In TAB mastermind groups and on this website, we talk a lot about strategy. Thinking strategically about their business is a top reason why so many CEOs and business owners decide to become TAB Members. They recognize the vital importance of strategic planning, but don’t always have the time, resources, and bandwidth to think about it in depth. TAB gives them the space to do so.
Corporate strategy resembles business strategy, but the scope is much broader. A corporate view can encompass a wide range of businesses, departments, and other corporate entities—all of which contribute to the health and well-being of the organization. Key questions addressed include:
- How can we best maintain and leverage our corporate resources?
- What are the potential risks and rewards for our varied business units?
- What actions can we take now that will favorably impact revenue-generation in the future?
Answering these and related questions keeps the focus on growth. As we’ve noted before, “Without continued growth, business operations will stagnate,” resulting in “lowered standards of quality for products or services, decreased customer service, poor employee morale, and a host of other issues.” There may be no more urgent concern facing CEOs and business owners today.
What actions are key to putting together an effective, long-term corporate strategy?
Set strategic goals.
Determine specific objectives and outcomes you want to see come to fruition. As Forbes notes, these can include “things like changes to product offering, sales and marketing strategies, financial resources, operational efficiency, employee culture, financial targets and beyond.” Having these goals in place clarifies which “high-level things need to happen to make your vision a reality.”
Conduct a SWOT analysis.
As part of the planning process, it’s recommended that you and your team conduct a SWOT analysis of the organization, examining “internal and external factors that are helpful or harmful to your business and the way it’s run.” This analysis covers:
Strengths – your company’s strongest elements and core competencies
Weaknesses – what’s lacking in your team and missing from your business model
Opportunities – potential leads, events, target markets, etc.
Threats – potential competitors, issues with investors, unfavorable market developments
Consider having department head prepare a SWOT report of their own, which can then be assembled into a broader corporate strategic effort.
Stay focused on the customer.
Many operational aspects must be considered as part of a corporate strategy, but don’t lose sight of the forest because of the trees. Your customers should always come first, specifically those you have identified as forming your most important demographic.
Customers “who genuinely need and want your product or service are also the customers who retain the longest and are least likely to churn,” says HubSpot Marketing, thus “boosting your customer lifetime value and lowering your customer acquisition costs.”
Assess the competition.
An effective corporate strategy includes a close examination of your competition—who they are, what they do better than you, and where you can exploit their weaknesses. From there, you can build a strategy that helps set your business apart. Key strategic elements include:
- Undertake cost leadership and mass production to gain advantages in pricing
- Identify ways to differentiate your product or service
- Offer customer-focused benefits and features overlooked by competitors
- Emphasize your unique selling proposition in all marketing efforts
There’s no benefit in neglecting the effects of the competition, nor in hoping competitors will just go away. Instead, conducting an objective analysis offers a clearer picture of what your business is doing right, and where it’s falling short in the marketplace.
With the new year coming, there’s no better time to start thinking about your company’s future. Find out more about putting together a comprehensive plan to grow your business in 2020 and beyond.