“Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up and knows that it must run faster than the fastest Lion that day, or it will be killed and eaten. Every morning in Africa, a Lion wakes up and knows that it must run faster than the slowest Gazelle that day, or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter if you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” (Anonymous).
A sound business strategy will allow your business to thrive rather than just survive in the local market.
As a pride of lions executes seamless strategy to pull down its prey, so too must your team function to the steady rhythm of a solid business strategy, to close in on the kill. This ‘kill’ might be a deal, a new client, or a sale – the bottom line is, your team needs to eat. Your business needs a constant supply of resources for it to continue to grow.
As the captain of the ship, you have to know what you are after before you set out on your journey. For the lion, it’s the next meal. For a business, the accomplishment of a dream or vision. This vision is the reason the business was started in the first place. It should be imprinted on the hearts of your employees. Team members need to know what they are after. The lion eyes out an antelope in the distance. It pinpoints the buck from among the herd of potential prey before it makes its first move through the long grass.
When team members know what they are after, steps to getting there can be clarified and established.
Building a business is akin to building a house. Your dream or vision is the cornerstone of your construction and the overall business strategy, the foundation. Unless the foundation is laid down right, your building will not stand. Money might come in for a season, but as a building built on sand, something will eventually give.
Once your foundation, the business strategy, has been formulated and defined, key objectives and goals can be set. This allows for teams to be trained to execute daily tasks in tandem with management to bring in the prize.
Key pillars of focus can also be established on the completed foundation. These should support the company’s objectives and goals. They should also be flexible, yielding to the different demands of the market, and to internal business dynamics, among other factors.
Business strategy needs to be continually modified according to internal business and external market factors. Company resources and capabilities are among the factors that need to be considered in the formulating and reformulating of strategy.
Arguably, the yardstick for determining business success is the impact your company is having on the market. Is your profit line rising, or is money going into the pockets of your competitors? If you don’t like the answer to this question, it’s time to do something differently. Many times this means digging down deep, to the heart of your business, its vision (cornerstone) and business strategy (foundation). You get to choose whether you will thrive out there, or merely survive.
Forward thinking: Much has been said about business strategy but textbook knowledge doesn’t suffice. Building a foundation requires rolling up one’s sleeves and doing rather than just saying – being prepared to go the extra mile.
“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhether else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” said the Queen. (Alice in Wonderland).Â