How to Develop a Business Strategy

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Two business women developing a business strategy.
Two business women developing a business strategy. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The business strategy your company uses can make or break your organization, which is why strategy development is such an important process. Start with general steps to develop your strategy, such as a review of your mission and vision statements, and review your current state operations. Next, you can perform a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis, followed by identifying what you want your future state operations to look like and how you’re going to get there. You then can develop an action plan to reach your goals.

Review Mission & Vision Statement

To develop a new strategy for your business, make sure the path you take coincides with your mission and vision statements. Your mission statement defines why your business exists, along with how it fulfills your customers’ needs. Your vision statement defines your company’s ambitions for the future and normally identifies where your company wants to be in terms of its rank in your industry. Reviewing these two important statements will help you keep your strategy in the proper context.

Measure Current State Operations

In order to keep your organization on the correct path, you have to know what your current state operations look like. This includes reviewing your net profit margin, employee turnover rate and quantity of sales returns, among other important metrics. Determine whether or not your business is meeting its objectives, in accordance to your business plan and ethical values. If you see room for improvement or it's time for your company to take a new direction, you can use your current state operations as a baseline performance metric.

Perform a SWOT Analysis

By performing a SWOT analysis, you can craft your business strategy to leverage your strengths, address your weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace and mitigate threats to your organization. With this type of analysis, you are forced to think critically about your business and what it must do to succeed. Invite leaders from different functional departments to assist in the analysis, bringing in new perspectives and ideas into the strategy development process.

Create Future Objectives

After you’ve got a good feel for where your company is currently, identify your objectives for the future. This is perhaps the most important part of the business strategy development process, because it requires insight and vision. You need to find a new direction for your company, or continue on the path you're already on if your company is succeeding. Once you’ve set your objectives, you can develop an action plan to take your business where you want it to go.

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