A Guide to Making Strategic Business Decisions
The dynamics of business strategy has evolved over the years. Today, businesses are shifting away from “one size fits all” solutions, and instead focusing on discovering the approach that works for them. A common mistake companies make today is to base their decisions entirely on data. Data is a useful tool, allowing you to gain an insight into different aspects of running a business. However, strategic planning for a business goes beyond just counting on the data they gather. Here is a brief guide to crafting the perfect business strategy.
Use Information Wisely
Business intelligence (BI) is the name of the game today. Steven Wilden, Partner and President at E-Cubed Media Synthesis, talks about several powerful BI tools you can use. If you do not invest in analytics and data gathering, you can rest assured that your competitors are. You will miss out on potential clients if you do not derive valuable information from the data you collect. Often, perusing through data is akin to a ‘dumpster dive’ because you usually end up using the data that is most readily available to you. Naturally, your ability to craft a business strategy becomes a challenge when you are working with limited information.
If you want to create strategies that deliver results, you need to optimize your operation beforehand with proper processes in place for every specific task. This way you will have a handle on each aspect of your business. For one, you cannot rely on the data you collect via surveys. For instance, why would a person provide an accurate answer if they do not have an interest in the topic? Moreover, you have to keep the information up to date to avoid making decisions based on outdated information.
Focus on the Long-Term Picture
When creating a business strategy, focus on the end of the road. Lori Harris, Managing Partner at Harris Whitesell Consulting, says you need a formal strategic process for long-term planning. You might have to endure a tedious and long journey before you see substantial results. Therefore, your best approach would be to focus on the long-term picture, rather than reacting to each new update that hits your screen. The key to making this work is to define KPIs and install checks and balances at each stage. This way, you can delegate deployment and monitoring of the business strategy.
At the same time, you have to avoid dwelling on the past by looking towards the future while optimizing everything in the present. Plan accordingly, keeping your requirements in mind. You will not have to alter the strategy in the long run if you take the steps mentioned here.
A key aspect of incorporating data in the strategic planning of your business is identifying the trends that present themselves over a period of time. Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, President of ServiceMaster by Zaba, shares some insightful ways to leverage emerging trends. Keep a keen eye on the numbers that your business posts and check the details from the past couple of months to get a better idea when moving ahead with data sourced from reliable sources.
Keep all your focus on strategy when proceeding with a new plan rather than making decisions based on data alone. Then once you can manage productivity and capacity at a certain level, you’ll be able to start making the most of the data you gathered.
Fatima Mansoor is a writer at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Managed, and Implementation Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. She specializes in business & entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and health & fitness. Her focus is on creating compelling web content for small and medium businesses form diverse industries. She mostly writes for entrepreneurs and marketing agencies across the US, Australia and UK.
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