Ok, hear me out.
I love growth. Everything I do is about helping businesses grow. But growth is a result. A result of being crystal clear about where you are choosing to play (and not play) and how you will win against competitors.
But, as Michael Porter–one of the best thinkers on strategy–has often said:
“ …efforts to grow blur uniqueness… and ultimately undermine a company’s competitive advantage.”
Remember when Wal-Mart, in pursuit of growth, went slightly upscale and lost sight of their core customer? Sales declined and their stock took a major hit. The same thing could happen if a commercial landscaper opens a retail garden shop. Or if a printer starts selling trade show trinkets.
Strategy-blurring drives for growth can be more subtle yet just as damaging to a company’s uniqueness:
“We serve 4 vertical industries because we never know where the growth will come from.”
“We sell direct to our customers. And also through distributors. Oh, and also in retail stores.”
“We have a broad set of offerings so that we can appeal to more markets that expand our opportunities to grow”
This week—get clearer on a strategy that can deliver the profitable growth you desire:
- Begin to define where you play when you’re at your best: “Where” includes the combination of a market, a customer type, a geography, a category etc. Be sure to also define where you do NOT and will NOT play.
- Define how you will win: In what ways might you shift your business model to better compete against your most formidable rivals? This could include how you acquire customers, how you reduce your costs in one activity to be able to focus on another more important activity and so on. Go here to learn more about innovating your business model.
Need help defining your strategy?
If your strategy is not a clear as you think it could be, I encourage you to take a look at our new suite of services. From half-day workshops to multi-month engagements, we have several ways to help you and your team quickly get clarity around how you can win.