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INC Magazine: Ditch Your Strategy, Keep Your Vision

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  • N. Adhi W. | BOLDER
    *Ditch Your Strategy, Keep Your Vision* /Karl Stark and Bill Stewart// //Oct 26, 2012/ /Winning strategies are not set in concrete, but your long-term vision
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 3, 2012
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      *Ditch Your Strategy, Keep Your Vision*
      /Karl Stark and Bill Stewart//
      //Oct 26, 2012/

      /Winning strategies are not set in concrete, but your long-term vision
      should remain rooted./

      Strategy. Perhaps there's no other word in business that draws such a
      diverse set of definitions and emotions. Just what is strategy and how
      is it relevant to your business? And how does your strategy change as
      your business grows?

      First, it's important to understand what business owners should not
      regularly change, regardless of the size and maturity of their business.
      All businesses need a long-term vision. How will you transform the
      industry? Will your new restaurant be the "McDonald's killer" or will
      you become a "Pillar of the local community"?

      In addition to a vision, it's critical to set the rules of the game.
      Tom's of Maine uses no animal testing or animal ingredients in its
      products, dedicates 5% of employees' time to volunteer activities, and
      uses no artificial colors, flavors, fragrances, or preservatives. For
      Tom's, the "how" is a critical piece of its values.

      Regardless of size, there's also a need to identify the markets where
      you'll compete and how you'll successfully win in the market.
      Corporations place a lot of emphasis on developing alignment among key
      stakeholders, clearly and concisely communicating the strategy and
      pressure-testing activities to ensure they are aligned with the overall
      strategy.

      At emerging firms, buy-in and communication are still critical, but
      because the team is smaller and more focused, it's often less of a
      sticking point. Instead, the challenge becomes setting goals, executing
      against those goals and knowing when to re-evaluate, or pivot. The last
      piece is the hardest, because you need to re-set expectations and goals
      coming out of the pivot.

      To know when to pivot, you need a solid feedback loop. For new
      products, do research and quickly get a prototype in the hands of a
      select set of customers. Seek feedback and listed to the customers
      rather than trying to force your original strategy. Listen, re-assess
      your customer demands and create another product that better meets the
      need. Don't rationalize and try to force your first idea. Focus on
      learning rather than making money when you're an emerging company or
      business unit and even once you're profitable, always keep learning,
      improvement, and flexibility as priorities.

      It's easy to narrowly define your company, but the most successful
      companies, regardless of size, constantly reinvent themselves. IBM is a
      great example of a company that has transformed itself from a
      products-based company to a services company. As an entrepreneur, your
      strategy will certainly change if you're accurately capturing feedback
      from your customers. What are your customer's biggest needs? Which
      products are they gravitating toward? What features, offerings, or ideas
      are not worth pursuing?

      As a small company, you have an advantage over large companies, because
      you can pivot quickly at a low cost. Your strategy will frequently
      change, and you should view this as a good thing. After all, it's not
      about how well you strategize at the onset that matters--it's about
      building a business you're passionate about.

      /Copyright © 2012 Mansueto Ventures LLC. All rights reserved./


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • N. Adhi W. | BOLDER
      *Ditch Your Strategy, Keep Your Vision* /Karl Stark and Bill Stewart// //Oct 26, 2012/ /Winning strategies are not set in concrete, but your long-term vision
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 22, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        *Ditch Your Strategy, Keep Your Vision*
        /Karl Stark and Bill Stewart//
        //Oct 26, 2012/

        /Winning strategies are not set in concrete, but your long-term vision
        should remain rooted./

        Strategy. Perhaps there's no other word in business that draws such a
        diverse set of definitions and emotions. Just what is strategy and how
        is it relevant to your business? And how does your strategy change as
        your business grows?

        First, it's important to understand what business owners should not
        regularly change, regardless of the size and maturity of their business.
        All businesses need a long-term vision. How will you transform the
        industry? Will your new restaurant be the "McDonald's killer" or will
        you become a "Pillar of the local community"?

        In addition to a vision, it's critical to set the rules of the game.
        Tom's of Maine uses no animal testing or animal ingredients in its
        products, dedicates 5% of employees' time to volunteer activities, and
        uses no artificial colors, flavors, fragrances, or preservatives. For
        Tom's, the "how" is a critical piece of its values.

        Regardless of size, there's also a need to identify the markets where
        you'll compete and how you'll successfully win in the market.
        Corporations place a lot of emphasis on developing alignment among key
        stakeholders, clearly and concisely communicating the strategy and
        pressure-testing activities to ensure they are aligned with the overall
        strategy.

        At emerging firms, buy-in and communication are still critical, but
        because the team is smaller and more focused, it's often less of a
        sticking point. Instead, the challenge becomes setting goals, executing
        against those goals and knowing when to re-evaluate, or pivot. The last
        piece is the hardest, because you need to re-set expectations and goals
        coming out of the pivot.

        To know when to pivot, you need a solid feedback loop. For new
        products, do research and quickly get a prototype in the hands of a
        select set of customers. Seek feedback and listed to the customers
        rather than trying to force your original strategy. Listen, re-assess
        your customer demands and create another product that better meets the
        need. Don't rationalize and try to force your first idea. Focus on
        learning rather than making money when you're an emerging company or
        business unit and even once you're profitable, always keep learning,
        improvement, and flexibility as priorities.

        It's easy to narrowly define your company, but the most successful
        companies, regardless of size, constantly reinvent themselves. IBM is a
        great example of a company that has transformed itself from a
        products-based company to a services company. As an entrepreneur, your
        strategy will certainly change if you're accurately capturing feedback
        from your customers. What are your customer's biggest needs? Which
        products are they gravitating toward? What features, offerings, or ideas
        are not worth pursuing?

        As a small company, you have an advantage over large companies, because
        you can pivot quickly at a low cost. Your strategy will frequently
        change, and you should view this as a good thing. After all, it's not
        about how well you strategize at the onset that matters--it's about
        building a business you're passionate about.

        /Copyright © 2012 Mansueto Ventures LLC. All rights reserved./


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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