It’s how you attract, reach out and communicate with your preferred customers or clients. It deals with what you have to offer them.
It’s strategic because it’s about making choices about the sort of business you want to be in, how big you want it to grow, and what you are going to offer your customers.
It’s tactical when you start choosing how to make the connections i.e. using social media to reach out, blogging, advertising on Facebook, or going door to door to sell.
The choices are about what you want to do and how you are going to do it.
The choices you make will depend on how much you need to earn from your business and how much you are prepared to work to make it happen.
The downside is that it will cost you money and time.
The upside is that if it works, you will earn more income and, provided that your decisions are thought through, may provide the sort of lifestyle you want.
Mapping out a simple strategy
It doesn’t have to be complex.
Or a large document.
Just a rough or simple map of where you want to go.
You’ll make some rough guesses and some choices about what sort of business you would like to work in. If you have worked in other jobs, you will have some sense of what you do like and don’t like, in terms of working.
The idea of a rough map is that you can change it. Then adapt, or modify what you learn as a part of this process.
Types of businesses
Your choices might be to:
- create a startup
- buy a going concern (established business) or
- buy a franchise
With the latter two, you may need to obtain some expert opinions about how to do this.
My articles deal mostly with startups, although you can apply my principles to any business you are interested in or running.
Start-ups are more challenging as you will need to design or imagine the sort of business you want to create from the start.
Today though, the main focus is on finding something where you can be useful.
Don’t read this wrong though.
What it means is to explore some of the things you have done to help others in the past, that gave you some satisfaction, and to see whether others might be interested in paying for this as a service or a product. This is often a better approach than trying to come up with a big new idea.
Once you have an idea, it is helpful to work out whether your knowledge or skills solve the problems customers, clients or patients may seek a solution for.
Then picturing the things you are prepared to do, and not do.
The next stage is to work out how best to make it happen.
It’s the only way something is going to happen and where you will learn about business.
See my article on Older entrepreneurs and startups
Every business that exists today started just like this. An idea that either worked or didn’t.
Start with how much income you need
One decision you might like to start with is to decide just how much extra income you want or need.
Then what you are prepared to do, or sell, to create it.
Business revenue has to cover much more than just what you want to earn.
So you don’t get to keep all revenue.
Revenue in any business is needed for making or buying your products, marketing and selling, along with running the business, such as paying for the phone and petrol.
Too simple? It is a bit.
You’ll need to do some arithmetic and more to work things out. The good part is that it is simple arithmetic and should not be too complicated.
Building a practical strategy – creating the map
Deciding what it is that you will want to sell and who to.
It includes thinking about what is going to work for you in terms of your lifestyle.
The best bet, and not always easiest path, is to find or create a niche.
This requires you to imagine how your business can be different to other similar businesses and how you think it could be done better.
The intention is not to conform to what others are doing but to see where other opportunities lie
Peter Drucker put it well when he wrote that…
‘The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer’
Seth Godin would add something along the lines of:
if you have a customer, your job is to find more products for them
When I write about products I mean the things that you sell that a customer will pay you for.
It can be a physical product ie. something that you can pick up and touch etc, or
It can be a service that you deliver – a massage, haircut, business advice, training, online training, coaching etc
Products can be sold online and delivered whether physical or digital.
You will need to make a make or buy decision. Will you make or provide the products or services yourself, or outsource them? Will you hire staff to do the work?
Marketing, customers, Google and selling your product or services
Selling a product, or a service, requires customers. In our digital age that means being able to connect with them through Google mainly, social media and seek to get them to buy from you online, visit a shop if you have one, or make an appointment to see you.
This is marketing and selling and is one of the most important components of your business as it leads to revenue or sales. And that’s how you can earn your income.
You must be able deliver your product or service
Delivering the product is about being organised enough to make or buy the product, ensuring that your business has adequate funds and pay the bills while the business starts up.
A strategy is as simple as a road map covering some rough choices about what you want to do, who you want to do it for, how much you will charge and how you are going to deliver it.
You may want to run your ideas past a trusted friend, advisor, marketing consultant or even a business coach.
You’ll be able to use the business model to map out some decisions about revenue and costs, along with some of the marketing ideas to promote it. Then use the know-how and technology that I am happy to share with you in future articles.