To be efficient, a company must have previously defined its general objective and the strategy to achieve it. Defining a goal and an action plan is the best way to move forward effectively, even if, along the way, you realize that things have to be adapted.
Every Serial Entrepreneur needs a guide or help for the development of his Create Sustainable Business Strategy by setting a general policy or a medium-term vision that takes into account the need to develop the strategy and the resulting short-term action plans. It must endeavour to identify all the factors that may influence the development of the company’s commercial activity.
How to Situate the General Objective, Strategy, and Tactics?
Developing a project consists of defining a general and global objective on which all the company’s efforts will be concentrated. Depending on the case (business creation, innovative project, existing business, etc.) this general objective may be an innovative project, a development plan, or a business policy.
The general objective (or company policy in large groups) corresponds to the company project. It is at the level of the choice of the main orientations of the company, of its mission (What is the object of our work? What added value do we bring?) And of the goals that it sets for itself (What do we want to be? What values do we defend?).
Determining a general objective, which strengthens the cohesion of the company and contributes to better coordination of operational decisions is not reserved for large groups. It is beneficial to all entrepreneurial projects, whatever their size and activity. TMP, SME, ETI… all companies are concerned by the strategic approach which will help them to develop their activity.
The strategy consists in studying the various possible options to achieve the set objective and to choose the most suitable. We identify 3 strategic levels to be taken into consideration:
- The group’s growth strategy (corporate strategy);
- The competitive strategies of the various fields of activity (business strategy);
- Operational or tactical strategies (operating strategy).
As shown in the attached diagram, the strategies have a hierarchical link that it is important to respect to maintain the consistency and effectiveness of the choices made.
The company can set up collaborative (or relational) strategies in parallel with competitive strategies. This approach manifests itself through the establishment of agreements and/or partnerships with other organizations. Some competing companies manage to create strategic alliances to defend a common interest.
How to Choose the Right Strategy?
A lot can be said about the relevance or the success of a strategy. What seems most important to us is to be aware that there is no way to know in advance whether a strategy will succeed or not for several reasons:
- On the one hand, the relevance of the choices made largely depends on the quality of the work carried out during the development of the strategy.
- On the other hand, the players in the target market are constantly evolving and adapting to opposing strategies.
- Finally, the factors on which the strategy was based may change and impact the strategy.
A successful strategy requires preparing it well, but also measuring its effects to correct it, adapt it, or even change it if necessary.
However, these remarks should not minimize the fact that good preparation work allows in the great majority of cases to identify and put in place a winning strategy.
Several tools can be used to help set up a profitable strategy. Here are 4 briefly presented.
The SWOT model Strengths / Weaknesses, Opportunities / Threats
SWOT is a tool often used to identify possible strategies for launching a business or product or for expanding an existing business. The analysis is based on the crossing of two elements:
- An internal diagnosis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the company
- An external diagnosis makes it possible to find out what are the opportunities and threats present in the business environment.
The crossing of this information leads to the identification of the key success factors (FCS) in the fields of activity where the company is present.
The 4 facets of company policy: Strategy – Structure – Decision – Identity
This model helps the leader to identify the relationships between the chosen strategy and its implementation through the structure of the company, the decision-making processes, and the identity of the company.
Each of these aspects constitutes an essential lever for the implementation of the manager’s policy.
Mc Kinsey’s 7 S’s and change management
This tool identifies the 7 essential factors that interact and influence the performance of the company and its capacity to adapt to the necessary changes:
- Strategy: the orientations taken to improve the performance and profitability of the company.
- Structure: how the different units are organized and linked (departments, subsidiaries, etc.).
- Systems: the internal processes, procedures, and operating methods that make the business run.
- Style: the nature of the management used in the company: democratic, participatory, etc.
- Staff: the characteristics of the staff (number, jobs, profiles, etc.).
- Skills: individual and collective skills useful to the business.
- Shared Value: the corporate culture, as well as its mission and vision.
Their analysis helps to better understand the functioning of the company and helps to identify areas for improvement.
Support for the manager
If in large companies the manager’s mission is to implement the policy decided by the shareholders, in SMEs and start-up companies, he must manage to reconcile his managerial mission with his operational work (management, sales, manager, etc. …).
Most of the time, this dual mission allows him to feel the needs and evolutions of the market. However, it hinders taking a step back and often developing and monitoring a strategy that would help the company to develop its activity. He then finds himself in the situation of a sports team coach who, as team captain, helps his team to perfect their game but finds it impossible to step back.
It is therefore difficult for him to manage his project and reduces his strategic approach to a succession of tactical decisions.
The solution to getting out of this situation is to set up support. The latter, by virtue of its regularity and the exchanges it generates, will help it to define and follow a strategy that will improve the coordination and convergence of the objectives of the various stakeholders (employees, suppliers, etc.).