How To Get Your Big Picture Strategy Right

How To Get Your Big Picture Strategy Right

You might think understanding the big picture is something businesses take for granted.

After all, it’s common sense, isn’t  it? It is like the big questions in life.

Who am I? What do I do? What am I good at? Who do I serve?

It seems that common sense is not common practice.

No problem. Let’s look at this afresh.

I like to start strategic planning with the biggest question: Why.

Why are we doing this?

What is the greater good in this?

If you’re a sole trader, is there a reason you do what you do?

What is the legacy you want to leave?

I truly believe that an exercise like the Obituary in which you write your own article about yourself after you have died is a confronting experience, but a deeply rewarding one.

I did this recently and it took about 15 minutes. Imagine you were an important person who left a positive impact on the world in whatever way you imagine.

What is a best-case scenario?

What does your business do that will leave a positive impact on the world?

How will this help people?

The exercise surfaces a deeper sense of meaning and themes to your work.

For example, Michaela is a physiotherapist. Writing her obituary brought out that through mobility and strength of the body, she was helping hundreds of older people to live longer and have happier lives.

So part one of the big picture strategy is thinking about the Why.

Then we need the context.

How to do a situation analysis?

Take a look at the market you operate in. I like to use IBISWorld, which is an online research website. It has free information and a paid service. The free search will give you some basics by country the size of your market and how it is structured. For example, does it have two dominant players or is it a sea of same-same little businesses?

Work out the market size and how much it is growing. Is there any change afoot? Using your industry research to check the pulse of the industry at large. Is it vulnerable to robots? Vulnerable to disruption? How far ahead can you see?

Are there predictions as to how it will change in the next few years?

Conduct a PEST

This can be called PESTLE as well. It’s an acronym that is standard for the market forces affecting every industry.

What is happening Politically?

Conservative governments took power in recent years. We have had populist leaders at the helm in the United States and parts of Europe. This may swing back again with a new President and appeals to the greater good.

Hand in hand with this is legislation changes.

  • What is the political agenda?
  • How does it relate to you?
  • Will this mean new laws are likely to be introduced?
  • Will things free up our business or restrict it?

What is happening with the Economy

With the coronavirus pandemic, we have been in a broad recession. During 2008-2009 in the west, we had a financial crisis (the GFC).

  • This impacts your industry how? How does this affect the perception of value?
  • Are you in one of those few industries that are recession-proof (like chocolate)?

What is happening in Society

What are people doing? What new groups are emerging? The permaculture advocates and the off-grid segment is booming. Can you relate?

  • Are you an airline? In a luxury goods market? The world is changing, how can you pivot?
  • Are you banking that all will be well again soon and will groom tomorrow’s customer today?

What is happening with Technology?

When I was a kid, I used to dream big. I imagined having a flying fox that would connect my bedroom window with the closest McDonald’s so I could have a window-delivered hot-fudge sundae any time I wanted.

Now drone-delivered burgers are really here.

  • There are apps for everything. Is there an app you could help your business? Could you get someone to create one? Is there some technology that makes you vulnerable?
  • How can technology make or break you?

The implications

Write down three things for each category. Next, write an implication for each.

What does that mean?

  • Identify your levels of Market Competition
  • Make a Perceptual Map
  • Find the crux of your strategy with SWOT-TOWS
  • Run a Marketing Audit
  • Understand Customer Segmentation
  • Create Client Personas
  • Write a compelling Value Proposition