One definition of entrepreneurial strategy is about taking the risk to pursue opportunity beyond resources currently controlled, or not doing so. It's about growing the business, and managing the risk of growing the business.
Reflecting on "strategy", this word comes from ancient greek stratgi, meaning "office of a general". Also stratos means army. A general has an army of resources to organise, even to recruit, train, operate and pay for. The army has to defend the country from enemies.
In the military sense, the environment can contain what are called strategic points, each a point or region which affords an opportunity for its possessor to gain an advantage over his opponent. A mountain pass, a junction of rivers or roads, a fortress, the use of spies, outposts and scouts.
Picture a strategic line joining strategic points and you have a potential success scenario, a vision, if you like. Securing each strategic point gains an advantage.
Your competition wants to identify strategic points, and secure them. So apply strategic points to the business landscape. Each point adds value to the whole. For example, a brainstorm of strategic points may be:
- Industry attractiveness over the long term. Can you create high quality products and charge high prices for them?
- Industry size and your market share. Who are customers going to pay for the value through the industry? What's the aggregate customer spend in the industry?
- Ideation and creativity. What's next for the industry?
- Theory X or Theory Y management. How do people manage best?
- Brainstorming all the activities required to deliver the product/service to customers. You get a huge amount of activities that have to be done.
- Recruiting the best people for the activities. Who does what and why?
- Examine how the links between different activities creates a value chain. Basically Michael Porter thinking.
- Assess suppliers, customers and competitor activities. See where you can improve and grab a point. What's the market share of each competitor?
- The meshing and integration of each value chain creating a value system. ie each supplier, customer and competitor has a value chain and the value system is the way the whole industry operates. What points on the value system are up for grabs?
- Experimentation. Encouraging innovation in order to inspire and retain the best staff.
- Experimenting with adjacient activities from core activities to spur growth.
- Putting old ideas from one department to work in other departments. In a bigger company.
- Articulating vision, and articulating stories which inspire and direct value activities. This is to motivate staff, and customers, and shareholders.
- Measuring performance using metrics and scorecards. Each activity has to be measured.
- Investigating customer groups and determining segmentation criteria. Allows you to tailor your product and charge a higher price for it.
- Trading-off market segments and business processes to meet a focussed target. This is the core of business strategy classes. You have to prioritise...
- Ordering a competitive fit of resources. Action adds value.
Other ideas are:
- Segmenting up the market according to separate business processes (value activities).
- Segmenting up the market according to competitive positions (value chains).
- Designing and matching new activities to a target market.
- Getting the show on the road to attract finance and funding.
- Starting operations and marketing processes.
- Maintaining an ability to monitor the environment for opportunities and threats.
- Maintaining strategic relationships with resource owners and providers.
- Managing the long run direction of the firms activities (visioning).
- Using the vision to create growth stages and goals for the organisation.
- Creating a culture to handle success, inspire teamwork and settle conflicts.
- Delegating profit centres to staff teams to encourage motivation.
- Considering the implications of change for the organisation.
- Saving time on operations to spend that time intensifying chosen processes.
So by employing knowledge and skill, organisations plan to gain strategic points or perform strategic value activites. A position on a visionary path ought to create a forward looking business culture, motivating employees to meet growth targets, and making stakeholders happy.