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How would you define strategy? It’s safe to say it doesn’t take a genius to understand it to mean ‘planning.’ There are various types of planning. There’s the type that is entirely made by thoughts. e.g When going for glossary shopping, chances are all your plans regarding this activity are internalized. And then there’s the kind where you actually write things down perhaps to not forget. A good example of this would be when you are planning for a very busy day. And then there’s the type where a specific intricate process has to be followed coupled with having to consult with various stakeholders to ensure efficiency and a high level of success. So with the meaning of the word ‘strategy’ having been broken down to its bare minimum and having been understood to mean planning, considering that we have various forms of planning, which type are we talking about exactly to fit this particular business context? The Wiktionary helps to further reach the right conclusion by defining strategy as 1. A plan of action intended to accomplish a specific goal. 2. The use of advanced planning to succeed in politics or business.
“The use of advanced planning…” Surely you can plan for your business the same way you would for glossary shopping or your day and still achieve the desired result — right? If so, how does that set planning apart from “advance planning?” To answer these questions, think of business or the commercial world as a battlefield with real soldiers, armories, and weapons. This may be a little graphic but it’s probably the closest representation to help you visualize the intensity of the game of commerce and what it would take to actually succeed. If you were living in a world where you only had to compete against yourself, then perhaps planning for your business the same way you would glossary shopping and your day, would suffice. But reality as you and I know is survival of the fittest. You are not only competing against you to better yourself but also competing against a dozen or even hundreds of other businesses out there with the same goal and similar service offerings as you. So your strategy needs to be far from merely planning as you would for glossary shopping, but be advanced planning.

Things involved


What is it that is really involved in advance planning? Advanced planning begins when you start to thoroughly reflect on all the whats, hows, whys, whens, ifs, wills and cans. How I like to think of it is: If I were my client, what kind of services would I want given a set problem? How would I want such a service delivered to me? How much would I want to spend on such a service? What value does it add to my life? Why would I want to use a particular service provider over the other? Such questions will go a long way in helping you to realistically look at things to figure out whether you are just punching the air or actually hitting your target. What these questions do is help you to position yourself to feel what the client is most likely to feel and to diagnose problems not on a superficial level, but by going to the very roots. This is what strategy is all about: creating realistic scenarios based on the real world and your market segment, then coming up with solutions to solve these problems. Of course, nothing beats going through the actual experience of solving a problem in real time. But the point of strategising is to be prepared and make informed decisions when for example the ROI for a highly anticipated marketing campaign does not live up to expectations. A good strategy would highlight the next step to be taken in case of such an eventuality.
As mentioned in the definition of strategy given by the Wiktionary, the use of advanced planning to succeed in business is as it sounds — multifaceted. A successful strategy would usually involve more than one person, and each individual should clearly understand their role in the outwork of events. Unless you are a one-person team operating within limited means which to me is basically a freelancer, it would be extremely difficult, though not impossible to implement various stages of a well-written strategy to effect necessary changes in your business. In fact, if you are an entrepreneur and thinking of starting a business, part of your strategy should heavily include how you are going to build a team of ambitious, like-minded individuals to aid in the strategic execution process. This is very important!

Do not be blindsided


There’s so much to be said on strategizing. Unfortunately, no matter how much is said, you still find entrepreneurs venturing into business without one. In the unlikely events that there’s a strategy, chances are, it’s not thorough enough, therefore practically useless. Who are we kidding? while we’ve reached the stage of roasting, we might as well give honorable mentions to some relatively established businesses that go about their dealings without direction at all. Almost as quickly as they make the money, that’s how they quickly perish from the face of the earth. Exactly what you would expect when the blind lead the blind.
Of course, you don’t have to be blind if you don’t want to. When starting a business, it’s obvious that the objective is never to fail. But the reality of running a business is neither glitz nor glamour and many tend to forget this or just don’t give it enough consideration. But to not sound completely pessimistic, I strongly believe that the last thing that anyone venturing into business wants to be deemed as is blind. So how can you set yourself apart? The answer is pretty simple: HAVE A STRATEGY BEFORE STARTING A BUSINESS!! Though easier said than done, this is one of the few recipes for building a successful business. As we have already mentioned in this article, there are various stages of planning. For your simple day-to-day, you can follow the traditional methods that you’ve gotten used to. But for your advanced planning, you may need to consult with professionals specializing in this field.
Still, it is worth knowing exactly what to consider that forms part of a good strategy before even thinking of consulting a strategist to help you in this respect. After all, we are living in the 2021st century and there are a million voices out there trying to tell you what and what not to do. Though you may not deem yourself a professional in this field, it’s still important that you have a general idea that could potentially serve as a security gate from wannabes. Really then, what are essential things that a good strategist should help you consider? Please tune in to our 2nd and final article in this two-part series which will discuss this in-depth.
Aser Kanyiki

Author Aser Kanyiki

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