A business strategy is a plan on which a business bets its future.
So, there is every reason for businesses to get it exactly right.
Of course, that is an exaggeration. Certainty is impossible.
But businesses can certainly aim to maximize value and minimize error.
Here are 3 M’s just to do that — making the most of your business strategy.
- Market research
- Meaningful communication
The first pillar of a successful business strategy is market research.
Essentially, market research is the practice of understanding the market to make informed decisions.
Think about it: does it make sense to make a plan without knowing what the plan is supposed to achieve?
That is the objective of market research: to identify the goals you wish to achieve, understand the market in the past and present, and use that knowledge to come up with ways to predict what will most probably fulfill your goals.
But the difference between a business strategy that thrives and the one that survives is data.
A successful or ambitious business can no longer afford to make market predictions based on instinct.
It has to build a framework founded on data.
Whether it is understanding the market, identifying goals, or determining a course of action — data must dictate.
Sure, you have encoded your understanding of the market in rich and structured data.
Sure, you have identified your business goals and the customer problems you wish to solve in well-defined, quantified metrics.
And sure, data analysis has presented you with groundbreaking insights, informing a new strategy to fulfill those goals and solve every customer problem.
But how can the strategy be put into action if it is not well-communicated?
In fact, not only do the insights and strategy have to be well-communicated, but also quickly communicated.
Remember that feedback is vital to communication. By cutting down the time it takes to transmit ideas, we also cut down the time it takes to receive them.
Efficiency is paramount when time is money.
And that is precisely what business intelligence tools offer.
A lot of good communication comes down to leadership and its skills and values.
But, as for the means of communication itself, business intelligence maximizes efficiency.
BI tools, for example, automate report generation and data visualization, which communicates complex information in graphs and charts.
Meaningful communication connects knowledge to action.
First, you develop a plan. Then, you get it across. Then, you fulfill it.
Then, you measure what you have achieved. Or could not achieve.
Measurement completes the feedback loop at the heart of a data-driven enterprise.
Measuring, like benchmarking, allows enterprises to determine the distance between what was supposed to be achieved and what has been actually achieved.
If you hit the target, or overshoot it, that is great!
But if you miss, measuring your performance provides a well-defined value of the gap, in terms of metrics or KPIs. Further, data analytics reveals how to close it.
In other words, the loop repeats: finding the gap, recognizing why it exists, and finding a way to close it.
Maximum value. Minimum error.