In preparing for battle I’ve always found that plans are useless, but planning is essential.
– Dwight Eisenhower
Strategy is all about the plan to achieve your goal. Strategy is the road map to success. In the What is Strategy? post, we proposed that strategy outlines the plan, but is subject to change due to the unknown. We should keep in mind the words of General Eisenhower because our plans are great, but things change.
As a small business, or in order to start your small business, then it is important to position your company within the overall market at the onset of your strategy. This means, you do not need to be everything to everyone, but should be the solution to certain people.
In Marketing is Strategy, we outlined the Positioning statement. The following is the Que statement:
For people with creative passions who want to start a business, Que Ventures is an investment and consulting firm that provides capital and services. Unlike traditional investors (i.e., banks, consulting firms, angel investors or venture capitalists), Que focuses on people with passion, not business experience.
How did we get there?
We view ourselves as part of the venture capital and angel investing sectors because we look to help facilitate new businesses. Part of this landscape is business consultants as well. Within that large industry (new business), we position ourselves to help micro-ventures. New businesses that want to raise $50 million, like Snapchat, are not part of our demographic. Those enterprises require much more capital and have unique problems that require specialized expertise.
We can help set up and get a small business going, but would have difficulty providing help for a company that wants to secure private messaging. We do not have the technical expertise in cryptography or networking to help. A company like Snapchat raised capital from established ventures capitalists, and those investors position themselves to help startups solve complex problems and get to scale very quickly.
We do have the knowledge to help set up a web site for a photographer looking to start a new business and needs help with their web site and strategy. Compared to a traditional venture capitalist, we aim to help businesses create a sustainable company. They are simply different business models.
For your company, you will need to position yourself accordingly. If you are a jeweler, then will you compete with Tiffany or local merchants. Either way is perfectly fine, but your strategy will differ. The brand will need to reflect your target customers. If you are selling earnings for $1,000 a pair, then your distribution strategy will be different from selling earnings for $5 a pair. The latter is ok to be sold on an eBay store, the former should be more exclusive.
So how do you determine your strategy?
Well, it starts with a plan. And at the start of the plan is your mission and goals for your company. What do you want to accomplish? What is your vision for your company?=
Every situation is slightly different, but we think to achieve sustainable success, then the main objective should be more than just financial. Money will likely be a motivating factor along the way, but if your only objective is financial, then we feel there will be a disconnect at some point. The path to creating a sustainable business requires dedication and hard work. If you have a lack of passion, then we think your motivation to succeed will wane and your results will suffer.
Once you have your goals established, then you are ready to create your strategic plan. The path to reach your goal. Pulling from some information from the SBA and our Do I need a business plan? post, then we can outline the planning steps.
- Strategy (to reach goal)
- Actions (how to execute strategies)
- Monitoring (hold yourself accountable)
If we continue with our jeweler example, then their possible goal might be create a business out of their jewelry hobby, focused on natural resources.
The strategy may be to create a web site and social media presence, along with aiming to sell primarily on Etsy. That is a solid strategy. If our jeweler created a blog that provided tips on what settings to wear their jewelry or what color shirts match their earnings or necklaces, then that would extend their reach.
Why? Those actions aim to further connect and engage with potential customers. A customer might be on the fence about a buying a necklace, but notice links (with pictures) to family cookouts showing the necklace in action. If the piece of jewelry is less formal, then there should not be pictures to symphony because those settings would be aimed for a different audience.
The plan to create the blog is part of the strategy. The actual act of blogging and maintaining content is part of the actions. Reviewing the blogs monthly users and number of comments would be part of the monitoring.
These are parts of creating and sustaining a small business. Of course, the main driver is sales. How many pieces of jewelry do you actually sell? That would be the primary method to determine if you are achieving your goals. However, the main part of planning is to figure out how to find people to buy your jewelry and engage them to buy more jewelry over time.
In terms of Que, our vision is to facilitate new business, particularly at the micro or individual level. Our goal is to help people who lack business experience create sustainable businesses. Part of our plan is to blog and provide our thinking about how to start and maintain a small business so people will want to work with us. In return, we will be compensated as we help them grow their business.
As we continue to operate, then we check our metrics. If we don’t receive much engagement or user growth (number of web site visitors or newsletter subscribers), then we will adjust.
Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.
– Rudy Giuliani
We hope this helps as you are working towards your entrepreneurial venture. If you have any questions or comments, then please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS…please find some more links to help your business plan and business model.
Business Model v Business Plan
Do You Have a Marketing Plan?
Help Determine your Business Model