What Does Strategy Mean to You - The Unspoken Secret?

Most effective strategy processes begin with a stock-take: a review and assessment of the organization's current products, markets and customers. This is an essential first step to kicking off a good strategy-setting exercise.

Yet no strategy process that I have come across conducts an even more crucial preliminary activity - even before the one described above. This is to ask what the sponsor of the strategy process thinks of when he or she thinks about strategy. What, in effect, does strategy mean to you?


Everyone leading or facilitating a strategy review should ask this question. The answers may amaze you. And they may make the sponsor quite uncomfortable.

What Does Strategy Mean to You - The Unspoken Secret?

The reason is that most people in business have a very different idea of what strategy really means. Unless a facilitator unpacks the organization's perception about what a strategy means to them, then success is unlikely. It becomes impossible to determine what must be delivered.

For some executives, a strategy will be the way they hope to increase the share price over the next year. For others, it will mean sorting out which take-over candidates it should approach. One of my clients saw strategy as determining how to negotiate a management buy-out from the majority shareholder. Still others will see strategy in a purer light: what is the long term future that we can envision for the company, and what is the best route to get there?

None of these different perceptions of strategy is wrong. They are the sponsor's genuinely held beliefs. But each represents a starting point in the sponsor's mind about why a strategy was seen to be required. And a facilitator of strategy needs to understand these at the start.

But there's even more to it than this.

As well as understanding what has precipitated the need for strategy, we need to unpick what the sponsor sees as its essential components. Is its emphasis a vision, and if so what is the timescale? Is the focus more towards medium or short-term action - more of a tactical plan in fact? Does it need to focus more on people and the internal culture? Or is the driving issue to do with fast-changing markets?

One organization I worked with realized after the strategy was complete that the real objective was to educate the Board and executive team.

The unspoken secret in all strategy-setting exercises is that strategy means different things to different people. Each different understanding of strategy is valid, because each organization and its strategy team are different. But these different views of strategy mean that quite radically different approaches to strategy development need to be taken.

What Does Strategy Mean to You - The Unspoken Secret?

© BusinessNext Ltd and Christopher Ogden & Associates.

Chris Ogden is the MD of BusinessNext Ltd which advises organisations on strategy. He is also principal of Christopher Ogden & Associates where he coaches Chief Executives in - among other aspects - leading strategic change.


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.

Negotiation Strategy Vs Tactics

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 http://www.burrese.com or http://www.bennettlawofficepc.com

The Five Components of a Business Strategy

Can you define exactly what makes up a business strategy? Some people say no, but we think you can.

In fact, we believe a valid business strategy has five components:


  1. Your company's current or desired core competencies
  2. A description of how you will differentiate vs. competitors
  3. The industry or industries in which you intend to compete
  4. The initiatives you plan to implement in the areas of marketing, operations, information technology, finance and organizational development
  5. A financial forecast that shows how your plans will meet stakeholder requirements over the next 3 to 5 years

Let's look at each of these components.

The Five Components of a Business Strategy

The first component of a valid business strategy is a clear description of your company's current or desired core competencies.

You may be thinking, "Great, but what's a 'core competency?'" While there are many definitions, here's a good one from Wikipedia:

"ACore competency is something that a firm can do well and that meets the following three conditions:

  • It provides consumer benefits
  • It is not easy for competitors to imitate
  • It can be leveraged widely to many products and markets.

A core competency can take various forms, including technical/subject matter know how, a reliable process, and/or close relationships with customers and suppliers. It may also include product development or culture, such as employee dedication."

For example, we could say that Southwest Airlines is a reliable airline that offers low fares. But in order to provide those benefits, it has to have certain "core competencies," important capabilities that enable it to have low fares and to be reliable. We believe that Southwest Airlines has four core competencies that it executes so well that it regularly beats all other US airlines in terms of profitability.

These core competencies are:

  • The lowest operating costs per plane
  • An economical point-to-point airport network
  • A fanatical culture focused on customer service and cost savings
  • An ability to keep planes in the air more of the time than its competitors.

Southwest airlines couldn't offer the benefits of low prices and reliable service if it didn't master these core competencies. What key benefits do you want to offer your customers? What core competencies do you need to master to provide them?

The second component of a valid business strategy is a description of how you differentiate vs. competitors.

In our experience, differentiation is about being the best at something. This should be encapsulated in your mission statement - what are your company's aspirations and how are you going to beat the competition? We just talked about how Southwest Airlines differentiates -- what are you going to offer customers that will make them choose your products or services so that you can grow your business?

It takes a lot of hard work to come up with a great answer to this question and even more work to make that differentiation real. It's easy for us to say that Southwest is the best low-cost airline in the US, but it's extraordinarily difficult for them to pull it off.

The third component of a valid business strategy is a description of the industry or industries in which you intend to compete.

You need to be able to define just what kind of company you are - are you a furniture manufacturer? A gift card retailer? A consulting firm, a bearings distributor, a toy importer, etc.? This step sounds easy but we find that companies are often so concerned about getting too narrow in their focus that they fail to become really clear about what they want to do. A company with a good business strategy will have thought through these issues and made the hard decisions necessary to clarify its identity. If it has, it can easily pass the litmus test of identifying the industry or industries in which it operates.

The fourth component of a business strategy is the set of initiatives you plan to implement in the areas of marketing, operations, information technology, finance and organizational development.

These are the plans that guide your company's focus and resource allocation over the next several years. If your business strategy is specific enough to be relevant, you will have detailed plans in all of these areas.

The fifth component of a business strategy is a financial plan that forecasts the results you expect to get from your plans and illustrates how they will meet stakeholder requirements over the next 3 to 5 years.

Your strategic planning process cannot be separated from your annual budget process. In the vast majority of companies, if it's not in the budget, it doesn't exist. That's why you have to have a very senior financial person on your strategic planning team, preferably the CFO. During the planning process, your team must compile a financial plan that estimates the results of implementing your strategy. This plan needs to earn the approval of your company's management and board and should be reviewed on a regular basis to track results and make refinements.

So - those are the five components of a valid business strategy. Good luck planning your success. And succeeding because you plan.

The Five Components of a Business Strategy

Ian G. Heller is the founder and senior partner at Real Results Marketing, Inc. With senior executive experience at companies like GE Capital and Grainger, CEO experience at a private-equity owned firm and countless consulting engagements, Ian brings a realistic and bottom-line focus go strategic planning. Please visit http://www.RealResultsMarketing.com for engaging videos and articles on strategic planning.

What Is a Strategy? Fundamentals of Successful Strategic Planning

Have you ever noticed how the question of "What is a strategy?" rarely comes up in the context of strategic planning? The word strategy is frequently used with the assumption that anyone involved in developing strategies knows exactly what a strategy is. It has been my experience that such an assumption is often wrong. Far too often, those charged with the task of strategic planning for their organization do not know or understand the definition of strategy. The result is that what they end up calling a strategy is not really a strategy. With this consequence in mind, I'll start by discussing what a strategy is not.

Before I begin, please keep in mind that the goal of this discussion is not to get caught up in semantics. The goal is for you and your planning team to have a unified basis for evaluating ideas so that you can begin the process of deliberately converting ideas into actionable strategies.


Strategy versus Tactic

What Is a Strategy? Fundamentals of Successful Strategic Planning

As a strategic planning expert for more than fifteen years, it has been the case most often that I am given a series of tactics when I ask a potential client what is their current strategy for achieving their objective. Most people think they have a strategy when all they really have are tactics. This confusion is common and can undermine the entire strategic planning process. It will serve your strategic planning efforts well to understand and be able to distinguish strategies versus tactics.

Tactics are specific actions that promote achievement of a strategy. The hierarchical order goes like this:

A tactic supports achievement of a strategy.
A strategy supports achievement of an objective.
An objective supports achievement of a mission.
A mission supports achievement of a vision.
Achievement of a vision fulfills purpose.

Only having tactics without actionable and integrated strategies is a primary reason why so many business owners and executives are frustrated and simply spinning their wheels. In other words, they are busier than ever before and investing significant resources, but not experiencing significant progress on their objectives or anything close to the expected return on their investment.

Please do not think for a moment that tactics play a less valuable role in the success of an objective. The right tactics are just as important as the right strategy. Ineffective tactical support can render an otherwise effective strategy useless in (and sometimes destructive to) achieving an objective.

What is a Strategy?

In its simplest form, a strategy is a clear decision and statement about a chosen course of action for obtaining a specific goal or result. While this definition is succinct and suffices for a general discussion, this definition and those like it have no practical value for organizational strategic planning efforts. Why? It provides no basis for evaluating whether a strategy is actionable. Actionable strategies are the only kind that matter in business.

What is an Actionable Strategy?

From the perspective of successful strategic planning, there are two kinds of strategies: actionable strategies and all other strategies. My definition of an actionable strategy states:

An actionable strategy is a comprehensively scrutinized decision about the most effective and efficient use of specific resources for systematically increasing competitive advantage and profits over a specific period of time.
Side note: If increasing competitive advantage and profits over a specific period of time is not the goal of your current strategic planning efforts, then just substitute your goal in this definition to make it specific to your needs.

Actionable strategies are a fundamental part of the Actionable Strategic Planning® process as they support business growth in multiple ways and enhance your chances of success if the right minds are engaged in consistently monitoring, evaluating and integrating new information and adapting the strategy as necessary.

What Is a Strategy? Fundamentals of Successful Strategic Planning

Sherrin Ross Ingram is America's Leading Power Strategist, creator of the Actionable Strategic Planning ® Process, CEO of the International Center for Strategic Planning, and a frequent keynote speaker at meetings and conferences.  She has painstakingly tailored her Actionable Strategic Planning® Process, created for her large corporate clients, into a breakthrough program for entrepreneurs and small business owners called The Strategic Thinker's Mastermind. Through The Strategic Thinker's Mastermind, Sherrin helps entrepreneurs and small business owners go from idea to implementation fast, gain insight into their challenges, and enhance their strategic thinking skills to improve performance. Sherrin is also an attorney and the author of Successful Strategic Planning and Wealth Mentality: Program Yourself to Get and Keep the Wealth You Want.

Invest in Stocks - Strategy

Before investing your money in stocks, you must plan out your investment strategy based on the amount of money you want to invest. Also you should decide on how much time you want to invest and how much you can actually afford to lose. This is important because after all stock investing involves a fair amount of risk.

Keep the following points in mind before actually making your investments in stocks.


Maintain a diversified portfolio

Invest in Stocks - Strategy

The important thing to keep in mind is that you should never keep your eggs in one basket even though you feel that a particular company will do extremely well in the future. No matter how good a company's performance and business model are, there are some external factors that come into play and which may affect its ratings. So instead of putting all your money in one stock, prepare a diversified portfolio. Most stocks can be classified as high-risk, medium-risk and low-risk investments. The rate of returns is the highest on the high-risk stocks and the lowest on the low-risk ones. You can plan your stock investment strategy based on the amount of money you have and the level of risk you are willing to take.

When to buy and sell Stocks

Study the market and analyze whether it is the ideal time to buy or sell a stock. All markets have their high and low periods. Ideally, you should buy stock at the end of a slump and sell at the end of a boom. This sounds simple but in actual practice, certain emotional factors come into play. It has been observed that during a boom phase, investors usually succumb to greed. Consequently, they end up buying when they should be selling to book profits. Also, during the bust phase, most investors are paralyzed by fear and in panic they end up selling when they should be actually holding fast to the stock. The result is that they rush headlong to book losses and get out of the market. Study the stock price movement charts to time your buying or selling and then decide if it is wise to change your investment strategy. You should not buy shares whose price is likely to fall in the near future. Similarly you should not sell if the price is likely to rise.

Decide the time period for your investments

If you are interested in low-risk stocks, you should aim at long-term gains and be prepared to hold your investment for at least three years. In other words, you should adopt a buy-and-hold strategy for a longer period of time.

If you are a medium risk-taker, you should invest in growth stocks and aim at a medium term period ranging from one year to three years. Also, you should practice a relatively aggressive investing strategy.

To reap maximum profits, invest in turnaround stocks and aim at short-term periods of about one year. These stocks involve a very aggressive investment strategy. Before buying the stock, go bargain hunting for the best price.

Select the right company

Keep in mind that all companies listed in the stock market may not be uniformly good. Pick a company for investment based on certain financial and non-financial factors such as the reputation of the management, future plans, consistency in past performance etc. Avoid buying on impulse based on rumors in the market. Chances are that undervalued stock will result in maximum growth in your portfolio. Also study the out of favor companies in the market for they may be selling their stock at a deep discount.

Decide on the right price of the stock

Once you have decided on the company, you must analyze whether its stock is attractive at the current trading price or it is undervalued or overpriced. Remember that the price does not depend so much on the asset base of a company as it does on its earning capacity. If the returns are attractive and growing, then the high price of the stock may be justified.

Invest in Stocks - Strategy

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What Is Strategy? Has Operational Effectiveness Replaced Strategy?

What is Strategy?

Management tools for operational effectiveness have replaced strategy. Managers continue to focus on operational effectiveness rather than strategic planning, both are important to achieve superior profitability but work in very different ways. Operational effectiveness can lead to more efficiency but strategic positioning means performing different activities from your competitors or the same activities but in different ways.


Competitors can quickly duplicate your products and activities. They can use the same technologies, the same services and the same advertising. Constantly benchmarking against competitors means similarities in prices, products and services. This is not strategic positioning or vision. Strategy rests on have a unique set of activities. Business owners must deliberately choose a different range of activities from competitor offering a unique mix of value. Without this the strategy is just a marketing slogan which can be copied and will not withstand competition.

What Is Strategy? Has Operational Effectiveness Replaced Strategy?

The origins of strategic positions:

1. variety
2. customer needs
3. access
4. broad or narrow

Sustainable positioning requires trade-offs, more of one thing means less of another. Trade-offs add a new dimension to strategy, what is you core competence? How do your activities fit? Are they consistent? Reinforced? Efforts Optimised? The business with the best activity system wins. Strategy is creating a fit within a company's activities and the success of the strategy means doing everything well - not just a few - and integrating among them. If this is not present there is no strategy and no sustainability. Growth and profitability are both hazardous to strategy. The desire for more profit and growth is pervasive in that saying no to customers' types is feared. A strategic position should deepen your position rather than extend your position. Business leaders must have the confidence to stick to their strategy and also to offer guidance in making trade-off choices.

Identifying and building on the strengths of a business can form the basis of a strategic plan aimed at capturing additional market share. Strategic planning is designed to give a business superiority in its ongoing campaign against competitors. That is, to gain market acceptance of their product(s) and/or service(s), to seize and hold market share, to gain a competitive edge or advantage, and to ensure long-term viability and success by maintaining customer loyalty. It is a mistake for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME's) to consider that only big businesses can and should undertake strategic planning. The word strategy has military origins. Having and using a strategy, or a strategic plan, means formulating and using a plan to achieve overall success. Strategies are large-scale plans to seize and hold enemy territory, and to weaken and destroy the enemy. In business, the enemy is the competition and firms competing for market share are in a win-lose situation. We must do everything to take a market share and then keep it.

Business can only survive and succeed by continuing to make sales, and the key to maintaining market share is the achievement of a sustainable competitive edge. Why should a customer buy from you and not Brand X? What is your competitive advantage?

Competitive Advantage

How a business can achieve and maintain a sustainable competitive depends on two strategies. Either we compete on price (offering roughly similar goods and services at a lower price i.e. giving better value) or on a basis of differentiation. Competing on price can be dangerous especially for small to medium business since a vicious cycle of price cuts erodes profit and will ultimately lead to failure. The firm with the most resources will be able to hold out longer and will usually win, but it may be a precarious victory. Competing via differentiation means attracting customers by offering superior products/services at a competitive price. This is a better way for small to medium businesses to compete. Product or service superiority must relate to features which are important to consumers, of benefit to them, and which persuade them to buy. In other words, product/service features (the basis for differentiation) must match the buying criteria of our target customers. It is not solely a matter of making a product different as this will usually lead to higher costs, which often cannot be fully passed on to consumers. We therefore must know what buyers want, why they buy, why they will choose Brand X or Brand Y, Store A or Store B. This can be ascertained by market research. To be able to offer product or service superiority a firm needs to have some distinctive (i.e. core) competence upon which it can develop a sustainable and discernible level of product differentiation or superiority.

Identifying Competencies

Identifying the core competencies in any business is a key part of the whole process of developing an integrated and cohesive strategic plan. Ask yourself a few questions:

1. Where do you want to go?

What are your personal values?
What is the vision for the business?
What are your objectives?

2. Where are you now?

What are your capabilities e.g. resources, funds, assets, information?
Who is your competition e.g. survey of industry, environment etc?
What are your strengths and weaknesses? (internal)
What are your opportunities and threats? (external)

From the above questions, what is your sustainable, competitive advantage?

3. Which direction do you now wish to go?

What are your strategic options? Now you can develop strategic plans and actions. It should be obvious from this very brief outline of some of the steps involved in putting a strategic plan together, that identifying core competencies and forming ideas about how we should compete (i.e. what our sustainable competitive edge should be) are not, and should not be seen to be, isolated activities. They are part of the whole sequential process of formulating a strategic plan. It is vital that you are aware of the link between core competence and having the ability to compete by using it to create a sustainable competitive advantage.

Strategy rests on have a unique set of activities. Business owners must deliberately choose a different range of activities from competitor offering a unique mix of value. Without this the strategy is just a marketing slogan which can be copied and will not withstand competition.

Growth and profitability are both hazardous to strategy. The desire for more profit and growth is pervasive in that saying no to customers' types is feared. A strategic position should deepen your position rather than extend your position. Business leaders must have the confidence to stick to their strategy and also to offer guidance in making trade-off choices.


What Is Strategy? Has Operational Effectiveness Replaced Strategy?

Lorraine Garvie
Helping you to define your sustainable competitive advantage

Strategy - Probably the Most Overused and Misunderstood Word in Business

How many times have you heard someone talk about successful business strategies or 'taking a strategic approach'? What do you think they actually mean by the use of the word strategy? Most often the people using it are trying to convey the fact that they have given the subject a bit more thought than usual, that they have looked a little further ahead than normal. If a consultant uses it be very wary. Strategy costs more than mere ideas or tactics. How much would you pay for consultants who have' kicked around a few ideas' or 'come up with some tactics they think might work'. Depends how good they are. But if they come back with 'strategic business advice' you expect it to be very good and of course very expensive.

Why expensive? Because you would hope that a consultant or colleague would have used some kind of intellectually robust framework, that they would have tested their assumptions and developed more than one solution which they evaluate rigorously before making their strategic recommendation. This takes time and expertise and both are expensive. Let's assume they have done all of this - does that make it strategic business advice rather than tactical advice?


Not according the dictionary. The dictionary definition of strategy is very clear and military. It defines strategy as "the art of war - disposing troops etc in such a way as to impose upon the enemy the conditions for fighting (time and place) preferred by oneself". If we accept business is in effect a war - you develop successful business strategies because you define success as beating the competition - there is no reason why this definition of the overused word, strategy, is not appropriate for business strategy. It requires all that planning and testing of assumptions discussed already. Some kind of robust intellectual and very honest framework will certainly help to develop and evaluate options. Even the lazy use of the word strategy - giving it a bit more thought and thinking ahead - would be implied by the military, dictionary definition. But there is an extra dimension to real strategy. It requires you to do all this and come up with something that changes the rules in your favour - in other words it requires creativity.

Strategy - Probably the Most Overused and Misunderstood Word in Business

And there is one other aspect to this more demanding kind of strategic thinking. It is about people and their behaviour. In order to 'deploy the troops' and change the rules you have to understand how people tick. If being creative involves changing behaviours then you have understand how those behaviours were formed in the first place and how they might be changed if you want a successful business strategy.

Before putting the dictionary away (the definition of strategy above was taken from the Oxford English Dictionary) just go forward to tactics. You will discover that the definition is exactly the same as for strategy with one addition. Tactics involves the all-important stage of implementation, putting the strategy into practice. So it turns out that far from tactics being less weighty and valuable than strategy they are actually the most valuable thing of all. A sound strategic plan that is successfully implemented includes, indeed demands, tactics.

The use, and overuse, of strategy in business is more often than not pretentious over-claim by people who do not really understand what they are talking about. It certainly does not mean giving something a bit more thought or thinking a bit more long term. It absolutely demands a thorough and honest assessment of your assumptions and your options. At the risk of being melodramatic, sloppy thinking in military strategy costs people their lives. In business it just wastes time and money. Strategic thinkers will of course use frameworks based on their experience. They will break a problem down so they can think about each component of it but they will look to change the rules not just apply them. And the true strategist understands that strategies are aimed at people and changing their behaviour. Their strategic business advice will be based on an understanding of human behaviour. Just as in war, a strategy does not just get the job done, it enables you to beat the competition, to deliver higher returns than ever before, to win and win big for the least expenditure of resources.

So whether you are undertaking a brand planning strategy, a new business launch strategy or any other kind of strategy remember what this really means and remember to include the tactics which are just if not more important. Then you can charge accordingly.

Strategy - Probably the Most Overused and Misunderstood Word in Business

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Strategy - Seven Ideas To Help You Choose a Business Strategy

It can be challenging to select among a variety of potential strategies for your business. It's easy to imagine that we need to do them all at once, or work a complex business strategy that involves 20 to 30 tactics. Many business owners overwhelm themselves with complicated strategies, and expect themselves to accomplish ten years' worth of strategic effort over the next year. They aren't realistic about the time they have available, their capacity, or what their business needs most. If you're struggling to choose among many options and create a strategy for your business, here are a few ideas for you consider.

1. Keep it simple.


You don't have to build an empire this year. Your business empire can be built over time. Start simple. Don't get complicated. Focus your attention and effort on a single area. You can add to it your plans or branch out later when you've had success with your first simple business strategy.

Strategy - Seven Ideas To Help You Choose a Business Strategy

2. Be realistic.

Consider your real time constraints, skill level, energy available, and priorities. What matters is consistent solid progress over time - not setting the world on fire and burning yourself out trying to get everything done NOW.

3. If your business strategy must be complex, lay it out in phases.

Separate tactics out into short-term (six months to a year), mid-term (two years), and long-term (two years and more). Keep your focus on the short-term, except for those longer range activities where you must start prep work in advance.

4. If you have several competing strategic ideas, take these factors into consideration in your decision-making.

Which strategy can increase business revenue the fastest, simplest, easiest, with least disruption? Which strategy would you find most enjoyable? Which strategy engages your strengths? Do you feel a strong attraction for one business strategy over another? If you answer these questions and follow your own feelings, you will inevitable come up with the best working solution for your business.

5. What's your vision for your business?

Where exactly do you want it to end up? What market do you want to capture? How large do you want to grow? What do you want to be known for? What evolutionary process do your imagine for your business? By answering these questions, you clarify your vision and can choose those strategies that align with that vision.

6. Are you selecting the right strategy for your business for now to get the results that you desire?

What degree of certainty do you have about the success potential of your business strategy? Have you covered all possibilities? Have you included all the research time necessary? What skills must you acquire? If so, how do you fit in the skill acquisition? What can you do to feel 100% certain of success? Be honest with yourself about the answers to these questions and you will find that it is much easier to ascertain the right strategy for your business.

7. Is your time-line realistic, given your current commitments?

What time adjustments must you make? Is it the right timing for this strategy? Will the market be there for what you're creating? What are the ways that time can impact your strategy? take an honest and searching look at your time-line. Back off of any aggressive and needless time "crunches". You have to live too!

When you're working out a new business strategy, consider these seven ideas before you settle on a final plan. You owe it to your business.

Strategy - Seven Ideas To Help You Choose a Business Strategy

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Business Strategy - The Five Generic Competitive Strategies

When I was younger... I [didn't] want to be pigeonholed... Basically, now you want to be pigeonedholed. It's your niche. - Joan Chen, actress

A business strategy represents the game plan that your company will use to run its business, gain market share, and conduct operations. This plan of action determines how the company appeal to and satisfy customers, compete effectively, and accomplish managerial objectives. Developing a strategy should mean there is a managerial dedication to follow a specific group of actions that will advance the company's financial market performance and increase its bottom-line.


How will management grow the business while building a loyal customer base and out competing rivals becomes the perspective for both short-term and long-term goals. In order to boost performance and succeed, each functional piece of the business (research and development, supply chain activities, production, sales and marketing, distribution, finance, and human resources) must be unified in operation. Clearly, management's choice of strategy should be guided by the mission statement and the vision of the company. The strategic choice made for the company and by the managers speaks loudly... "Surrounded by the countless unique business approaches and ways of competing we might have selected, we have determined to use this particular mixture of competitive and operating approaches in driving the company in the planned direction, increasing its market position and competitiveness, and advancing execution." Hardly ever are these conclusions regarding strategy uncomplicated and painless for any company, and some of the conclusions may turn out to be mistaken - but that is not a justification for not making a decision on a specific path of action.

Business Strategy - The Five Generic Competitive Strategies

When developing a business strategy, your company's present situation must be considered. Managers should be driven to evaluate the business environment for the particular industry and the competitive forces, the company's recent performance and market status, its strong points and abilities, and its competitive weak points. Depending on the needs and the vision of the company, managers are forced to set a clear path for direction. By no means it this path absolute. Setting foot on this path of action requires the company strategy to evolve over time with both proactive and reactive activity. Developing the company strategy is in a cinch intended to guide the company in the planned direction while growing the business, and improving financial and market performance. Thus perfecting the company's vision and empowering the company's mission statement.

This article describes the five basic competitive strategy options - which of the five to make use of is an important and fundamental choice for any company. In developing this overall strategy, your company is beginning its pursuit for a competitive advantage. The main differences among competitive strategies comes down to (1) whether your company sets aim on a market target that is broad or narrow, and (2) whether your company is pursuing a competitive advantage linked to low-cost or product differentiation.

The five distinct competitive strategy approaches that stand out are below:

The Five Generic Competitive Strategies

1. A low-cost provider strategy - striving to achieve lower overall costs than rivals and appealing to a broad spectrum of customers, usually by under pricing rivals.

2. A broad differentiation strategy - seeking to differentiate the company's product offering from rivals' in ways that will appeal to a broad spectrum of buyers.

3. A best-cost provider strategy - giving customers more value for their money by incorporating good-to-excellent product attributes at a lower cost than rivals; the target is to have the lowest (best) costs and prices compared to rivals offering products with comparable attributes.

4. A focused (or market niche) strategy based on low costs - concentrating on a narrow buyer segment and out competing rivals by having lower costs than rivals and thus being able to serve niche members at a lower price.

5. A focused (or market niche) strategy based on differentiation - concentrating on a narrow buyer segment and out competing rivals by offering niche members customized attributes that meet their tastes and requirements better than rivals' products.

Each of these five generic competitive approaches stakes out a different market position. The decision on which generic strategy to employ is conceivably the most vital strategic commitment for your company. This commitment will drive the rest of the strategic actions that your company agrees to and it sets the entire tone for your quest of a competitive advantage over competitors while "Creating Your Own Lane" in business success.

Business Strategy - The Five Generic Competitive Strategies

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What Is Strategy?

Believe it or not, most people, including so-called industry experts and academics, are confused between a "strategy" and a "plan".

In most cases, most people think that they are talking about corporate strategy, when in actual fact they are merely talking about corporate planning.


Let me explain.

What Is Strategy?

When you have a strategy, what you want to do is usually to create some kind of competitive advantage over your competitors, or you pre-empt the market, so that you can win as many customers over as possible.

While you also plan to beat your competitors and win customers, the key differences here lie in the ability of your competitors to react and respond, and how you are then going to respond to your competitors' responses.

Simply take an anecdote from the great martial artist, Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee was observing some Karate exponents training to make their fists harder by hitting and breaking rocks. Curious about the practice session, Lee asked the Karate exponents, "Isn't it very easy to learn to break rocks? Rocks don't hit back!"

My point is: are you taking the assumption that your competitors are not responding back to your strategy? If yes, then you merely have a plan, not a strategy.

Strategy as a Game

Beyond the world of business, most people would associate a strategy with that of warfare. I prefer to illustrate strategy using more peaceful means such as playing chess, or better still, taking penalty kicks in a soccer game.

In a soccer tournament, if the 2 competing teams are not able to establish and a loser, the teams will take turns to kick a ball into a goal from just 12 yards away. The only obstacle between the opposing player and the goal posts is the goalkeeper.

Since it will depend on pure reflex actions, the goalkeeper would have to guess which direction the player is kicking the ball. The teams would also develop a strategy by guessing what is on the goalkeeper's mind, and hope to send the goalkeeper diving in the wrong direction.

This strategy is usually dynamically evolving until all the necessary players have taken their shots at goal. Usually, the first player will choose a direction, either left or right. Then his coach and teammates observe which direction the goalkeeper dives, and then formulate another decision to go left or right.

Some times, if the goalkeeper seems to figure out the pattern that the opposing teams are kicking the balls, the next opposing player may just send the ball down the centre. The reason being that the goalkeeper will be diving either left or right for sure. However, if the ball is sent to the centre, it catches the goalkeeper completely off guard.

So how does the above apply to the game of business?

The most often quoted example is when companies try to establish what Michael Porter terms as cost leadership. The resulting actions from competitors are likely to slash prices as well, thereby resulting in a price war. While in most cases, the companies that are the strongest financially can outlast the rest in a price war, usually no one emerges as the winner, not even the customers.

Besides those who went out of business in a price war, the survivors usually suffered great reductions in their profits as a result. Customers lose out when companies cut corners with lower product and service quality as the competing companies slug it out.

The underlying threat to all businesses is not the price wars, nor the fierce competition that exists. Rather the consistent threat is the propensity of competitors to adopt "copy cat" strategies, which makes everybody a loser.

Take the example of the dog gone dot.coms.

Most dot.coms operate under the premise of getting as many eyeballs as possible. Whether the eyeballs are there just to browse or to purchase something is a separate issue. The key thing is to get the eyeballs, since Amazon, Yahoo, eBay, eToys and other dot.com pioneers are getting millions of eyeballs each day.

However, when there are many dot.coms using different means to compete for eyeballs, the eyeballs become diluted, especially with the less established up-and-comers.

Without anticipating what will happen in the market, the dot.coms bombed.

Establishing Win-Win Strategies

Strategy is not just about analysing competitors' responses. It is also about how common interests can be aligned, so that all parties can benefit from this type of arrangement.

The entire I.T. industry is the epitome of such strategic alliances. Microsoft can only release its latest versions of Windows when Intel produces a better chip. Microsoft can be so successful when the major personal computer manufacturers agree to ship their computers with pre-loaded Windows systems. Although it has its own MS SQL database, the Windows system is compatible with other databases such as IBM's DB2, Oracle, Informix etc. Even SAP, which is supposed to the one one system that manages everything, runs on Windows as well. The result is a win-win situation for all. While Microsoft may lose some of its MS SQL sales, it gains in terms of its Windows sales. By leveraging on the world's most popular operating system, software manufacturers are able to reach out to a lot more computer users in the world. Even bitter enemies such as Netscape partners with Microsoft to compete with the Internet Explorer.

However, such strategic alliances are actually very fragile, especially for smaller companies. If, for example, there are 2 courier services in town, and each one of them specialises in the eastern and western part of town respectively. The 2 courier services decide to partner, so that they can get more clients. If the Eastern courier gets a business for the Western courier, he will pass over the contact and perhaps get a referral fee, and vice versa.

You may be inclined to find that such win-win arrangements should be long lasting. However, the opposite may just be the case. If the Western courier happens to have 5 times more business than the Eastern courier, the Eastern courier may be tempted to "steal" some of these contacts and expand to the west. This will of course make the Western courier very upset, and that may be the end of the partnership. Such considerations may the reasons why certain businesses are not inclined to form alliances.

In the case of Microsoft, it will be less inclined to venture into hardware manufacturing, partly because by doing so, it will be diluting its business focus, which is software. (If only Amazon had learnt from Microsoft to "stick to the knitting" and stick to just selling books, but that's another story)

The greater reason is probably Microsoft takes a long-term view of its alliances with its partners, and decides that working as a loose strategic alliance will give everybody the chance to specialise in each company's respective strengths. Microsoft is also dominant enough to ensure none of its partners dare to break the alliance arrangements, and hence keeping everybody in line.

Survival in the Era of Insurgents

As mentioned earlier, a strategy cannot be formulated without anticipating the responses of competitors, suppliers, partners, substitutes, new entrants and even customers.

Traditionally, most strategies revolve around competitor analysis. Nowadays, the larger threats are substitutes and new entrants, people whom may be totally missed out in your radar screen.

If you would like to formulate a winning strategy, I would suggest you start with your customer first.

No matter what product or service you are selling, acceptance by your customer will be the most important of all. To reach out to customers effectively, you need to define what is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which in simple terms, what would make your customers definitely buy from you, and not from someone else?

Your USP can be defined when you find out what are the needs, wants and concerns of your customers that are not fulfilled by you nor your competitors as yet. Unlike the Porter's suggestion to analyse competitors' strengths and weaknesses, a focus providing unfulfilled benefits to customers is likely to give you higher chances of Marketing success. By focusing on the unfulfilled benefits to your customers, you can also catch a glimpse of your substitutes products, as well as possible new entrants to the game.

The next thing is to make sure you launch a blitzkrieg or surprise introduction of your new products and services, to as many customers in the shortest possible time. If budget is a constraint, use direct marketing techniques to make sure that only your customers, and not competitors, get to know and buy your products and services.

As in all strategy formulation, stealth is critical to your success. However, when you start to market, you will have to give out crucial information to your competitors and customers alike. To overcome this, you would have to plan a few steps ahead. You would have to anticipate how long would it take for your competitors to respond, and in what way would they respond. Remember, your competitor is not a piece of rock.

In a knowledge-based economy like this, time is of essence. Sometimes, the perfect product cannot be produced given the time allowable. Hence, companies such as Microsoft tend to launch imperfect products, and modify along the way. Using the Pareto principle, 80% of your products' benefits can be fulfilled by 20% of those products' functions. As long as your customers can accept 80% of the products' benefits, you can launch a product that is only 20% developed.

Besides allowing you to launch products in a very short period of time, it also allows you to throw your competitors of their track. As mentioned before, most companies have a propensity to copy, and perhaps generate copies that are better in terms of quality. Only few have the initiative to innovate and increase the range of product benefits. By the time your competitors introduce a copy-cat product into the market, and start undercutting each others' prices, you have now further developed your product, thus moving several steps ahead of your competition.

In addition, time, as well as other resources, ought to be well managed creatively. If you have 2 cows, and your business is milking cow's milk to sell the milk in the market, what you can do to exponentially multiply production is to sell 1 cow and buy a bull!


While most management textbooks would emphasize that a strategy is dynamically evolving, the tools and processes discussed are usually meant for static plans. The success in any strategy lies not just in having information about your competitors, but more importantly, in anticipating how your competitors will respond to your actions.

In closing, here is a joke that was found on the Internet, which simply illustrates the process of a dynamically evolving strategy.

A duck hunter was waiting in an open field near a pond when a covey of ducks flew over at low altitude. Aiming carefully and quickly he fired and down fell a duck. As he and his faithful dog approached their kill a rather imposing looking farmer appeared and motioned to the hunter to stop.

The 6' 6", 245 lb. farmer asked the hunter what he thought he was doing.

"Well, I'm hunting ducks," he replied to the farmer's question. "I just killed one and now I'm going to pick it up and put it in my bag."

The farmer then stated that the duck was not the hunter's because, "I own the land and the sky over it; Since the duck fell on my land - I own the duck!"

After a short but spirited argument the hunter and the farmer could see that neither was willing to give up the duck to the other. The hunter then offered a remedy to the problem. He said, "In the age of the Vikings, when problems such as this arose, the two arguing Vikings would agree to take turns kicking each other in the groin until one of them couldn't continue. The victor would then win the argument. I suggest we do this tried and true age-old remedy to settle the question about who owns the duck."

The farmer, who was much larger than the slightly built hunter, agreed and in a gentlemanly gesture encouraged the hunter to "go ahead and kick first."

Kick is exactly what he did! The hunter reeled back and, with all of his might, he kicked the farmer right square in the groin!

The farmer immediately fell to the ground. He writhed in excruciating pain for several minutes after which he finally struggled to his knees. Coughing and holding his gut he staggered to his feet barely holding his balance. Another ten minutes passed and still the farmer couldn't speak -- he could barely breathe! All the while the hunter and his dog stood nearby waiting for the farmer to take his turn...

Finally, when the farmer felt strong enough to stand he muttered in a very angry and determined growl, "Now it's my turn!"

He slowly regained his full massive stature and positioned himself to kick -- when suddenly the hunter said, "Nah, you go ahead and keep the duck!"

The moral of the story: before committing yourself, find out

1. If it's worth your while;

2. Has your expected payoffs or returns changed; and

3. If you're stuck in a no-win situation, why not just give it away!

What Is Strategy?

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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.

The Importance of Corporate 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.

Strategy - How Do Business Strategy and Focus Interconnect?

Business strategy and focus are intimately connected. Having a business strategy sharply focuses your business and focus is absolutely required to accomplish your strategy. You must focus to create and execute a strategy. A strategy clearly delineates exactly what you choose to focus on, and gives a road map to keep yourself on track. You've got a tool to help you eliminate off-focus activities. Here are a few ideas for how you can use this dynamic interconnection of strategy and focus for your business.

1. Gather all your focus for a few hours and create a cohesive and powerful strategy for your business.


Know what you want to accomplish and plan how to get there. Clarify your tactics and action steps. Break all this down into the smallest activities possible. Rather than say "increase revenue", put down everything you will do to achieve that.

Strategy - How Do Business Strategy and Focus Interconnect?

2. Focus on executing your strategic plan.

Refer to it frequently. Revise as needed in real time. Work to the plan. Don't get pulled off track by off-plan activities. If new ideas come up, add them to the plan, but do be sure that they contribute to the plan and aren't just the "latest, greatest, brilliant ideas".

3. Think twice about following the crowd.

There's so much distracting "stuff" coming at us, it's stressful to have to consume productive time to consider the usefulness of all this input. If "everybody" is touting the value of the latest social media craze, that doesn't mean it's right for your business. You might be better off waiting to see what methods turn out to have real value for your business. Focus on your strategy and let others come up with proven techniques that you can incorporate later.

4. When you are working from your strategic plan, you focus naturally.

It's easier to stay on plan. You have strong conviction about what your right next actions are. You feel clear, and don't go through all that confusion that is typical without a plan. You gain momentum, and experience greater success and excitement about your business. Off-plan activity doesn't have as strong a pull on you.

5. You're more aware when you're acting without focus.

Since you've become more accustomed to working on your strategy in a focused way, it bothers you more when you're not focused. You're less liable to continue behaving that way and it's easier to re-focus. You have a written plan to use to clarify your focus at any time. You don't end up spending time meandering around lost. You've got a road map. You have greater security and confidence in your direction and business activities.

6. You must maintain focus to achieve your strategic plan.

Because you've already invested in creating the plan, you're more likely to see the value, remain invested, and continue to execute. If you fail to maintain focus on your strategy, you notice it immediately. The more that you use your strategy as a daily guidance tool, the better results you will get.

Understand the ways that focus and strategy are interconnected. If you have problems staying focused, creating a strategy for your business will make a huge positive difference.

Strategy - How Do Business Strategy and Focus Interconnect?

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How To Create An Effective Business Development Strategy

The Business Development Strategy is used to underpin your main Business Plan and essentially it sets out a standard approach for developing new opportunities, either from within existing accounts or by proactively targeting brand new potential accounts and then working to close them.

This document highlights the key issues you should consider prior to compiling your own plan and will hopefully guide you logically through a proven framework.


The key word is 'Strategy', because you are creating a workable and achievable set of objectives in order to exceed your annual target.

How To Create An Effective Business Development Strategy

Your Starting Point:

The key words are Who? What? Where? When? Which? Why? How?

For example:

Who - are you going to target?

What - do you want to sell them?

Where - are they located?

When - will you approach them?

Which - are the appropriate target personnel?

Why - would they want to meet with you?

How - will you reach them?

If you have conducted regular account reviews with your key accounts during the previous twelve months, you should be aware of any new opportunities that will surface during the next twelve months. You will also, when assessing what percentage of your annual target usually comes from existing accounts, need to review data over the last two or three years. (It is likely that you can apply Pareto i.e. 80% of your business will probably come from existing accounts and in fact 80% of your total revenue will come from just 20% of your customers/clients)

You will be left with a balance - i.e. "20% of my business next year will come from new opportunities" - therefore you can then begin to allocate your selling time accordingly.

Ideal Customer Profiling:

Pro-active business development demands that we create an ideal target at the front end - i.e. an "Ideal Customer Profile." The essential characteristics you will need to consider are:

- Industrial Sector

- Geographical Location (Demographics)

- Size of organizations (Turnover, number of employees etc)

- Financial Trends

- Psychographics - i.e. Philosophical compatibility

Many strategic sales professionals merely profile their best existing clients and try to replicate them - there's nothing wrong with doing this but we should always remember that we are seeking an IDEAL and we can always improve on what we already have.

'New' Opportunities From Within 'Old' Accounts:

Because it costs approximately ten times as much, to first locate and then sell to a new customer as it does an existing one (although these costs are rarely reflected in the cost of sales), it is essential that we fully develop our existing accounts working upwards, downwards and sideways, thus making the most of the (hopefully) excellent reputation we have developed already.

Most corporate accounts have several divisions, departments, sites, even country offices and you must satisfy yourself that you have exhausted every possible avenue. Don't be afraid to ask the question "Who else should I be talking to in your organization"?

This is an extract from my FREE eBook - "How to Construct an Effective Business Development Strategy" which is available for download - please see details below.

Copyright © 2012 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved

How To Create An Effective Business Development Strategy

To download my new revised FREE eBook "How to Construct an Achievable Business Development Strategy" please visit my personal site The JF Consultancy, - www.jonathanfarrington.com

Effective Corporate Strategy is Key to Success

In order to compete in business today all companies need to develop good corporate strategy. The strategy you take must be organized and well planned, taking into consideration the values and direction of your company. In order for the plan to be effective, you need to start with a good foundation.

With the correct strategy and planning your company can implement changes and begin to grow. First, develop your core team. A team should have strong communications amongst the members and be able to communicate the plan to everyone within the company. They should developed and share the same vision. The results you get will be a higher level of performance and this will help your company to become more profitable.


Examine your current customers and your competitors closely. Then put in to place practices that will help you reach your shared vision.

Developing an effective succession plan will ensure higher and more stable leadership. One way to do is to define what brought your company its initial success. Once you have done this, identify the key personal who are involved. Define your companies short and your long-term goals. Give your leaders the right focus and resources that they need. Support and monitor their goal.

Consider hiring a consulting or coaching service if you are not aware of all the necessary steps that you need to take. They can provide direct support for your staff and its leaders to reach key goals on time and in the correct order.

Such a service can help you developed strategies to become more effective and cut down on cost. They can also help to revamp or write a business plan for you that you can implement in a reasonable time. They also can direct and align your leaders into a position to improve your employees and their processes. Developing clear corporate strategy will help to facilitate communication and bring greater company success.

Effective Corporate Strategy is Key to Success

Visit our blog for corporate strategy tips or explore our strategic planning consulting using the Six Rings Model.

Tactics to File an Answer to the Mortgage Company's Foreclosure Lawsuit Complaint

When homeowners receive a bank's foreclosure complaint in the mail, they are usually given from fourteen days to a month to file an answer with the court. While the circumstances of the situation should determine how exactly the owners will respond to the lawsuit, there are a number of different options they may consider when fighting back against their lender's attempt to auction the house.

In most cases, though, the first thing homeowners may wish to do is consult with a local attorney to make sure that they are accurately following all of the local and state Rules of Procedure. It may be as good an idea to read the rules on their own and begin to formulate their answer to the complaint based on them. If the rules of procedure are not followed to the letter, there is a good chance the bank's lawyers will attempt to have the answer discounted or thrown out altogether.


The bank, in its original complaint, must lay out a number of issues and prove certain elements of its case to the court. For example, the bank must show that it has a legally binding contract with the homeowners, that the bank performed its end of the contract as agreed, the homeowners breached the contract, and that because of this breach the bank has suffered actual damages. If the bank fails to make its case on any one of these points, it may not be able to prove it is entitled to foreclosure of the house.

Recently, one defense against a certain element of the bank's case has becoming increasingly popular. Since the bank must prove that it has a contract between itself and the homeowners, some borrowers have used this to challenge the lender's ownership of the mortgage loan. If the lender can not show that it owns the loan, there exists no contract between the two parties, and the bank can not sue for foreclosure. The fact that many prime and subprime mortgages were packed up and sold off in slices and never had individual owners assigned to them from the huge pool of investors means that many mortgage are floating around with no real party to the contract who is due the monthly payments and has standing to sue the owners.

Rules of procedure also apply to the mortgage company and its attorneys when attempting to sue homeowners. If the borrowers can show blatant disregard or breaking of certain rules, the court may have no choice but to throw the case out of court for the time being. The bank may be able to start over from square one and bring the suit back into court, but at least the attorneys will be a little more careful next time and the homeowners will have bought more time to find a longer-term solution to foreclosure.

Certain jurisdictional issues may also come up, if the owners do not believe that the court in which the bank brought its lawsuit has the power to compel them to answer the complaint. In fact, it may be very difficult for any plaintiff to prove that the court has jurisdiction over the defendant, for the simple fact that the entire issue is based more on legal opinions than concrete facts. Proving jurisdiction factually, if the owners really want to stick the issue, may create problems for the lender's attorneys.

Of course, no legal defense may be good enough in the presence of a corrupt judge who railroads every homeowner through the system and throws out objections on any grounds possible. County courts, through the filing fees paid by lenders seeking foreclosure judgments, have a financial incentive to keep their clients, the banks, happy and get in and out as many cases as the court can reasonably handle, regardless of the economic health of the area's homeownership community. In such cases, homeowners should make their case but also know when to appeal bad decisions and when to give up and simply move on.

For borrowers who really want to stop foreclosure any way possible, answering the foreclosure complaint is a virtual necessity. Even if it just drags on the process for a few extra months, the additional time may present a final solution to the mortgage. But homeowners can also make a strong case in the courts and may have a good chance of having the bank's lawsuit thrown out for now. There are various ways to go about filing an answer, and borrowers should consult their county and states rules of procedure, but the widespread corruption and deception in the mortgage markets over the past years may make it somewhat easier to shoot down a bank's arguments.

Tactics to File an Answer to the Mortgage Company's Foreclosure Lawsuit Complaint

The ForeclosureFish website has been created to help homeowners stop foreclosure on their properties while they still have time and resources available, as well as defend against the bank's lawsuit against them. The site examines various methods to use, such as short sales, stopping a sheriff sale, contesting ownership of the mortgage, and more. Visit the site to read more about how foreclosure works and the best ways to begin recovering afterwards: http://www.foreclosurefish.net/

Best Funds and Best Investment Strategy Now For 2012

The best time to plan your best investment strategy and pick the best funds for 2012 is now, because last year's investment strategy and best funds could put you in the poor house by year end 2012. There's a rocky road ahead for stocks and bonds, and you'll need a new strategy and the right funds to keep your investment portfolio balanced and out of serious trouble.

For the average investor the best investment strategy will still revolve around bond funds and stock funds in 2012, but the focus will change. The best bond funds will be more defensive, and the best stock funds will be more conservative and income oriented. The USA and much of the free world is facing heavy debt problems on the one hand and slow economic growth one the other. Defense is the name of the game going forward. If you can sidestep heavy losses now and throughout 2012: you will be in a position to step up to the plate when the dust finally settles.


The best bond fund investment strategy is to hold SHORTER-TERM high quality CORPORATE bond funds - and NOT long-term funds that invest primarily in government securities. If interest rates take off long term bonds will fall substantially in value. A mutual fund holding issues that mature in about 5 years will be hurt much less than one that holds long term maturities of 20+ years. That's not a guess. That's how the bond market reacts to rising interest rates. I suggest going with corporate vs. government bond funds for two reasons. First, corporate bond issues pay higher interest than U.S. Treasury notes and bonds. Second, corporate America is in excellent financial shape vs. the U.S. government.

The best investment strategy in the stock department is to avoid or sell equity (stock) funds that invest heavily in growth and/or small-company stocks. These often pay little or no dividend income to investors, and in a volatile and declining stock market these funds can get clobbered. The best stock funds for 2012 will be EQIUTY INCOME large-cap funds that invest in high-quality major corporations with excellent records for paying above average dividend yields. A 2% to 3% dividend income might not make you rich, but a steady reliable income stream from America's highest quality companies tends to cushion portfolio losses in a bad stock market.

Over the past several years I have included owning gold, gold stocks and gold funds as part of my recommended best investment strategy. For 2012 I no longer include gold in my investment strategy, primarily because gold's price has become extremely inflated over the past few years. Gold has become more of a speculation than a hedge against inflation or disaster. Instead of holding gold I would suggest putting some of your investment dollars in an insured account at your local bank. Sometimes cash is king, especially when interest rates are extremely low and rising. Money market funds are the best funds for safety. When rates move up they should become quite attractive as a safe haven for investors.

Both the best stock funds and best bond funds for 2012 will be defensive in nature. They will also have something else in common... a low cost of investing. Keeping costs low is always an ingredient in the best investment strategy for average investors. Invest in low-cost no-load INDEX funds whenever possible to automatically increase your total returns by 1%, 2% or more year in and year out. That might not sound like much, unless you consider that you haven't been able to earn 2% in safe liquid investments for the past few years.

In summary, your best investment strategy for 2012 and going forward: an even split between relatively short-term corporate bond funds and high quality large-cap equity- income funds. The best bond funds and best stock funds in these categories will be low cost no-load (no sales charges) INDEX funds with low yearly expense ratios. The best safe investments may be found by shopping local banks or credit unions until interest rates really take off. After that the best safe investment will likely be money market mutual funds.

Best Funds and Best Investment Strategy Now For 2012

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 http://www.investinformed.com. Learn how to invest.

Business Strategy

A business strategy is formulated by selecting the target audience of the product and assembling the marketing mix. A firm can assemble marketing mix elements in many different ways so that the relative weightage of the different elements will be different in the different combinations. Because of this reality, business firms are employing an abundance of strategies and strategy stances. It is a relentless race to stay ahead of competition.

Basically, however, there are only two broad routes available for forging business strategies. They are the price route and the differentiation route. In other words, any strategy has to be ultimately either a price-based strategy or a differentiation-based strategy.


Companies taking the price route compete on the strength of their pricing and the price cushions they enjoy. Normally, those who resort to the price route and compete on price will enjoy substantial cost advantages, giving them flexibility in pricing and marketing. The differentiation route, on the other hand, revolves around elements other than price. The product with its innumerable features is one major source of differentiation. In fact, any of the ever-so-many activities performed by the business unit can constitute the nucleus for differentiation.

In other words, differentiation allows the company the freedom and flexibility to fight on the non-price front. Differentiation, therefore, is a crucial option for a firm in its search for a rewarding strategy. A good majority of business battles are in fact fought with a differentiation-based strategy rather than a price-based strategy.

As already mentioned, a business unit that opts for the price route in its competitive battle will enjoy certain flexibilities in the matter of pricing of its products, and use price as the main competitive lever. It will price its products to suit varying competitive demands. It will enjoy certain inherent cost advantages, which permit it to resort to a price-based fight.

Business Strategy

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