January 25

Is Your Business Strategy Still Relevant?

Jonathan Howkins

Is Your Business Strategy Still Relevant?

Time and time again, it’s been proven that the businesses that survive the most challenging times are those that are both resilient and agile.

Having a clearly defined business strategy is the foundation on which you can adapt to rapidly changing market environments.

By regularly reviewing your business strategy you’ll be able to quickly identify potential weaknesses or vulnerabilities, before they negatively impact your business.

10 Questions to Stress-Test Your Business Strategy

These 10 questions will help you create a truly resilient and agile business.

Give these questions the time they deserve so they can provide you with true clarity and ensure you’re continuing to build a robust business with every decision you make.

1. What is your business’ purpose?

Your purpose – business or personal, should drive everything that you do.

Having an honest understanding of your purpose should be foundation for your business as it will impact every decision you make, every message you put out and every prospect you attract.

A clear purpose can be a really valuable asset in your marketing efforts.

More than ever, people are using their own values to determine their buying behavior.

For example, there’s been a huge rise in people choosing to buy from more sustainable brands as it aligns with their own efforts to be more planet-friendly.

People are naturally more attracted to businesses that represent their own ethical standpoint and this can be an incredible starting point for effective communication with your prospects.

Also ask yourself:

  • Are you clear about your why?
  • Why does your business exist?
  • Why does it provide value to your customers?
  • What is your business vision?
  • How can you communicate your purpose to your prospects more clearly?

2. What does your market look like?

Markets are never static, they are dynamic, adapting and evolving within every changing economic environment.

As a business, in order to stay relevant and of value to your customers, you need to understand where your market is, how it is evolving, and what you can do to stay in the flow rather than adrift current trends.

Regular product testing and market research should help your business to adapt and innovate ahead of your competitors.

Truly and consistently understanding what your customers want can help you build an intelligent and agile business that will support your customers into the future.

Ask yourself:

  • What are my competitors doing? And why?
  • What are your customers saying? How have their needs evolved? Or how will they evolve in the future?
  • How are you connecting with your customers?
  • What trends can you see coming in the future of your industry? How can you become a part of that evolutionary flow?

3. What is your offering?

The strength of your offering is dependent upon its relevance and value to your audience which are often, subjective, fluid and based on emotional drivers and perception.

Like your market, relevance and value are continually evolving, so your offer needs to adapt to these changes.

Having a strong offering is not just about having some clear differentiation to your competitors, it’s also being able to create a strong desire within your audience to purchase.

Your proposition should connect with your audience and give them a reason to buy from you.

Ask yourself:

  • What is/are your offering/s? (Break them down so you’re 100% clear)
  • How are these different from your competitors?
  • Why is/are your offering/s valuable to your audience?
  • What makes your customers want to buy from you?
  • How will your offering help your customers achieve or make progress towards the outcome they’re are looking for?

4. What is the value of your offering/business?

Value is something that you can nearly always connect to an outcome – i.e. was that valuable?

Did it provide you with the outcome you were expecting?

Value therefore, is in the mind of your customer and can subsequently be far more challenging to change compared to price for example, which is objective.

If you want to improve the value of your offering you need to demonstrate it – in order to avoid the trap of direct price and competitor comparisons, you need to be clear on how and why you offer value.

By using aspects of your brand and positioning you can create and demonstrate greater value and overcome potential price barriers in the mind of your audience.

Provide your prospects with the information and rationale they seek to justify their purchasing decision.

Ask yourself:

  • Why is your offering valuable?
  • How can you communicate the value of your offering/s more clearly to customers?
  • Can you increase your pricing and increase the remit of your offering/s?

5. How and why are you different from your competition?

It’s human nature to make comparisons.

Regardless of whether you have a direct competitor or not, your prospective customers will always seek to make comparisons between your offering and another for a reference point, so they can better understand the value of your products and services.

In a world of information overload and short attention spans, your business needs to quickly and effectively connect and communicate with your audience in ways that are relevant to them.

Having a clear idea of your differentiation could also give you some new ideas about where to focus your efforts in 2021.

Ask yourself:

  • Why are your customers buying from your competition? What’s their differentiation?
  • What’s the gap in your competitor’s offering? Would customer value this addition?
  • How do your competitor’s customers experience value?

6. What is your niche?

In a global online marketplace, consumers have a huge and confusing array of purchasing options and are increasingly seeking out and purchasing from the specialists, rather than the generalists.

To more directly connect with your audience in this environment you need to niche your business so that your message can be more specifically directed to your audience and the solutions they seek.

By niching your business, you can more clearly identify who you want to target and also understand where and how you need to market your business in order to reach them effectively.

Ask yourself:

  • What is your niche?
  • How are you shaping your market?
  • Is your point of comparison a specialist in other fields rather than generalists in your field? (Hint: It should be)
  • How can I appeal to a market of customers that are looking for a specialist in my field?

7. Who are your audience?

Now more than ever, really knowing your audience is vitally important.

In our fast-moving social media scrolling world, attracting our audience’s attention is a challenge.

Given that we all make purchasing decisions based on emotional rather than rational thought, we need to understand and connect with our audience on a deeper level.

The most effective way to do this is through real, honest insights into their thoughts and needs.

We need to understand their concerns, their fears and their doubts if we are able to connect with them effectively in the current times and be able to predict their needs in the future.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What is their need?
  • Why will they buy from you?

8. Is your brand name representative and unique?

In our interconnected world filled to the brim with new brand names, you need to find one that is both unique and speaks to your values, purpose and customers.

Getting all that in one name can be a tricky feat but it’s absolutely worth the time to find the right one.

This is the first time your prospects will come into contact with your business – whether it be on Google or social media, your brand name is the first step in your journey to connecting, understanding and eventually knowing your customers.

Ask yourself:

  • What does your brand name communicate to those that are unfamiliar with the business?
  • Is your brand name memorable/ easily spell-able?
  • Does your brand name speak to your business purpose, value or ethics?  

9. How strong and consistent is your branding?

Building on from your brand name, creating a memorable, consistent and strong branding strategy is vital for both customer acquisition and retention.

Great branding can also be incredibly effective in improving the perceived value of your business and your offerings.

In recent years, we’ve been consciously choosing to connect with brands that reflect our own values and when it comes to purchasing, we look for authentic brands that we can trust – this idea should be at the forefront when reassessing or rebuilding your branding strategy.

Ask yourself:

  • What do you want people to think when they come across your branding?
  • Does your current branding strategy reflect that? Why? How?
  • How can you adjust your branding to build a better relationship with your customers?

10. What is your marketing strategy?

Having a clear marketing strategy is essential to identifying and making the most of future opportunities for your business.

Ask yourself:

  • What is your route to market?
  • How will you reach and connect with your customers?
  • How will you get your products/ service in front of the right audience?
  • Why will they buy from you?

But before you can identify your marketing strategy, you need real clarity on your business strategy.

Your business strategy is your reference point for making key decisions and for informing and supporting your marketing goals and plans – so consequently your marketing strategy should support your business strategy in every way.

Developing a sound business strategy starts with the 10 questions above and in periodically revisiting them you can create an indisputably more effective, resilient and agile business in the future.

It’s not all about Marketing…

The questions above are all directed towards looking outwards in your business, but there are other inward looking areas which also need consideration such as your Systems, Operations, Finance and People.

Learn more here…

I’m looking to put together a mini workshop to show you exactly how to create a powerful business strategy that will give you a launch pad for growth. Are you interested?

I’ll be sharing with you a simple framework that will allow you to capture the essence of your business strategy on a single page.

This one-page business strategy will include all the key foundations of your business at a glance.

It will give you a simple, easy to use blueprint for growing your business and give you the confidence to move forwards, knowing that your building your business on strong foundations.

If that sounds of interest, there’s more details here

Business Strategy Mini Workshop

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