Merriam-Webster offers ten different definitions for business and three separate definitions for strategy. If the dictionary gurus can’t give a single definition for business or strategy, is there really only one definition of business strategy? The obvious answer is “no”.
During a time when each monetary decision, especially in business, is more heavily scrutinized than the last, the creation of a strategic vision is of the utmost importance. Business strategy provides a methodology that should be used to effectively complete any project; specifically:
• Define the Mission
• Analyze the Impact – both internal and external economic factors
• Assess the Assets – what you have and what you need (including people, processes and budget)
• Determine the Roadmap – sequence of events to reach the goal
• Implement the Plan
• Reflect on Intent
Of those steps, the key element to any successful business strategy, no matter what the focus or problem to be solved, is Defining the Mission, which involves fully understanding and objectively analyzing the goal. Be sure to ask Why? and Should? before jumping right into the Can? and How?
Although the size of the company, the scope of the initiative and the budget available may differ significantly, following a proven methodology like the one detailed above gives the owner of the goal confidence when explaining and/or defending that decision to senior management, peers or even the industry. It may be fiction, but think how differently Jurassic Park would have turned out if the questions of Why? and Should? had been analyzed objectively. Then again, maybe it depends on their definition of business strategy.