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What Makes a Good Business Strategy? [WLO: 4] [CLOs: 1, 2, 3, 4]

Guided Response: Respond to at least two of your fellow students’ posts in a substantive manner and provide information or concepts that they may not have considered. Support your position by using information from the week’s readings. You are encouraged to post your required replies earlier in the week to promote more meaningful and interactive discourse in this discussion forum. Continue to monitor the discussion forum and respond with robust dialogue to anyone who replies to your initial post.

Kelly’s post:

Strategic plans are comprised of plans and goals, and help companies determine how they will spend time and resources. The first component of a well-thought-out business strategy is when leadership has a strong understanding of where a business is at and where it wants to go (Aileron, 2011). A company should assess internal operations and external factors to understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the competitive landscape. This will create a baseline and help an organization identify opportunities for improvement.

The second component of a strong business strategy is an emphasis on customer experience. A strong customer experience will help attract new markets (Paunovic, 2017). Paunovic (2017) adds that businesses should focus on improving both online and offline customer experiences as this will increase their likelihood of creating meaningful relationships with customers and in turn, increase revenue. Companies can better serve their market once they have a sound understanding of the different types of customers and the journeys they take once they interact with their brand.

The third component of a strong business strategy is creating alignment with the brand strategy. This will ensure that the organization can best utilize available market opportunities (Uggla, 2015). The brand strategy should be driven by the business strategy to ensure the brand is helping the business meet its goals. Uggla (2015) adds that this could be done through ensuring there is harmony between brand objectives and business objectives, exploring brand extensions that can increase the market, exploring brand acquisition opportunities that can expand the company’s portfolio, and engaging in co-branding opportunities that can strengthen the overall brand.

Some of the mistakes that companies make when developing a strategy include lacking focus on customer experience or a plan to measure the impact of their efforts. A company can have the highest marketing budget or the best product quality, but if they lack a good customer experience strategy, they will lose business. In addition, a company can have a great strategy, but if they do not have a mechanism in place to measure the efficacy of it, they will be working blindly and will miss opportunities for improvement. Ongoing review and assessment will identify if the company is making progress or not and will allow for revisions to be made.

References

Aileron. (2011, October 25). . Forbes. Retrieved from 

Paunovic, G. (2017, December 6). . Forbes

Uggla, H. (2015). . IUP Journal of Brand Management, 12(3), 7-17. Retrieved from 

Robert’s post:

After reading the articles for this week’s discussion, there are 4 key steps that I came up with to create an effective business strategy.  Those steps are:

1. Determine where the business is at currently.

2. Define where you want to be (dream a little).

3. Fill in the steps from point A to point B.

4. Fill out the actual plan…put names to the tasks, set dates and expectations.

I would traditionally have just expounded on those 4 steps, which are very similar to the ones that Aileron (2011) had mentioned in the article.  But Goran Paunovic’s article this week added a brand-new thought process and approach that I wanted to explore in this discussion.  It is the idea of basing the entire business strategy around the customer’s experience. 

The first step would be for the business to identify and know who their customer is (Paunovic, 2017).  This is part of the “Determine where the business is at currently” step.  This is not a shallow, generic answer, but what are the specifics about their customers?  A business will need to do this to intentionally set out to create an enjoyable, user-friendly online experience.   This will also be critical information to be used to create an amazing in-person (if applicable) experience. 

Next, in defining where the business wants to go, the business will need to identify and know what is important to their customer, more specifically, what does their customer want to do (Paunovic, 2017)?  This is critical information because this will need to be used to guide the company on filling in the steps to get from point A to point B.  Helping with the decision on what investments to make in the business.  The company will be able to create a plan for innovations based on enhancing the customer’s experience and making it easier and better for the customer to do what they are trying to do.  This is what Google did.  They knew the customers they were going after wanted a ridiculously quick and effective search experience and they relentlessly innovated and created that experience.  Knowing what a customer wants to do and what is important to them will also allow a business to create efficiency in processes for both the customer, and the workers, creating an overall better experience for the customer (Paunovic, 2017).

            Creating a business that is relentless in their pursuit of giving an amazing customer experience will cause word-of-mouth advertising to spread like wildfire, but the business still needs to do marketing.  Zappos comes to mind as a company that is known for their customer experience and their marketing has a customer-centrist perspective that is shared all over social media (Digital Spark Marketing, 2021).  No matter how big or small a business is, marketing will play a crucial role in growing the business. 

            Lastly, and arguably, most important.  It is imperative that the company turns this into a formal plan.  Including specific steps, naming the individuals that will accomplish each step, what (and when) the results will look like.  Making the plan measurable will do two things.  First, it allows management to know if they are doing the plan successfully and if it is working as expected.  Secondly, management can share the results with the team and celebrate the wins, even the little wins will create more excitement.  It is fun to win!

            The mistakes companies can make when creating strategies can be innumerable.  Creating a plan that is not measurable would be a mistake.  Not celebrating the wins would be a mistake.  Not communicating the plan effectively would be a mistake.  Half-hardheartedly pursuing the plan or not talking about the plan frequently after it is launched would be a mistake. 

            One of the keys to successfully creating a business strategy is to pursue that strategy relentlessly and over-communicate it with frequency and passion.  If this is done, it is almost guaranteed you’ll head in that direction, we’ll just hope that it was the right direction!

References

Aileron. (2011, October 25). Five Steps to a Strategic Plan. Forbes. Retrieved April 12, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/aileron/2011/10/25/five-steps-to-a-strategic-plan/?sh=36e77a5a5464

Digital Spark Marketing. (2021, August 5). 10 Exles of How Zappos Marketing Strategy Makes a Difference. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://digitalsparkmarketing.com/zappos-marketing-strategy/

Paunovic, G. (2017, December 6). The Single Strategy You Need To Fuel Business Growth Right Now. Forbes.Com. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/12/06/the-single-strategy-you-need-to-fuel-business-growth-right-now/?sh=4b85e1292c59

Responding to a Peer’s Post

Another component that enriches and enlivens the Discussion Board experience is responding to fellow classmates’ posts. In the same way that your own posts should be substantive, response posts should be meaningful and advance the discussion of the issues, ideas, questions that were raised in the initial posts. While you can be supportive of your peers by saying, “I agree” or “Wow, I never thought of that”, these statements alone are not sufficient.

To guide you in drafting acceptable response posts, refer to the options below:

· Validate  by sharing your experience and stating how it relates to the course material or to the initial post.

· Agree or disagree with and explain why you agree or disagree.

· Expand on your classmate’s post to demonstrate that you understand the topic.

· Reply to a question posed by one of your classmates or by the instructor and support your statements with sources from the text.

· Critically evaluate  and make a suggestion or respectfully point out an area of the assignment that was not addressed.

· Ask a probing question or ask your classmate for a clarification or an explanation of a point made in .

· Share an insight or something you learned from reading your peer’s posting or from your other reading.

· Explain how someone’s post helped you understand the material or made you rethink your own views.

· Offer an opinion and support it with exles from the text.

· Relate the information in to your course assignments and/or research projects.

· Challenge a statement in . If you would not let a statement go unchallenged in a classroom discussion, do not let it go unchallenged on the discussion board.

· Tie ideas together: Discuss how comments other students made relate to your peer’s post.

· Make sure you cite your sources for all references to the textbook and for any other ideas that are not your own.

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