Think of all the changes that have occurred in the business world over the past 5 years. Technology evolves. Customers migrate. Trends shift. Amid these changes, Amazon continues to thrive. This success has much to do with the way Jeff Bezos guides his company’s strategy.
“What we need to do is always lean into the future,” he told ABC News in 2013. “When the world changes around you and when it changes against you—what used to be a tailwind is now a headwind—you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.”
If your business is currently doing well, that’s great. You should develop a sales strategy leveraging those strengths. If your business is stuck in neutral, there’s a strategy for that as well. Either way, your strategy is your meal ticket. And you’d better keep it agile so you can adapt to whatever changes come your way.
When creating a strategy, it’s essential to identify the areas where your efforts will have the highest impact. After all, your time and resources are finite. Don’t waste a drop of them on anything that won’t push the needle.
To identify these core areas of focus, you’ll need to measure which elements of your business efforts drive sales. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry about getting into the nitty-gritty. Pay the closest attention to the activities that require most of your time and resources. Which of them have the best ROI? By evaluating in this way, the cream will rise to the top.
Once you’ve identified your strongest drivers, you’ll need to tailor them to your customers by evaluating your industry and business outlook. Think of the Amazon approach—build on what’s working now while also anticipating what’s coming around the bend.
You’ll also want to consider the following elements:
Competition: No business is an island. You should know what your competitors are doing and how your strategy will distinguish your business. Doing so helps you gain market share.
Positioning: Where do you stand within your industry and market? Your products or services may speak for themselves, but someone has to be listening to hear them. You need to take the initiative and carve out a distinct position.
Pricing: Are you charging a competitive, yet rewarding, amount for your products or services? Can you monetize additional elements of your business? Questions like these will help you shore up your pricing.
Financing: You may need additional financing to carry out your strategy. You have a bevy of options, whether it’s an SBA loan, a traditional loan like a term loan, or an easier-to-acquire option like a business credit card. Review your current financing sources and see if you can find a more affordable option.
By taking the time to evaluate your overall strategy and gauge the impact of your efforts, you’ll put your business in a better position than it was yesterday. And as you continue to refine your strategy, you’ll increase sustainability and help your business rise above the competition in substantial ways.