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

The Five Key Elements of a Short Strategy Statement

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Putting It Into Practice

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

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

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

Short Strategy Statements Align The Company's Activities

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2010 Alex Glassey

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

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

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

Strategy Implementation

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

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


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

Strategy Implementation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Executing Your Strategy, Morgan, Levitt & Malek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy Implementation

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A Winning Strategy For Farkle

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

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


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

A Winning Strategy For Farkle

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

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

My strategy assumes the following rules:

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

The Strategy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you are considering throwing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Winning Strategy For Farkle

by Scott Slocum Amuseware Software Company

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

Happy Farkling everyone!

iPhone Marketing Strategy

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

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


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

iPhone Marketing Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

iPhone Marketing Strategy

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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