Eight Key Elements of a Good Business Strategy

What is a business strategy? A business strategy is an articulation of the overall direction of an enterprise in the medium and long-term. It basically specifies the way an entity competes in an industry. In other words, strategies define the rules and guidelines by which the mission, objectives etc may be achieved. Such strategies can cover the whole business or can relate to functional areas such as operations, marketing, finance or human capital. Strategies differ from tactics which are short-term approaches. Your organization requires a unique strategy to be able to differentiate itself properly in the market. But what are the eight key elements of a good business strategy? What constitute the salient features of a good business strategy? The guidelines are contained in this article.

1. The vision, mission and values of your enterprise are vital. You need to define the purpose of your enterprise. Your vision is where you want to be in the future while your mission is the fundamental reason why you exist. Your enterprise values signify the guiding beliefs that underpin its culture.

2. A SWOT analysis is another important element of your business strategy. You need to analyze your strengths and weaknesses – which are internal, and your opportunities and threats – which are external. What industry are you operating in and how profitable is it? What is your competition? Where are you now? What constitute your core competences? Competitor evaluation for example considers aspects such as the products, operating costs and pricing.

3. Your unique value proposition is another big issue. This relates to the products and services that you offer or intend to offer. How are you different from the rest of the enterprises? What unique value do you offer – which is vital to the needs of your target customers? Your value proposition provides for you the competitive advantage.

4. What about your value chain? This denotes the succession of activities to design, produce and market, deliver and support your products or services. Your value chain constitutes the sequence of activities through which value is added. Your value chain should be consistent with your customer needs. Activities that enhance value are called value drivers. These are tools for identifying ways to create more value. The value chain comprises primary activities and support activities. Analyzing activities along your value chain also help identify competitive advantage.

5. The market or the customer is also a key element of your business strategy. Where are you going to be active? What are the demographics? Are there any expansion opportunities? What will you do – and not do? Are there segmentation issues? Do you understand the purchase criteria, for example?

6. The economic aspects are a must. You should state your desired quantified results. Consider the resources available and also effective resource allocation. Take into account your competencies and capabilities. Is there any leverage you can take advantage of? Do you have in place methods of monitoring and evaluating your financial or monetary performance?

7. Now, what about the implementation including the operational processes? How are you going to do it? How do you want to get there? You may for example opt for accelerated growth or alternatively organic growth. Issues such as the policy framework that guides how the organization will operate become important. You have to balance risk with your desired outcome. You also consider and choose among several business options. Your programs set out the implementation plans for the key strategies. These should cover budgets, performance targets, resources, objectives and other relevant issues.

8. Finally, the last vital element of your business strategy is the cornerstone of continuous improvement in implementation and execution. Business strategy is a dynamic process. It is never static. You should be able to sense change and modify your strategy accordingly over the years. You should be flexible and open to change. When you assess progress through reviews, you can implement new plans.

The Key to a Good Business Plan

To put things simply without a good business plan you’re technically not really in business. You need a business plan, it is your tool to attract funding or as a strategy document. It is what is used to gain interest within your business, without one no one, especially investors, will look at your business twice.

Bringing your business plan together

Putting together your business plan makes you take a good hard look at every aspect of your business. It makes you look into the key aspects that keep your business together. These factors include the value your offer to customers, your competition and aspects that will affect your businesses financial performance in the long haul.

Not only will producing such a plan be beneficial to anyone who is going to become involved in your business but it will also help you understand whether certain factors within your business will be worth pursuing. It is better to find out these things before hand as opposed to when you have spent money investing in these aspects.

A good and flexible plan can help you manage your business throughout its lifetime. The reason that I say this is down to the fact that you don’t simply produce your plan before getting your business off the ground and leave it at that. You should be using your business plan throughout the lifetime of your business. You should be using it as a guide of how to operate your business and as a way of keeping your finances in check.

There is technically no set way in which you have to write a business plan, however there is a certain formula that most of them follow. They typically include four elements, which are an executive summary, market analysis and a detailed description along with strategies, timelines and financials.

Writing your business plan

When you are producing your business plan there are certain aspects that you should ensure, you need to make sure that you keep it realistic. In order to do this you need to make sure you can justify any assumptions or projections that you make as well as avoid being overly ambitious. By keeping your plan realistic you also need to ensure that you point out any difficulties that your business may have. This may be difficult to admit to but it is better admitting problems at this stage where they can be sorted out as opposed to lying and then having to deal with them at a later stage, especially if they involve financial difficulties.

When you are producing this document it is vital that you include within it how you plan to put in place an effective cashflow management arrangement. If potential investors or people who want to become involved in your business can’t see this then chances are they will lose interest in your business.

You need to ensure that you produce and write this document in a way that demonstrates how committed you are to making your business a success. To help you further you may want to consider giving your plan even more of a professional feel through using graphs etc; however when it comes to the text that you use within your plan keep it the same font and colour.

Make sure that when you do come to write your business plan that you take your time and do the correct research as this could be the make or break of your business before you even get it off the ground. Also once you have finished writing it my advice to you is to have someone proof read it to check mainly on spelling and presentation errors that you may have missed and to just generally ensure it is presented accurately. Once this is done you are able to use it in whatever way you need to.

Sail to Success With a Good Business Plan

Whether you have just set sail in your business, or are changing course mid-voyage, a solid, highly detailed business plan will get you where you want to go. As a ships captain relies on the integrity of the ship, and a good map and compass, business owners rely upon a good business plan to navigate unfamiliar territory and reach their chosen destinations in one piece, and via the most direct route possible.

A business plan is the framework of your business (your ship). The success of your business is ultimately determined by how detailed, well built, efficient and leak-proof your vessel is. If you are facing setbacks in spite of having a business plan, make a list of all the functions of your business, and examine them one by one to see where the holes are. Do you have a crew of individuals on board who know their functions and perform them well, or do you (the captain) also find yourself swabbing the deck?

Do you know how to hoist your sails to catch the best breeze to send you on your way? If your business is sagging due to lack of income in one area, can you figure out which way the wind is blowing and make adjustments (like adding new packages, developing a niche, marketing e-books) to keep you moving forward? Your business plan should have all these potential problems covered, so your business can move along at full sail.

Your business plan is also the map upon which you will chart your path to your desired destination. The process of developing your business plan will require you to focus on exactly what you are trying to achieve, pinpoint where you want to be going, and figure out exactly how you plan to get there. A solid business strategy will help you avoid rough waters, stay the course, and make level-headed decisions when you discover new and exciting opportunities to pursue. Have you embarked on a journey, only to discover half-way that it is not what you expected when you set out? A well defined business plan gives you a standard by which you can measure your progress; it will either keep you self-assured in your chosen direction, or provide a clear indication that you need to change tack.

Finally, a well-designed and well-executed business plan is your calling card. It shows third parties – potential investors, loan officers, or buyers – that your business concept is solid and successful, and worthy of their interest and investment in you, when you go for that loan to expand, or seek to sell your company.

Many entrepreneurs jump into the day-to-day of starting a business before really taking the time to map out a detailed business plan, and find they are floundering later when unforeseen problems, or opportunities arise. Investing the time and effort it takes to create a plan before setting sail will ensure a rewarding journey in the long run.

Good Business Ideas to Go By

Business is as old as mankind. What changes maybe is the way we do it and the people who are in it. Business people make a success of their activities at different levels and those that are quick to tap from new ways of doing business are having an upper hand. Technology is no doubt having a lot to do with the way business is done, and presenting new business ideas. These are some of the ideas to go by if we are to get anywhere near success in today’s business.

Talking of technology, online business is one business favored by technology and one that is doing really good. We have heard about guys who have made a decent living, to the tune of billions, just from online business. Most of such people are those that have mastered the art of network marketing, or internet marketing as some would like to call it. So this, internet marketing, is one of the good business ideas? No. Don’t even think of it as so.

Internet marketing has sure worked for some to make them a rich lot. However, this is one of the earliest online business ideas. As such, it has been saturated, making competition very stiff not to mention the fact that there are the few who have mastered it, developed every necessary tool for that trade and established very deep roots. Thinking of competing with such would be nothing short of crazy.

The good news is that this field is not completely sealed and you stand a chance to make some good money if you become witty enough. One nice idea is concentrating on niche websites. This is taking a route away from where the congestion is. You need to take some really good time to establish a niche that is not saturated. You then develop your website around this niche and start earning cash. The more websites you make the more the income. You can therefore consider having a software developer make you an automated website developing software that can make you several niche websites in a day thus bringing in more income.

Websites are coming up everyday; one could have just been launched as you are reading this. This fast rate at which websites are coming up has necessitated the need to find a way to get people to a given website. One way people are doing this is producing quality articles and web-content that will enable them have a high rank in search engines.

The point is, articles are becoming something of necessity to every website owner and the number of websites there can give you a picture of how big their demand is. This is a nice opportunity to seize and turn it into a good business idea. Think about setting up a company that will be providing website owners with quality articles on the topics they deal with. You can hire high skilled writers instead of writing the articles yourself. Proper marketing of your company can lead to a really huge income.

The Importance of Good Business Connectivity

Business communication is important to success and can also allow for a healthy and well run workplace. Computers and the Internet are growing with importance towards business operations. The communication between businesses, work colleagues, clients and consumers has been made easier and has led to greater opportunities to be more productive. As this has happened the importance of good business connectivity has grown and it is now nearly impossible to run a successful business without a server and connection that allows for a business to fully integrate everything that the Internet has to offer into its practices.

Connectivity is an important part of the modern workplace for many businesses and can mean the difference between a slick well oiled workplace and one where problems abound and upload speed and reliability can leave businesses struggling to fulfil their potential.

Good business connectivity can make all the difference to businesses allowing for day to day tasks to be dealt with quickly and efficiently by staff whilst causing the least amount of stress. The importance of good business connectivity is vital in allowing a good upload speed which can be critical if your business often sends important documents to existing and potential clients as well as colleagues as most businesses invariably do. If uploading takes a long time on your servers and your business is impeded by this you could do no worse than to look online for alternative options that could provide you with the upload speeds that you require and deserve.

Business connectivity plays a part in many aspects of a company and a good server can mean that online webinars or business meetings can be used with ease by your business allowing for a company to make the most of the Internet and the opportunities and platforms that it provides for businesses to network and share information without the need to leave the office.

If your business needs to share regular information over the Internet a poor network and service provider could make what could be a simple task a very hard one. Making sure that the business connectivity you have suits your company and allows you to be the best you possibly can be in a competitive marketplace can really give you one up on your competitors and place you in the perfect position to succeed.

Your business should consider contention ratios when looking for business connectivity as this can be a crucial factor in connection speeds. The less amount of people using a line results in a higher bandwidth for your business. If connectivity is important to your business operations, you should consider a Leased Line. A Leased Line offers a contention ratio of 1:1. In short this means that if your business uses a 2Mb Leased Line you will receive a 2Mb connection. Compare that to a 10Mb connection with a contention ratio of 50:1 where you will only receive 200Kb bandwidth with a much lower security level.

Reliability has become a key word for the modern business. Services that have regular problems and hinder the work of the company cost time and money and could ultimately lead to slowing of work processes leaving workers at their desk but unable to complete even the simplest of tasks. It could also lead to the loss of important files or data that are stored on the network, something that could be easily avoidable with a good service provider and secure and reliable servers.

How to Write Good Business Letters

It is not possible for business to be transacted without correspondence. Often, it is correspondence that oil the business and ensure businesses are positively and successfully engaged in. Largely, these business correspondences are through letter writing. It may appear as though letter writing is an easy activity because people at one time or the other engage in this activity. It is however important to note that letter writing is not as easy as it may appear when it is in light of business particularly. Business letter writing is very sensitive and dangerous as poor letter writing skills can destroy the business and even land people involved in jail if the wrong things are written even when they are not really intended. Or, when what is right is written in incriminating ways. Business letter writing can therefore make or mar businesses. Interestingly, business letter writing is both an art and a science. Yet it is an act and an event. The common denominator however is that it must be learnt and taken seriously. This is more so given the widespread and the prevalence of the Short Message Services (SMS) that everyone is now used to.

Everybody regardless of level of education or whatever measure of success now adopts the Short Message Services (SMS) system with the principle of short is good. People now adopt all sorts of colloquial languages and shorthands that are not standards in SMS and other writings. Unfortunately, most of these creep into peoples’ sub-conscious, vocabulary and lexicons even when they are not standards. This has made formal and business letter writing more complicated and difficult for many. One is surprised and overwhelmed at enormity of businesses that have been implicated and indicted due to poor letter writing skills.

Below are how to write good business letters and enhance your business chances of survival:

1. Pick your language carefully and consciously. You must know that this is a business letter and not informal letters like text messages or SMS where you write slang and shorthands. You must use standard business English or whatever acceptable language is.

2. Organize your thoughts mentally and put them down in jottings on papers before you develop them into points. This will enable your points to be put together logically in more acceptable and formal forms.

3. Make sure you proof-read whatever you have written. You must read it over and over again. You will be surprised at how many common mistakes you have made in the first instance and you can correct these in the course of proof-reading.

4. Get a neutral person to read the letter for consistency before you send it to the business destination. The person can look at the grammar, language and content among other things to be sure the letter is well written and is not dangerous to the business.

Good Businesses to Buy During a Recession

It seems like every entrepreneur in the world is asking the same question: What are some good businesses to buy during a recession? While there is no easy, clear-cut answer to this question, there are certainly some industries that have been less affected by the economy than others. You could think of it as “necessity vs. luxury”. For example, a business that sells luxury watches may have been more seriously affected by the economy than a business that sells essentials like groceries or gasoline.

Recession-proof businesses may also be determined by where you live. A flourishing real estate market like Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord in North Carolina may do well for home decorators or businesses that cater to young families. In the areas hit hardest by the recession, businesses that cater to job training and self-employment may be more likely to succeed. This is why when someone asks about good businesses to buy during a recession, a good response is by to ask them to do a thorough analysis of their local market. Sometimes a simple evaluation can generate the best ideas.

Another way to identify good businesses to buy during a recession is by reading up on the latest buying trends in magazines like Consumer Reports and finding out if the hottest products and services are available in your area. Are less people dining out at sit-down restaurants and favoring café-style eateries like Panera Bread instead? Are people keeping their old cars longer or doing their own home repairs? All of these trends will point you toward a specific type of business model.

Once you have identified some good businesses to buy during a recession, the next step is to look online to find existing businesses for sale by industry. By using online business for sale directories you can locate businesses for sale and learn more about the best opportunities in your area.

Summary

Finding a good business to buy during a recession will not be quite easy. However, there are points that you should consider like the fact that groceries and essential commodities and items could be a better business than luxury items. Also, by making a thorough analysis of your local market, you will find that there are those that flourish even during recessions. Next, you can consult magazines like consumer reports to find out the hottest products and services in your area. Lastly, search online business directories to locate businesses for sale in your area.