5 factors that successful firms consider when strategising

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In our East African hyper-competitive business landscape, having a well-defined strategy proves crucial for organisations to achieve sustainable success. However, we can all remember reading some excellent strategies and some really disappointing ones. Evidently, not all strategies are created equal.

Developing a successful strategy requires a nuanced understanding of various factors that when put together collectively, work to enhance business competitiveness.

Let us delve into five essential factors that form the foundation of a winning strategy in for-profit organisations.

First, the heart of any successful strategy lies a competitive value proposition. Value propositions not only differentiate a company's offerings but also enhance its competitiveness within our Kenyan market.

A competitive value proposition is built on three critical elements including offering differentiated products or services that stand out in the market. Often we see copycat products and services, but those often fail to resonate in the market. Next, understanding and clearly defining the industry position the business aims to occupy.

Finally, ensuring that the company's offerings meet the unmet needs and goals of its customers. Identifying gaps in the market proves essential.

Differentiated solutions to fill the gaps in the market could be in terms of quality, innovation, and customer experience among others. Whether targeting the mass market, segmented market, or a niche, clarity in the target market helps in tailoring strategies that meet specific market needs. Loyalty is driven by how well a company understands and solves the problems its customers face.

Second, internal activities must be aligned to create value that supports the competitive value proposition. Internal alignment involves analysing and optimising the company's value chain, focusing on activities that contribute most significantly to competitive advantage. Critical success factors might include operational processes, superior customer service, or innovative production techniques that set the company apart.

Third, strategy thrives as inherently about making choices, and therefore, tradeoffs are a crucial aspect of the strategy development process. Successful companies make deliberate decisions about what not to do, which is as important as deciding what to do.

Trade-offs ensure strategic focus and specialisation by prioritising incompatible features, choosing configurations of activities that optimise one kind of value over another, and maintaining consistency in the brand's image and reputation.

When companies need to excel in certain areas at the expense of others, then they must ensure that their offerings are distinct and compelling. Operational trade-offs prevent the dilution of the company's strategic position, and a coherent brand image builds a loyal customer base.

Fourth, the alignment and reinforcement of different activities within a company's value chain, known as activity fit, prove critical for amplifying strategic positioning. Activity fit involves achieving second-order activity fit, where activities complement and enhance each other.

As an example, a company that prides itself on high-quality customer service must integrate training programs, a supportive company culture, and customer feedback systems that collectively improve service quality and reinforce its competitive edge.

Fifth, a successful strategy is not static. it requires ongoing review, improvement, and clear communication across the organisation. Strategic continuity ensures that the company remains adaptive and responsive to changes in the market while maintaining its core competitive advantages.

Such ongoing review involves regular assessment of strategic initiatives, iterative improvements, and fostering an organisational culture that embraces strategic clarity and alignment.

In summary, a successful strategy in for-profit organisations comprises a blend of a competitive value proposition, a tailored value chain, making strategic trade-offs, activity fit, and continuous strategic refinement. By focusing on the big five factors, companies will build a robust framework that not only drives competitive advantage but also ensures sustained growth and success in an ever-evolving marketplace.

Mr Mashary Keya is a Strategy Advisor at WYLDE International. You may connect with Mashary via email: [email protected]

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