An effective strategy targets the areas in which you get the maximum returns. It will become the foundation for growth. It can help to focus limited resources on the most important and effective activities for the enterprise.
Each year in overstockArt.com we have a strategic planning session. At the conclusion of last year’s session, I realized that we basically decided to do a lot of the same but to do it better, faster, and more powerful. That bothered me, for all these reasons.
- It wasn’t sustainable.
- It lacked a management — i.e., no strategy, just approaches.
- We did not concentrate on certain areas.
To put it differently, we had no real strategy since we did not make significant decisions about what to do and what not to do.
So I composed a strategy document. It took six months, such as reading articles and books. In 2017 I shared the record with our management team. They suggested a few changes that we embraced. A meaningful strategy really needs buy-in from key players. In our case, input from our management team had enormous value in specific places.
What are the components of a fantastic strategy? First, a plan is unique to your organization and customers. (Do not download the initial template you locate and answer a few questions.) Second, many small business owners generate a plan by focusing on fiscal projections. But projections and projections, while significant, aren’t a strategy. The plan and its execution will dictate financial projections, not vice versa.
My goal in this guide is to start you on the path of producing a strategy for your organization. It will require additional studying. It will require extra time considering your business and creating ideas that drive growth. It is hard work. However, it’s also rewarding. Some ideas can be put into place along the way.
Where to start in building a plan? For many ecommerce retailers there are two areas of consideration. The first is the products or services you’re selling. The next is the go-to-market approach. After these two are apparent, the rest falls into place.
For each of these to be prosperous, you need advice. Not info, information. Begin with customer interviews. You’ll probably receive spoken and unspoken feedback.
Here are the questions we used.
- Why did you buy from us?
- What did we do that others did not?
- What value did we provide?
- How can you make your choice with us?
- What nearly prevented you from purchasing anything?
- What do you dislike about our competitors?
- How can we improve?
- What options did you consider before purchasing from us?
- What words or phrases do you hunt to find us, if you were not familiar?
- What price range did you think about while making your election?
- What can we do to raise your purchases ?
- What other needs do you have that our company could supply?
I did myself. After about 50 interviews we also studied clients and non-customers. All this provided the information for the strategic plan.
The next step is to read whatever you can find about approach. Here are three of my favourite books on this topic.
- “Great Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why it Matters”
- “The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market”
- “Growing Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Do Not”
For”Scaling Up,” I particularly benefited from the section about strategy.
Ultimately, it is time to begin writing. The format I used might not apply to your own situation. Nonetheless, here are the important points for my business.
- Define the Issues. A strategy is all about solving problems. If there aren’t any problems, there isn’t any requirement for a new approach.
- Market evaluation. The best tool for this is “Porter’s Five Forces Framework.”
- Actionable policy. This is the coverage that the firm will pursue. It’s the center of the plan and will impact almost all other decisions. By way of instance, if a business decides to compete by providing better products, it won’t focus as much on price.
- Core competencies. This might be competencies you already have. If they should be developed, include a strategy.
- Policies not picked and why. This section isn’t essential. However, it’s great to include it because it will explain for you, your staff, and possible investors.
- Objectives. These are milestones or special accomplishments that indicate that you’re on the right path. This is key for the implementation procedure.
- Coherent actions. A set of coordinated activities that build on one another and encourage the guiding policy. Each action supports another.
- Short outline. This is important to ensure all employees have access.
Producing an ecommerce strategy isn’t simple. But the rewards are terrific. We implemented our approach in 2020. We then experienced the greatest financial results in our history. And 2021 thus far is surpassing 2020.