor Company. Retrieved March 2007,

from the World Wide Web, Web Site: []
Ford, S. (2004) Adapted from 13 Skills Managers Need to Succeed, Harvard Business School

Press. Retrieved March 31, 2007 from EBSCOHost Database.

Hockenberry, Todd. (2006). Ford implements advanced laser marking. Industrial Laser Solutions, 21(4), 6-7. Retrieved March 31, 2007, from EBSCOhost database
Jacobs, P. (2005) Five Steps to Thriving in times of Uncertainty. Negotiation (p.3) Retrieved

April 1, 2007 from EBSCOHost Database.

McLean, J. (2006) We’re going through changes! British Journal of Administrative Management

54. Retrieved March 30, 2007 from EBSCOHost Database.

Pearce, J. & Robinson, R, (2004). Strategic Management: Formulation, Implementation, and Control. [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. The McGraw-Hill Companies. Retrieved March 2007, from the University of Phoenix, Resource, MBA 580-Strategies for Competitive Advantage Course Web Site:
Author Unknown, Strategic Planning, After a decade of gritty downsizing, Big Thinkers are back in corporate vogue. (2006) Retrieved from the Internet at

Unknown (2007) 80% of Small-to-Medium Sized Firms Fear a Security Threat. Computer Security Update 8 (4). Retrieved March 30, 2007 from EBSCOHost Database.
Unknown (2006) Strategic Planning, After a decade of gritty downsizing, Big Thinkers are back
in corporate vogue. Retrieved from the Internet at
US Department of Commerce (2007), Encryption (ch.10, section 742.15). Retrieved March 27, 2007 from the Bureau of Industry and Security Website at
Watson, G. (2003) Business Environmental Scans for Intellectual Property Strategy (PowerPoint Presentation). Retrieved March 28, 2007 from the Oklahoma State University website at,1,Business Environmental Scans for Intellectual Property Strategy

Forces and Trends in Business

Steven Brown, MBA is a loving husband and father of two boys. He enjoys his time with his family by providing a strong family foundation of Christian Faith. After completing his Bachelors degree, Steven wanted to further his ability to teach and share to others his mindset that they can do anything if they would believe in themselves.

A Strategy For Investment

Investing had always been a difficult thing for me; it gave me many sleepless nights and also some nightmares to boot. However after a lot of anguish I realized my mistake and began to make investing strategies, basically I just made a plan of how I would approach things. It was simple really as with most things in life we need a strategy.

As I am sure you will all know, investing is never a sure thing, for the most part it is just like a game, you cannot know what the outcome can be until the game has been played out and the winner has been decided. Whenever you play any sort of game, you begin with having a strategy. The world of Investment is not any different you always require an investment strategy.


Your investment strategy will quite simply be a plan for investing your hard earned cash into a number of different types of investments which will hopefully help you realize your financial goals in a short period of time. Each investment category will have individual investments for you to choose from. If we take a look at any normal business lets say a newspaper shop, yes it sells newspapers however it will also sell things like, sweets, soft drinks, toys and games etc.. The stock market is a type of investment, but it contains various types of stocks, which all contain different companies in which you can invest in.

If you neglect to do your research, it will very quickly become rather confusing this is quite simply because there are so many different types of investment and individual investments for you to choose from. This is why you require a strategy, your strategy combined with your risk tolerance and investment style will come into play.

If investing is something new to you, then you must work closely with a financial planner/advisor before parting with any of your cash and putting it into investments. Your chosen financial expert will help you to develop your own investment strategy which will not only fall within the bounds of your risk tolerance and your investment style, but will also assist you in achieving your financial goals.

Never ever invest your money before you have worked out a goal and a strategy for reaching that goal! This really is essential. No one in their right mind will hand over their money to anyone without being fully aware of what that money is being used for and when they will get it back! If you do not have an achievable goal, a working plan, or a strategy, which is essentially what you, will be doing! Always start with a goal, and then a strategy for reaching that goal!

A Strategy For Investment

James McLean Bowie is an author and book dealer who resides in East Yorkshire England. He owns a number of websites, two of which are, and [] On his sites you will find a number of resources for collectors, writers, hobbyist and webmasters.

It's Easy to Draw Strategy Maps

It is quite easy to draw strategy maps for a business or organization when you possess the necessary information and a bit of creativity. Strategy maps are essentially pictures made up of words, shapes, lines, and colors that represent the goals and approaches of a company.

In order for you to draw strategy maps that are effective and quickly comprehensible you would first need to formulate your goals and determine the means to achieving them. The contents of a strategy map is essential because a map is useless if it has no useful information. A map shows you where to go and how to get there. That, is the same function of a strategy diagram, to show a company or organization its goals and how they plan to achieve them. Often a strategy map is a list of causes and effects which ultimately lead to the vision or long term objectives of a business or venture.


A good strategy map should have all the important information presented in an easy to understand format. To draw strategy maps you first need to have clear and harmonious goals. The goals are the destinations which the company works towards. It is vital that the destination is well defined so that the path towards it is easier to determine.

After the goals are set, the methods and approaches to arriving there have to be decided upon and carefully designed. There can be many ways to achieve a goal and it is the company's choice in creating strategy maps whether or not to include all possible means or simply focus on a select few. These methods have to be agreed upon, defined, and also comprehensive. It is also ideal to include the effects, both in the short and long term, of these actions and decision. This give the strategy map a clearer connection between actions and possible results.

Once the content is established, it would be time to get creative and draw strategy maps to encompass the necessary information. The format and style of the map is where creativity and innovation comes in. There are several templates that could be adapted in creating strategy maps. It can be a very simple table or a holistic web of intersections. The look of the map depends entirely on preference.

Begin to draw strategy maps by placing the long term goals. Next illustrate the different means to which they would be achieved. From there you can add the effects those means would have and how they relate to the final objectives. More elements could of course be added to the map, like the actors involved in each stage. The style and content is entirely up to the company or organization. They can choose to copy a template or create their own system. The main point is that the map should be able to accurately and concisely represent the strategy of the company or organization towards achieving its goals.

Creating strategy maps is quite undemanding once you have all the pieces prepared. It is all a matter of finding which piece belongs where and how you can put them together in a cohesive and comprehensible visual representation.

It's Easy to Draw Strategy Maps

If you are interested in draw strategy maps, check this web-site to learn more.

5 Components Essential to an Effective Leadership Strategy

If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there--but you won't know when you get there, because you never really expected to get there in the first place! There are folks who live their lives and work their careers based on this motto. Leaders cannot afford such ambiguity. I would like to suggest that you consider the five elements that come together to create a workable leadership strategy.

1. Leadership Mission: What is your driving purpose or cause?


To develop an appropriate leadership mission, the aspiring leader must determine the "primary service" to be offered to his or her followers, including but not limited to information, education, experience, inspiration, courage, vision, or any combination of these and others.

2. Leadership Goals: Where is it that I can make the greatest impact?

Leaders have the ability to choose their "primary focus" points (i.e., response time, quality performance, sales volume, profit enhancement, morale improvement, etc.)

3. Leadership Objectives: When will I know that I have been successful?

Leaders should create "primary markers" which serve as a basic measurement tool indicating leadership success or lack of it. Leaders must know and must be able to communicate these indicators to their followers.

4. Leadership Strategy: Which routes are most appropriate for us to pursue?

Leaders recognize there is more than one way to achieve the desired and stated goals and objectives. The most important question to be answered involves which method is best for you, your followers and your organization.

5. Leadership Tactics: Which action plans will I initiate?

With the leadership mission, goals, objectives and strategies clearly identified the action plans begin to take shape. It simply becomes a process of "planning your work and working your

5 Components Essential to an Effective Leadership Strategy

Phillip Van Hooser is a leadership expert, keynote speaker and best selling author. His management training system, The Leadership Journey, has been used by companies all across the U.S. and beyond to help their people lower turnover rates, raise productivity, enjoy improved management/employee relations, manage change efficiently and communicate successfully with co-workers, superiors and customers. For more leadership strategies, sign up for Phil's newsletter and podcast at

Retirement Strategy

Retirement is a concept that typically assumes that you have to work very hard for decades only to enjoy a meager existence, living off the earnings of a mediocre nest egg. This is not the way it has to be. Retirement does not have to wait until age 65. Nor does it have to be meager. If you develop a strategy to save for retirement, you can enjoy mini-retirements throughout your life and ultimately have a very comfortable and rewarding experience in your golden years.

Develop a Plan


What do you want in life? What do you want to do? Determine if you want to travel, collect vintage cars, or do whatever makes you happy. Figure out what kind of income would be necessary to support that kind of lifestyle. This is critical in creating your plan. The next step is to determine how to earn the income necessary to fulfill your plan.

Generate Retirement Income

To fulfill your retirement dreams, it is important to create income streams rather than simply amass savings. The first step is to create a passive business. This can be done by creating an outsourced business, an online business, a royalty/commission business, or any other business that makes money with or without your involvement.

Do it!

Don't wait until you are 65 to enjoy retirement. Take mini retirements throughout your life to enjoy the world. Take advantage of the income you have created. It is a great idea to take several months of vacation in between jobs or projects.

Retirement Strategy

Ben Jones is an author, entrepreneur, and professional marketer. Learn more about retirement income and entrepreneurship at his blog.

Internet Marketing Strategy - 4 Things You Need to Get Right

The benefits of implementing the right internet marketing strategy for your business are immense. This article outlines just four things you need to look out for when implementing your internet marketing strategy.

Stay in Touch With Existing Customers


Keeping in touch with existing customers is crucial for improving and growing your business. Statistics show it is not only easier but also much cheaper to get an existing customer to buy from you again, than it is to attract a new customer.

It's simple, if you're not keeping in touch with existing customers, you're leaving money on the table. There is even a risk that they get pinched by your competitor. Whether you decide to keep in touch through email newsletters or social media marketing, the internet provides many low-cost and effective ways to stay in touch and make the most of your relationships with your existing customers.

Cost Effective Lead Generation

Whether you decide to advertise online, offline, or do both- measuring your cost per lead is essential and a proper online marketing strategy contains ongoing testing and tracking mechanisms that help you do just that.

A simple calculation of what each new customer or email list subscriber is worth to you will tell you how many new customers you need to make a good return on your investment.

Target your Ideal Customer

Most likely your business has an ideal customer demographic, ranging from their age to their disposable income. Knowing who your ideal customer is, will make your online advertising and marketing efforts razor focused. When advertising online, you can use more effective 'direct-response' type advertising that allows you to respond to people's needs when they are most likely to need a solution - your solution. The result is a massive increase in your conversion rate and a phone that just won't stop ringing.

Beat your Competitors

The online world is a fast-moving medium. As Rupert Murdoch said "It won't be the big who beat the small, it will be the fast beating the slow". If you get online before your competitors do, you will have a clear edge over them in creating new leads, converting more prospects and keeping your existing customers tied to your business.

The opposite is also true, if your competitors are already online and have a good internet marketing strategy in place, they can put you out of business-simply because they are getting more customers at a lower cost.

Internet Marketing Strategy - 4 Things You Need to Get Right

Despite knowing the advantages of having the right internet marketing strategy, unfortunately many business owners still end up with a website that costs them too much money and doesn't generate them any business. If you want to make sure you're implementing the right strategy, download the free internet marketing whitepaper from online marketing Sydney. It shows you how to get more leads, more customers and more profits with the right internet marketing strategy at

10 Strategy Tools For Smaller Businesses

I come from a background in large blue chip businesses, where I spent a fair amount of time helping predominantly large clients with strategic issues and during the last ten years I've started and built a couple of smaller businesses. SME owners and directors need to think about strategy, but they need to concentrate upon those elements that are going to produce the most impact - by all means read the business strategy tomes from cover to cover if you want, but this article aims to give you, a busy SME director, most of what you need to know about strategy and analysis in order to make a start.

1 - 3 Types of Excellence. Many commentators would agree that a company has the option to excel (that means really excel so that the market recognises that excellence) in one or two of three possible areas:


Operational excellence - which means doing things really efficiently and therefore probably being able to deal with higher volumes and therefore passing on cost savings to customers (although it is possible to think of examples where operational excellence was so valued by the customer that she would be prepared to pay a premium for it alone). An example might be EasyJet.

Customer intimacy - which means that you have systems and staff who treat customers as royalty (or at least good friends) and they feel loved and valued by your business. An example might be John Lewis.

Product leadership - which means that your product (or service) is highly differentiated from alternatives and substitutes in ways that customers value. An example might be Apple.

2 - Do a McKinsey. As a start-up or small business you may not be able to afford a McKinsey assignment to address your strategy issues, but you can apply one of their most powerful weapons to your advantage. MECE stands for "mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive" - apply it to your problems and you could see great results. MECE is a useful model for analysing a business problem because it aids clear thinking by ensuring that categories of information do not overlap, and by reducing the possibility of overlooking information by requiring that all of the categories of information taken together should deal with all possible options. Information should be grouped into categories so that each category is separate and distinct without any overlap (mutually exclusive), and all of the categories taken together should deal with all possible options (collectively exhaustive). A "major issues list" should contain no less than two, and no more than five issues, with three being the ideal number. Let's say that Acme Widgets Ltd use a MECE tree diagram to help them locate the source of declining profitability. The diagram as a whole represents the problem at hand; each branch stemming from the starting node of the tree represents a major issue that needs to be considered; each branch stemming from one of these major issues represents a sub-issue that needs to be considered; and so on. The problem to be addressed in this case is "how can Acme Widget Ltd increase widget sales?".

You will hopefully find that analysing issues down to the constituent parts using this technique will clarify where the real issues lie and they will now be in more "bite sized chunks" and so be easier to handle.

3 - Markets & Industries. The expressions "What's your market?" and "What industry are you in?" are thrown around pretty well interchangeably - what exactly do we mean when we say "market" and "industry". If you use the definitions that I suggest then a great deal more clarity will start to appear around the potential strategy that you should adopt.

I suggest that market should mean - a group of people / organisations who have the desire & ability to buy products to satisfy a certain need or want ie buyers & their needs. Market therefore is not about your product or service (although of course related). I suggest that you spend a reasonable amount of time thinking about who the buyers of your products or services are / could be and what traits or characteristics they share. By being able to describe your market(s) accurately and precisely you will subsequently be able to focus your sales and marketing efforts far more effectively.

When thinking about markets (ie buyers) you should also consider:

* How attractive are your products and services to these buyers
* And how attractive is the market to you - is it clearly defined, growing, shrinking, are external influences going to affect its size in future, are they easy or difficult to persuade to buy, and so on.

I'd suggest that industry should mean - sellers that offer products or services that are similar or substitutes. Sellers sell into markets. So let's say that you have founded a business offering disposable paper place mats for university canteens where businesses can advertise themselves to students. The classic Dragons Den question is "so what competitors do you have?". Of course you would be wrong to say "none - we are the only people doing these advertising place-mats". Rather you need to think about what industry you are in, and the answer is likely to be "the provision of advertising to target students" industry so your competitors would include - Facebook, local radio, advertising hoardings, Google Ads, free magazines etc. The key thing when defining your industry is similar or substitute offerings - you may think that you are unique but if your potential customers consider something else then that something else is in the same industry as you!

When thinking about industry (ie other sellers you should also consider:

* Can you sustain any advantage (indeed do you have any advantage?)

* How attractive is your industry (more on this below)

4 - Attractiveness of an Industry. Of course different industries have different levels of attractiveness and you should be aware of that right at the outset. But it isn't necessarily the case that you should only operate in attractive industries and disregard unattractive industries. Good business can be created in "unattractive industries" and it is perfectly possible to fail within what would be viewed as an attractive industry. The analysis that you perform to establish that an industry is "attractive" can be carried out by the rest of the business world too, so others might stampede into the industry and change its attractiveness quite quickly. Industry analysis doesn't ensure that you have picked a winner, it just means that you are well informed about your business environment.

The defining work on industry analysis was carried out by Professor Michael Porter of Harvard Business School and published in his 1979 book "Competitive Strategy" - Porter's Five Forces.

Porter's Five Forces

Competition: How strong is the rivalry posed by the present competition? The various factors, include: the number of firms in the industry, rate of market growth, economies of scale, customer switching costs, levels of product differentiation, diversity of competition, level of exit barriers.

Barriers to entry: What is the threat posed by new players entering the market? The various factors include: capital costs of setting up,highly specialised equipment, level of protection of necessary intellectual property, scale and branding of existing competitors, government regulations.

Substitutes: What is the threat posed by substitute products and services? The various factors include: the cost to customers of switching to a substitute, buyer propensity to substitute; relative price-performance of substitutes, product differentiation.

Supplier bargaining power: How much bargaining power do suppliers have? The various factors include: number of possible suppliers and the strength of competition between them, whether suppliers produce differentiated products, importance of sales volume to the supplier, cost to the buyer of changing suppliers, vertical integration of the supplier or threat to become vertically integrated (ie the degree to which a firm owns its upstream suppliers and its downstream buyers).

Customer bargaining power: How much bargaining power do customers have? Factors that will effect the bargaining power of a customer include: volume of goods or services purchased, number of other customers, brand name strength, product differentiation, availability of substitutes.

5 - Spider diagram. Understanding how your business compares to the competition and to customers perceptions of value is a really key element of strategy. A great way to form a better understanding is to establish the key important dimensions (by asking the people who matter, customers) and then representing them graphically using a "spider diagram" such as below. You can map how your business measures up and how the competition measure up and then it will be readily apparent where areas of competitive advantage / disadvantage lie.

6 - SWOT. Dear old SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) - it hardly needs any introduction

Strengths weaknesses opportunities threats

After a business clearly identifies an objective that it wants to achieve, SWOT analysis involves examining the strengths and weaknesses of the business (internal factors); and considering the opportunities presented and threats posed by business conditions, for example, the strength of the competition (external factors).

Don't fall into the trap of SWOT becoming two lists - one of "pros" and the other of "cons" and make sure that you use it critically and with clear prioritisation. So for example, weak opportunities shouldn't balance strong threats.

7 - The Sales Funnel. Strictly speaking this isn't a pure strategy tool but a very powerful sales strategy analytical tool nonetheless.

If your problem is with generating interest and awareness, then look at your PR - where are your target market seeing you talking about what you do? Are you engaging with your target market? If your problem is with generating leads, then how well are you explaining how you meet your target market's needs with your products or services? If your problem is with converting leads into serious buyers, how well are you encouraging your buyers to take action? How well are you demonstrating your credibility and expertise to solve their problems? If your problem is with closing the sale, what objections are you hearing from your potential buyers? How are you overcoming these objections?

8 - The 4 P's. Again the purist might argue that this is marketing strategy rather than pure business strategy - but we don't mind what you call it because it all helps to being a more successful business. There isn't the space here to do justice to the 4 P's of marketing but to skim the surface they are a framework for evaluating the marketing strategy for a product.

Price: the pricing strategy employed by a firm for a particular good or service will have a significant effect on profit.

Product: differentiation is a source of competitive advantage. Product differentiation creates value in the mind of the consumer.

Position / Place: the physical location of a good or service can be a source of competitive advantage.

Promotion: is used to enhance the perception of a good or service in the minds of customers. A promotion will draw peoples attention to any features of a product that they might find attractive.

9 - Strategic Advantage. Following on from his work which resulted in the "Five Forces", Michael Porter suggested that businesses can adopt one of four generic business strategies, as represented in the diagram below.

Generic strategies

The differentiation and cost leadership strategies seek competitive advantage in a broad range of market or industry segments. By contrast, the differentiation focus and cost focus strategies are adopted in a narrow market or industry.

I will write about this more fully in a strategy for smaller businesses booklet soon to be published, but for now it might be best just to suggest some example companies that might fit into each quadrant:

Cost Leadership: Tesco
Differentiation: Mercedes Benz
Cost Focus: Instore
Differentiation focus: The Perfume Store

Generic Strategies Example Companies

10 - Product & Service Life Cycle. The product lifecycle curve was originally the brainchild of another great management thinker, Theodore Levitt and was first published in the Harvard Business Review in 1965. Again space here does not allow for a full description.

Product Life Cycle Curve

Introduction: As a new product much time will be spent by the organisation to create awareness of it's presence amongst its target market. Profits are negative or low.

Growth: If consumer clearly feel that this product will benefit them in some ways and they accept it, the organisation will see a period of rapid sales growth.

Maturity: Rapid sales growth cannot last forever. Sales slow down as the product sales reach peak as it has been accepted by most buyers.

Decline: Sales and profits start to decline, the organisation may try to change their pricing strategy to stimulate growth, however the product will either have to be modified, or replaced within the market.

10 Strategy Tools For Smaller Businesses

Tim Latham Unconsultancy:

Tim Latham

In big businesses I was surrounded by high powered (and high priced) help. Indeed I was a management consultant myself. Over the last 10 years, conceiving and developing small businesses there were many times when I'd have liked a person with some intellectual horsepower and relevant practical experience available to help. I have started unconsultancy to address that need.

With an amalgam of blue chip business experience, small business startups and a strong theoretical grounding I'm delighted to be able to help businesses put into action those "tweaks" that can so often transform fortunes. So some background:

* Founder of two new start businesses in professional services and internet business
* London Business School, Director of Development
* Coopers & Lybrand then PricewaterhouseCoopers, Management Consultant
* Coopers & Lybrand / Harvard Business School International Executive Programme
* Shell (UK) New Ventures, Marketing Manager
* MBA Bath University School of Management
* Royal Air Force Officer (Squadron Leader Engineer)
* BSc Bristol University, Engineering