Business Strategy: Definition, Components, Examples and Guide l Square (2023)

It’s no secret that it takes hard work to be successful in business, but hard work alone is often not enough, which is why we develop our business strategies to be more effective. So, what is a business strategy? Below, we’ll outline a definition, the different components of a business strategy and also provide some examples.

What is a business strategy?

A business strategy is a long-term plan that outlines how your company will grow and compete within a market. While this is an easy concept to grasp, there is a considerable amount of depth to understand when learning how to build a business strategy.

Difference between a business strategy vs tactics

You may have thought they were one in the same, but there is a distinct difference between a business strategy and business tactics. Your business strategy outlines the big picture of where your business is heading (the ‘what’), whereas your tactics specifically outline the methods and manoeuvres you will implement in order to get there (the ‘how’).

In more detail, tactics are practices and direct actions that take small steps towards realising a greater goal. When starting a business you’ll have a few things in mind that originally sparked the idea behind your business, but fleshing these out into a fully-fledged business plan (namely your strategy) will let you build an overarching picture of how your business can find success, and can therefore develop tactics to take you on the journey.

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5 key components of a successful business strategy

It’s integral for business strategies to be multifaceted. They can’t be one dimensional andreliant on a few small factors, so here are 5 key business strategy components that are essential for finding success.

1. Vision/Mission

This is the direction you want to take your business. Developing principles, values and objectives will create a clear-cut path for your company that everyone can look at to make sure they’re all on the same page as you. By having direction, your business strategies have an end goal, and guidance for the tactics you want to employ to get there.

2. Progress tracking

Everyone always has a rough idea of how well their business is performing. However, having tangible data to quantify the effectiveness of your tactics makes all the difference when evaluating how your business strategy is performing. Not all business strategy components will be working as hard as the other, therefore it’s worth being thorough, by tracking all the moving parts implemented in your strategy.

3. Financial forecasting

Let’s face the facts. Business operations can be costly, so anticipating how much money is coming in can give us a better idea of how to spend on our long-term business strategies. Expenditure records, past profit and loss statements and other financial records can give you an idea of where you should be targeting your efforts, and what areas to strategise around.

4. SWOT analysis

Give yourself a great overall look at your business and how it works within its market by conducting a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By analysing these 4 important factors, you’re preparing your company for openings to prosper, and potential destructive pain points. When putting together a business strategy, this is all valuable information for those times when you need to pivot to avoid failure or take up opportunities when they present themself.

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5. Competitive analysis

While you may have some ideas about your competition from SWOT analysis, you’ll most likely need to dig deeper into the specifics of what your competition is doing. The people, the products and the objectives of the companies occupying the same market as yours. All of these things will influence the effectiveness of your strategies. Keeping your core values and objectives top of mind will always be a priority, but you’ll also need a deep understanding of the environment around you if you wish to achieve your goals.

10 Examples of effective business strategies

Below, we’ll outline some business strategy examples you can consider when developing your own long-term goals.

1. Technological advantage

Having a technological advantage can lead to more sales, increased productivity, and a competitive edge in your market. Whether you’re using it to innovate your point of sale systems, or improve your research and development areas, there are always ways to use technology to get ahead of the game.

2. Improve customer retention

It’s widely known that keeping a loyal customer compared to attracting new ones saves time and money on marketing efforts. By focussing your business strategy on customer retention and valuing their experience with your company, you can minimise costs on marketing campaigns for customer acquisition - making it a very effective business strategy for long term operation.

3. Improve customer service

Customer service improvements do a lot for your reputation. This strategy works on a lot of levels because it increases customer acquisition by word of mouth, which then lowers advertising costs, but it also complements any customer retention strategies you’ve already implemented too.

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4. Cross-selling products

You may find some businesses that have already developed a large customer base will spend time double-dipping on them and try to market new products to those same customers. Some companies are better than others at it, but at the end of the day it’s actually a great way of increasing sales as once again, you’ll see savings from not having to rely on costly customer acquisition campaigns, which results in quite a hefty increase in profitability.

5. Increase sales from new products

Regardless of how well current products are performing, keeping a constant flow of new products keeps your brand relevant, and under the spotlight. There is always extra attention paid to new and shiny things, and business strategies built around a continual rollout of products can also have a positive effect on brand reputation.

6. Innovation and pushing boundaries

The new and shiny factor extends to innovation in products too. Extra media attention is often paid to these boundary-pushing products, but word of mouth can also somewhat carry these products further as creative and ground-breaking ideas are often popular talking points for those within related communities and industries.

7. Product diversity

Stale brand imagery is terrible for businesses, therefore keeping a wide variety of products is a strategy companies use to keep a fresh look in the eyes of consumers. Updating pricing, features and aesthetics of existing products is another way companies create the illusion of diversity without necessarily having to diversify very much at all.

8. Price point strategising

One of the most important parts of a customer’s journey is the research phase, and pricing has a lot to do with how valuable a customer perceives your product. A common strategy is to simply undercut the market, making your product instantly stand out amongst the crowd.

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9. Sustainability

If you’re in it for the long haul, you’ll want to focus on your organisation’s sustainability. Implementing environmentally friendly and financially sound practices while avoiding short-term, high-risk procedures are great at ensuring longevity and building trust from your employees and customers - showing them that you’re a brand that can be relied upon in the long run.

10. Targeting youth markets

Companies going through rapid growth periods love this strategy due to how fast word of mouth travels amongst younger generations. Social media is more popular in younger markets, and both the influential factors and the ability for word of mouth to spread incredibly fast on these platforms makes youth markets very effective for business growth.

3 business strategy mistakes to avoid

1. Poor implementation

What is a business strategy without correct implementation? Having the right plan is one thing, but one must always keep in mind that without the proper tactics in place to execute these plans, achieving the goals set in your business plan may not ever be realised.

2. Inaccurate data

Just like everything in life, making decisions based on incorrect information is a sure-fire way to get yourself in trouble, and in business, it’s no different. Taking the extra effort to compile a more comprehensive set of data that allows you to cross-check the accuracy of your information ensures you’re not being misinformed by misleading data.

3. Forgetting the basics of sales

With all this knowledge of strategy, you must remember the importance of sales. It’s easy to get caught up with marketing, management, branding and different ways of implementing all of these, but at the end of the day, if your inventory isn’t moving, there’s no way for your business to grow.

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What are the 5 components of strategy? ›

These five elements of strategy include Arenas, Differentiators, Vehicles, Staging, and Economic Logic. This model was developed by strategy researchers, Donald Hambrick and James Fredrickson.

What is business strategy examples? ›

Examples of business strategy

A business strategy is a plan that outlines how a company will achieve its goals. There are many different business strategies, but some common examples include cost leadership, differentiation, and focus.

What is the definition of a business strategy? ›

A business strategy refers to all the decisions taken, and actions undertaken by a business for achieving the larger vision. Knowing what business strategy is and how to execute it properly can help businesses become market leaders in their domain.

What are the 4 key business strategies? ›

Four generic business-level strategies emerge from these decisions: (1) broad cost leadership , (2) broad differentiation , (3) focused cost leadership , and (4) focused differentiation . In rare cases, firms are able to offer both low prices and unique features that customers find desirable.

What are the 7 elements of strategy? ›

How to Strategic Plan in 7 Steps
  • Step 1: Environmental Scan. ...
  • Step 2: Internal Analysis. ...
  • Step 3: Strategic Direction. ...
  • Step 4: Develop Goals and Objectives. ...
  • Step 5: Define Metrics, Set Timelines, and Track Progress. ...
  • Step 6: Write and Publish a Strategic Plan. ...
  • Step 7: Plan for Implementation and the Future.
Apr 26, 2022

What is a key component of a strategy? ›

The four most widely accepted key components of corporate strategy are visioning, objective setting, resource allocation, and prioritization.

What are the six major components of strategic planning? ›

Skipping these important steps can leave your organization without direction. Read ahead to learn more about the six vital elements of strategic planning: vision, mission, objectives, strategy, approach, and tactics.

What are the three basic business strategies *? ›

According to Porter's Generic Strategies model, there are three basic strategic options available to organizations for gaining competitive advantage. These are: Cost Leadership, Differentiation and Focus.

What is strategy with example? ›

A strategy refers to an organization's long-term goals and how it plans to reach them. In other words, it shows the path to achieve the defined vision. A tactic refers to the specific actions taken to reach the set goals in line with the strategy.

Which of the following is the best definition of strategy? ›

Strategy is an action that managers take to attain one or more of the organization's goals. Strategy can also be defined as “A general direction set for the company and its various components to achieve a desired state in the future. Strategy results from the detailed strategic planning process”.

What are the 10 business strategy with examples? ›

10 Examples of effective business strategies
  • Technological advantage. ...
  • Improve customer retention. ...
  • Improve customer service. ...
  • Cross-selling products. ...
  • Increase sales from new products. ...
  • Innovation and pushing boundaries. ...
  • Product diversity. ...
  • Price point strategising.
Feb 8, 2022

What are the 5 types of business level strategies? ›

Type of Business Level Strategy – Top 5 Types: Porter's Generic, Cost-Leadership, Differentiation, Focus and Tactical Strategies.

What are the four stages of strategy? ›

The four phases of strategic management are formulation, implementation, evaluation and modification.

What are the 8 elements of a standard strategic plan? ›

Here is a list of standard strategic planning elements to help you structure your own plan:
  • Vision statement. ...
  • Mission statement. ...
  • Goals and objectives. ...
  • SWOT analysis. ...
  • Action plan. ...
  • KPIs.
Nov 12, 2020

What makes a successful strategy? ›

For a strategy to be successful, you need the right mix of people and it must be cross functional. This can include your board or leadership, finance, HR, operations, sales, marketing, etc. It's important to examine any potential biases that may impact the selection of your collaborators.

What is a good strategy statement? ›

The statement consists of three components: objective, scope and competitive advantage. All three components must be expressed as clearly as possible. A well-written strategy statement will help employees and the organization to understand their roles when executing the company's strategy.

What are examples of key components? ›

Examples of key component

The key component implementing such a printing function is a printer. It is also possible that glutamate release is a key component guiding bipolar and horizontal cell neurites to the photoreceptor active zones. The good, properly understood, includes autonomy as a key component.

What are the five C's of strategic planning? ›

But there are five underlying themes, which we have named the 'Five Cs' – Carbon, (Natural) Capital, Community, Communication and Cooperation – that I believe all businesses should consider incorporating into their future plans.

What are the 4 structures of strategic management? ›

Executives must select among the four types of structure (simple, functional, multidivisional, and matrix) available to organize operations.

What does a business strategy plan look like? ›

A strategic plan is a dynamic document or presentation that details your company's present situation, outlines your future plans, and shows you how the company can get there. You can take many approaches to the process and consider differing ideas about what needs to go into it, but some general concepts stand.

What makes a good example of a strategic plan? ›

Objectives include baseline performance, targeted performance, and an established date for achieving the objective. Any example of a strategic plan must include objectives, as they are the foundation for planning. In this example, our objective is to increase client satisfaction from 82% to 90% by December 31st.

How do you write a business strategy report? ›

How to write a strategy report
  1. Write a title and an introduction. ...
  2. Include the company's core values and mission statement. ...
  3. Explain the market that the company is in and list its competitors. ...
  4. Determine your SMART goals. ...
  5. Decide what to prioritize. ...
  6. Detail a company's KPIs. ...
  7. Outline how to achieve the goals you list.
Apr 25, 2022

What is the first step in business strategy? ›

The first step for any business strategy is writing a mission, vision, and values statement. What is this? This important step clarifies what the organization is about and what it is trying to achieve. It also determines the values and guiding principles that are used to make business decisions.

What are the main types of strategies? ›

Let's look further into each of the three types of strategy that are key to a business's success.
Within the domain of well-defined strategy, there are three uniquely different and crucial strategy types:
  • Business strategy.
  • Operational strategy.
  • Transformational strategy.
Jan 29, 2023

Which one is an example of a strategy? ›

Example 1: Planning a Trip

We use strategy and tactics in very simple ways every day without realizing it. For example, if you're planning a trip from Beirut, Lebanon to Tunis, Tunisia, you need a strategy to get there.

What is the purpose of a strategy? ›

The purpose of strategic planning is to set overall goals for your business and to develop a plan to achieve them. It involves stepping back from your day-to-day operations and asking where your business is headed and what its priorities should be.

What are business strategy objectives? ›

Strategic objectives are statements that indicate what is critical or important in your organizational strategy. In other words, they're goals you're trying to achieve in a certain period of time—typically 3-5 years.

What is a strategy answer? ›

Strategy is the intelligent allocation of resources through a unique system of activities to achieve a goal. Simply put, strategy is how you plan to achieve a goal.

What are the 3 components of a strategic business plan? ›

Strategy is comprised of three parts: Vision, Goals, and Initiatives:
  • Vision describes who the customers are, what customers need, and how you plan to deliver a unique offering.
  • Goals are quantifiable and define what you want to achieve in the next quarter, year, or 18 months.
Apr 28, 2015

What are the 6 components of firm strategy? ›

Skipping these important steps can leave your organization without direction. Read ahead to learn more about the six vital elements of strategic planning: vision, mission, objectives, strategy, approach, and tactics.

What are the three 3 components of strategic planning? ›

Effective strategic planning is a process that should be broken down into three separate, equally important components: strategic thinking, long-range planning, and operational planning.

What are the key principles of strategy? ›

6 Guiding Principles to Successful Strategy Management
  • Focus on the most important. ...
  • Leverage strengths. ...
  • Communicate. ...
  • Raise the Energy Level. ...
  • Remain Flexible. ...
  • Invest in Outside Help.

What are the 4 four strategy elements? ›

The marketing mix, also known as the four P's of marketing, refers to the four key elements of a marketing strategy: product, price, place and promotion.

What are the 8 components of strategy execution? ›

9 Essential Components of Effective Strategy Execution
  • Strategy Definition & Communication.
  • Funding & Financial Performance.
  • Resource Management & Capacity Planning.
  • Delivering With Strategic Roadmaps.
  • Outcome / Benefits Realization.
  • What-If Analysis / Portfolio Modeling.
  • Change Request Management.
  • Reporting.
Apr 13, 2022

What are the important components of a strategy statement? ›

A strategy statement communicates your company's strategy to everyone within your startup. The statement consists of three components: objective, scope and competitive advantage. All three components must be expressed as clearly as possible.

How do you write a business strategy plan? ›

How to write a business strategy?
  1. Consider your organization's mission and vision statements.
  2. Identify your company's core values.
  3. Conduct a SWOT analysis.
  4. Outline tactics to achieve goals.
  5. Create a plan for allocating resources to achieve the desired outcome.
  6. Evaluate results for effectiveness.
Jul 1, 2020


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