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Time for businesses to start thinking inside the ‘strategic box’

Every month, I try to figure out what subject I should pick for this column. This time I decided to go for ‘creating or adapting business models for new economic conditions’. I promptly forgot about it but, revisiting the idea as my deadline loomed, I was stumped. I found myself having to look at it again and again to figure out what was wrong. I think it is the ‘new economic conditions’ part.

What are the new economic conditions? If anyone can give me a reasonable  and plausible perspective on where the economy is headed, I would be much obliged and that is the point. Businesspeople need to get a picture of where their business will be in five or ten years’ time and how it will fit with the market conditions that will prevail then. Right now, doing so is nearly impossible.

When researching Grow Your Own Business, a book I wrote with Brian O’Kane, I came across another book called Funky Business. The best way to describe the book is chaos theory for entrepreneurs. It will scare the living daylights out of you, but it did make me realise that there is no longer any point in trying to comprehend the economic chaos around us or, for that matter, the technological chaos many of us live with daily. If you are interested in a more academic version of Funky Business, I suggest you read Break from the Pack by Oren Harari. Both books try to simplify the environment in which we operate.

For our part, we came up with an approach we called the ‘strategic box’ a frame for the window through which you look at your environment. What is inside the frame is relevant, but what resides outside is much less so. Making up the window are these six statements:

1.Vision statement:
a vivid YouTube clip in your mind of where your business is going to be in five to ten years.

2. Mission statement:
the purpose of your company.

3. Value statement:
the values of your company (what you stand for).

4.Passion statement:
what the business is passionate about.

5. Positioning statement:
how you want your business to be perceived.

6. Resource statement:
the resources you have available to you, such as time and money. To read more about the strategic box and discuss it with other business people, check out the forums on this site.

I have created a group to facilitate discussion on the topic, on our new website. The link is here. I am very proud of the box but, apart from that, the reason I mention it is because, before you start to consider your business model, you must first develop a strategic perspective.

On a very practical level, adapting to the new world requires:

  1. ongoing cost-cutting & embracing new technology
  2. digitising your company wherever possible
  3. making innovation a key function (at the same level as finance and sales)
  4. using new social media to engage with clients
  5. adopting e-commerce
  6. watching over your shoulder for competitors that could arrive on the scene when you least expect it

Prepare for war. I suggest you read The 33 Strategies of War by RobertGreene. No plan survives contact with the enemy, but at least a strategic framework will mean that you are more prepared.

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