People and organizations with clear visions, values, and plans tend to accomplish far more and do it faster than their competitors. When everyone in an organization is united by a clear strategic vision of the desired future state, they create a powerful mental synergy that will move them toward their goals. The world has become an increasingly challenging place for businesspeople. Not only is it more difficult than ever to start a business, but there are more threats from competitors, angry consumers, and government regulators. The current economic situation is putting many entrepreneurs in survival mode, in constant combat to achieve profitability.
I would like to suggest these seven key military principles that are applicable in setting corporate strategy for a Startup:
1. Objective — Have a clear vision of what needs to be accomplished and why.
2. Offensive — Develop a strategic plan and then launch it like a javelin into the heart of the market.
3. Concentration — Concentrated limited resources on selling the very best potential products and services to the very best prospects.
4. Economy — Use brain power and creativity to achieve market success with the minimum possible expenditure of time and money.
5. Flexibility — Maintain the ability to quickly change every factor of the business to achieve sales and profitability against determined competition.
6. Surprise — Be prepared to do the unexpected, to counter the competition with rapid changes in products, prices, promotional methods, and places of sales.
7. Momentum — Seize the day and press forward aggressively to achieve every dollar of profitable sales possible while the window of opportunity is open.
While the economy may not make it possible to deliver the plan exactly as proposed, the process of planning is mission critical. The ability to develop a great business plan, and then to set and implement business strategy, is at the heart of business success.
Effective leaders are clear about the measures they use to monitor the success of their businesses and demonstrate financial discipline in everything they do. Their success is acquired by staying focused on what is really important to their long-term strategy.
There are five good reasons for setting strategy:
1. To increase return on equity invested.
2. To reposition the business relative to competitors.
3. To capitalize on strengths and opportunities.
4. To form a basis for making better decisions.
5. To attract investors and financing.
It is also important to determine a corporate mission, a clear statement of why the company exists in the first place. This corporate mission states an overarching goal and purpose, based on the values that guide decision making at every level.
The next step is setting strategy. Everyone who will be responsible for carrying out a part of the strategic plan should be involved in creating the plan. It should start at the top with the company owner or CEO. If the plan is not totally supported from the top down, it will be ignored or even sabotaged.
One of the most important challenges a leader must address is finding the right ways to measure progress. Every key person in the company must know with complete clarity which numbers are the most important and the most predictive of business success. Sometimes, an intense company-wide focus on improving one key number can transform a business.
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