Everyone needs a game plan in business, if they are to succeed. Succeeding in business requires well formulated goals, and an effective plan to achieve those goals. In order to formulate proper goals and plans for success, a winning strategy is necessary.
Not only are winning strategies necessary, but also the tactics to complement those strategies. The business landscape is ever dynamic: ever shifting. As a result, business success is ultimately determined by adequately balancing both strategy and tactics.
A strategy is a general plan or set of plans intended to achieve something, especially over a long period. When we are talking about strategy, we have a long term view of the business. We are taking a broad view of where we would like the business to go, and how we are going to get there.
Only forward thinking businesses are able to sustain their influence, and survive over decades and generations. Without planning for the future, and how a business is going to get there, it is impossible to build a sustainable business.
This is why a comprehensive strategy is necessary for business success. But how do you formulate a comprehensive business strategy? The answer is simple, you begin with the goals the stakeholders of the business need to achieve.
The goals the business needs to achieve vary from business to business, but we may look at goals in broad terms, that may be applicable to many businesses in general. For instance, every business will have financial goals that look at increasing revenue or profits, or operational goals such as improving efficiency, productivity, or quality of products or services.
By starting from clarifying the business goals, a business can start formulating strategies that will place it in a position to achieve those goals.
Have you ever had plans, and then failed to achieve your objectives because the tasks were too big for you to handle? It is the same with strategy. Because strategies involve long term plans, it is in the best interest of every business to break its strategy into smaller more manageable activities.
Those smaller and more manageable activities become the tactics. In essence, tactics are the specific actions intended to get a particular result. Tactics are the activities carried out in service of the bigger goal and strategy.
For instance, if your business goal is to double revenue in the coming financial year, you might adopt the strategy of Market Expansion, which you might define as: “Identifying and targeting new customer segments or entering new markets”.
In order to realise success in your defined strategy, some of the tactics you may employ would be, conducting market research in order to identify new customer segments or markets with high potential for growth. You might even decide to aggressively pursue online marketing in order to reach your goals.
Notice how market research and online marketing are activities that serve the bigger strategy of market expansion. They are the tactics that complement the strategy.
I always say perspective is important. In order to evaluate any particular situation, it is critical to analyse it from multiple angles. If we fail to do this, we might miss the forest for the trees, when dealing with tactics, and miss the finer details when dealing with strategy.
Tactics have a narrow field of view and a small time scope. Tactics often apply in the short term, and only to specific aspects of the strategy. If we focus too much on the tactics, we are bound to miss other broader aspects of the strategy, or aspects of the business as a whole.
At the same time, if you pay too much attention to the strategy, we are bound to miss out on the smaller details of what is going on in the business.
Either way, it is not good to focus solely on tactics and neglect the strategy, and neither is it good to focus on the strategy and ignore the tactics. Tactics and strategy are not to be considered separately.
This is why it is important to find a balance between implementing a successful strategy and also pay enough attention to the tactics that support it. Finding the sweet spot for this balance is not an easy task, but a necessary one.
In order to strike this balance, it is important for the person in charge of the business to have a thorough understanding of how the business works, but most importantly be able to articulate the vision driving the strategy to all personnel involved in executing the strategy.
Having established the reason why it is important to strike a balance between strategy and tactics in running a successful business, the crucial consideration is how this can be achieved. Some of the tips for doing this are as follows.
No one can go where they need to be without a clear sense of direction, and business is no different. The people in charge of the business must outline clear goals and objectives to be met, and communicate these effectively with all personnel who will be involved in implementing the strategy and its tactics.
I already mentioned the importance of breaking the strategy into smaller, more manageable activities or tasks. Once that is done, it is important to go another step further, and set priorities on how and when each tactic will be tackled. This cultivates a controlled and well managed way to achieve the set out objective.
There is a trap that any strategist and tactician is exposed to: the risk of not being fluid enough to roll with the necessary punches. It is important to understand that strategy and its accompanying tactics are formulated with limited information and knowledge at the time of developing them. Success demands that we be flexible and quick enough to adjust the strategy and tactics as the circumstances evolve.
In the blog post titled, The Lean Business, I discussed how a business can be viewed from the perspective of the Lean methodology of building software, where you continuously go through the cycle of Build, Measure and Learn.
It is critical to always build with strategies and tactics, then measure success or failure along the way, so that the approach can be adapted as necessary. Continuous learning is vital in the delicate balance between strategy and tactics.
Want to hear some more from the Webmobyle Blog? Please