In this, our 100th blog posting, I'd like to focus on strategy with some prompts from the book by Chris Outram called 'Making your Strategy Work'.

Chris suggests that the process of strategy development should always rely upon a rigorous review of seven things:

  1. Customer needs - who needs what and why? How much might they be willing to pay?
  2. Market trends - what is changing and why? Do you understand where these changes will take the market (and you)?
  3. The competition - what are your competitors - the obvious and not so obvious ones - doing and why? Do you understand their strategies? Can you find ways to outpace them?
  4. The economics of participating - how can you make money in a sustainable way? How much will this cost? Do you understand the economics of your (potential) models and those of your actual and potential competitors?
  5. Positioning and capabilities - how are you different? Is your level of differentiation sufficient to sustain your strategy? Can you resource your efforts with the right people, working in the right roles?
  6. Financial modelling - in describing your strategy, does it all fit together? Can you afford it? Will it satisfy stakeholders?
  7. Looking ahead to execution - are you clear on what you need to achieve? Do you understand what needs to be done and who will be accountable for specific parts of the plan? Have you got the right people to execute the strategy? What are milestones for tracking success?

Many business people use the festive period to reflect on the previous year and what to do in 2014. These questions may assist your thinking. Good luck.

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