Peeling The Strategy Onion

by Paul Simister on May 19, 2011

The idea of working on your strategy and the entire strategy planning and management process can be daunting.

So daunting that it can put many business owners off.

And that leaves them stuck trying to get improved profit performance from implementing tactics.

I believe they are missing a big trick and it’s a trick that keeps running a business as hard work.

I first mentioned the idea of the Strategy Onion in my post Strategy From The Outside In or Inside Out

Strategic analysis can be extremely time consuming as you look across the time periods – past, present and future to understand what’s happening, why it’s happening and how things are likely to change.

That’s why I like to think of strategy as an onion crossed with an orange.

You can think of it in terms of the different layers and segments.

You could go from top to bottom (i.e. down all the layers) in all the different aspects of your business (the segments).

Or can screen it by identifying what’s important and essential and what’s minor and trivial.

That way you spend your time investigating, analysing and thinking about what matters and skimp on the minor and the trivial.

Some industries are in chaos after major new discontinuities which have changed the basis of competition, some can see the threat coming and need to prepare and others are nice and stable.

Some customers are changing their needs and wants, some are stable.

Some markets are disrupted by a scary new competitor, some are ripe for disruption and some are stable and unattractive to new entrants.

The work you need to do in strategic planning and differentiating your business will depend on what is happening and what could happen.

You may be lucky and trade in a nice placid, protected harbour or you could be caught in a small dinghy 500 miles away from land and in the middle of a huge storm.

Your strategic planning process needs to reflect your world.

You can waste many hours looking for threats that aren’t there – or you can skimp over a clear and present danger.

That’s where the idea of peeling the strategy onion comes in.

A quick check on what’s happening and the likely consequences from the generic strategy models.

It’s not strategic planning but it is a strategic business health check or what I call a Strategic Snapshot.

And it’s the first stage in my process for differentiating your business.

Paul Simister is a business strategy coach who helps small business owners to profit from differentiating their businesses, by being distinctive in the eyes of their customers and standing out in a crowded marketplaceā€¦. in other words, by building a business to be proud of.

You too can move past your profit tipping point (free report) by answering the seven big questions of business success.

My business planning services

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