Let’s talk about strategy. Strategy is not something to fear, nor is it only for big companies. As Ellie Pidot, vice president of strategy at Medtronic has said, “Strategy is a fancy word for coming up with a long-term plan and putting it into action.” Author Pete Johnson added, “Strategy is a style of thinking, a conscious and deliberate process, an intensive implementation system, the science of ensuring future success.” Since no business owner should want to fail, it can easily be said that strategies for success ought to be a key focus for every business. 

What Defines Business Success 

Business success is defined largely by four factors, and they can be pursued in any order, depending on the life stage of every company. Each one is driven by strategies for success: 

Cash flow. This one is the most critical. Without sufficient cash, bills can’t be paid, employees can’t be paid, inventory can’t be purchased, and customers can’t be serviced. 

Profit. Profit represents the returns for the business effort expended. It is the fuel that drives growth and gives a business freedom to make future-focused decisions. Without profits, ultimately a business will die. 

Growth. Growth represents a future target. It represents change and progress. 

Satisfaction. This is part of the journey for business owners and leaders. Is there satisfaction in running the business and achieving the cash flow, profit, and growth that are desired? Is there satisfaction in the company’s reputation, the quality of employees, and in the company’s position in the market? 

The Reasons That Businesses Succeed 

Business success starts at the top with leaders who have a vision and provide clear direction for an enterprise. Successful business leaders are financially savvy. They know how to effectively utilize budgets and how to manage cash flow. They are confident about themselves and their business. They know how to attract funding.  

Businesses succeed when leaders and team members are skilled and dedicated, and when they persevere despite challenges and in the face of tough times. Successful businesses are quick to adapt, know how to seize opportunities, and move more quickly and nimbly than bigger competitors.  

Perhaps the biggest difference between a business that succeeds and one that doesn’t is how well the business executes its functions. As Taiwanese-American businessman Morris Chang has stated, Without a strategy, execution is aimless. Without execution, strategy is useless.”

11 Strategies for Success 

Here are 11 important strategies for success: 

  1. Know your competition and study them carefully so you can market to their weaknesses and your strengths. 
  2. Develop ways to increase your market penetration. 
  3. Don’t tackle huge markets first. 
  4. Conserve cash. 
  5. Research and then develop new products and services. 
  6. Examine market segments and focus on the ones you can best service. 
  7. Consider alternative and additional business channels. 
  8. Develop the right (and best) business partnerships. 
  9. Focus on delighting your current customer base. Customer retention and loyalty are key to continued business success. When you hire new employees ensure that they are strongly customer-focused. Listen to your customers and adapt based on their insights and feedback. 
  10. Effectively market to both existing and new customers.  
  11. Employ ways to optimize tech and automation in your operating processes. 

Before you implement any of these strategies within your own small business, remember to first assess your business’s position in the market, your assets, and your goals. Consider working with a consultant to help you determine which strategies will be the best fit for your business. 

Real-World Cases of Strategies for Success 

There are many cases where a small start became a big success by making strategic moves. For example: 

Starbucks started when two men saw that coffee shops offered weak canned coffee brews. So, they developed their own blends and began fresh roasting in their first four stores. 

YouTube started as a platform for uploading dating profiles. Then, the founders pivoted to host all kinds of videos. 

Spanx started when a woman converted some tights to shapewear. She understood her potential customers!

Groupon started as a fundraising concept and then shifted to a deals distribution system. 

Seek Professional Accounting Assistance 

Contact Nolan Accounting Center, based in Greenfield, WI. We build strong relationships and support strategies for success. We provide accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services to small business owners in Southeast Wisconsin including Milwaukee, Greenfield, New Berlin, Muskego, West Allis & Waukesha.