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If you want your business to report benefits and keep growing you should take a look at the following competitive strategy.

Competitive strategy: how to keep sight of your purpose

As a strategy consultant, I worked on a variety of case studies of business leaders looking to develop competitive strategies; from start-ups to medium-sized organizations.

Every organization wants to see itself as the go-to and most don’t know what it takes to not be the typical events company, web development company, agri-business, PR company, financial services company etc.

Competitive strategy is the buzzword that echoes in boardrooms, the experts are brought in to intervene.

But what’s the way forward when the limits of technical analysis had been reached and the “what now” plan is unclear?

In this article I’ll explain the meaning and importance of a competitive strategy.

The meaning of strategy

My business diagnostics approach is “Back2Basics”. Whether you are looking to attract the right and paying customers or looking to expand your business- the WHY of the business unlocks the HOW.

The meaning of strategy has evolved over the years and a number of scholars had their own views on it.

Havard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness defines strategy as a unique and valuable position rooted in systems of activities that are much more difficult to imitate.

This definition defines the company’s distinctive approach to competing and the competitive advantages on which it will be based.

However, something it’s missing. Like I said above, the business why unlocks the How.

The aforementioned definition is rooted in the how. A business will understand that to occupy a unique and valuable position in the market it needs a system of activities.

But, what will unlock the creative juices on how to design such activities is the business purpose?

Make clear your objective

Excellence starts clarifying the core idea. Clarifying that something has to matter to some group of customers.

When what you want to accomplish is clear it’s much easier to align activities throughout the organization to serve those intentions.

Why do we exist?

The starting point of strategy formulation should be “Why do we matter?” , “Why do we exist?”.

The why should be the center of every strategy

When the technical analysis limits had been reached and the way forward is unclear, the question is: will the shut down of your business be a great loss for your customers?

The answer  here is not a passive yes or no. The quality of your answer will dictate whether you’re  just another firm down the road, or not only the best, but also different.

That simple ”Why?” should be answered beyond the products sell or services you render.

That “why”  will remind those inside the company why the company exists, and give employees a higher
purpose to come to work beyond the money.

Why is it important to set the purpose of your firm?

To lead at the edge of havoc you need to go back to the founding
principle or belief that drove the original passion, inspired the risk and helped overcome all the obstacles. Your strategy at all times should start from this point.

You lose your way when you lose your why

My inspiration to start a strategy consulting firm comes from my two concerns:

  1. Why most start ups don’t survive the first 1001 days
  2. Why most companies go from great to dead.

Looking at the mighty companies that fall, I’ve realized that once a company loses touch with the purpose that made it great, disaster follows.

The example of Apple

What happened to Apple between 1985 and 1997 is a great example of this.

Steve Jobs and Steven Wozniak had built Apple up as a company that made super high quality and margin products noted for their elegant design and ability to help normal people do elegant work.

But in 1985, after the board booted Jobs out of the company, Apple went through a series of CEOs who really didn’t get it.

They lost sight of the purpose of the company. Each CEO used its own tactics, which didn’t work, of course.

They didn’t know that Apple didn’t exist to sell
commodity products but to provide “the creative class” with elegantly designed tools that would help them become “insanely great”.

Jobs returned and reestablished the sense of purpose with the Apple team, and the company took off again. Customers flocked back because they were drawn by the clarity of brand purpose.

Don’t lose sight of your why

So from now on, to start on the right note you should not lose sight of your purposes.

Your strategic meetings should start with “Why do we matter?” “Why do we deserve a space in the market?” and take it from there.

When the business is in havoc, remember the why because it is the one thing that will unlock the creative juices and keep you in business.

Did you find the article useful? Inspiring? Leave your opinion in the comments below and let me know what you think about it!

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