The 10 Benefits of Strategy

The 10 Benefits of Strategy

So what are the benefits of having a strategy? For many, the time required to develop and implement strategy is not worth the effort. In the following list of the benefits of strategy I have attempted to highlight why taking the time to create a strategy for your firm makes sense, even if it takes time.

  1. Broad Improvement

    Strategy forces you to adopt a broader view of both your own operations and the external environment in which you work. As a result of this you are forced to critically examine your capabilities across a broad spectrum. In turn, this wider view of your operations leads to the development of strategies to improve all areas of your business. This serves to ensure that you are not focusing on the wrong things to move your business forward.

  2. Change Ready

    Nobody can consistently identify things that are going to force changes in your business. If we accept that, then the next best thing is to be aware of some of the possible change drivers within your company and in the external environment. Developing a strategy forces you to look at and examine where change may come from. You may not be perfect in your predictions for impending changes, but you will be better prepared to deal with change when it does arrive – and it will.

  3. Conflict Reduction

    One of the main drivers of conflict is misunderstanding. Strategy serves to reduce conflict by providing a clear direction for the company. With a clear direction in place, ongoing decisions may be measured against the strategy to determine if they support it or not. Having such an acid test in place for new ideas helps to manage potential conflict that may otherwise develop based upon different views as to the future direction of the company. Everyone knows the game plan.

  4. Consistency

    Strategy sets the direction and ensures consistency in terms of the actions undertaken to follow the strategic direction. Without strategy, there is no roadmap and everyone dances to their own tune. With a strategy in place, actions are coordinated in pursuit of the strategic direction.

  5. Customer Focus

    A personal mantra of mine is that “all good marketing starts with the customer.” Strategy also forces the company to strive for a better understanding of the client. Any strategic endeavor should include an in-depth customer analysis of your customer. If you are focused on the customers’ needs and values, then you are focused on the right things.

  6. Efficient Resource Allocation

    If you do not know what is important then how do you know where to allocate your resources? The creation of strategy will highlight for you what is actually important for you to achieve your goals. By doing this, the development of your strategy also ensures that you are allocating your resources on what matters.

  7. Identification of Competitive Advantage

    Knowing and understanding your customer is crucial. Knowing and understanding your competition is almost as important. Strategy creation involves an unbiased appraisal of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. When this knowledge is combined with your, understanding as to what is important for your customers then you have the basis for identifying what your competitive advantage is.

  8. Identification of Opportunities and Threats

    One of the main reasons that companies fail is that they never saw the emerging threat in their marketplace. The reason that they never saw this death blow coming is that they were not looking for it. A strategic assessment of your environment includes an analysis of potential threats to your company. The reason we no longer have many buggy whip manufacturers around is that they never saw Henry Ford and the automobile coming.

  9. Improved Communications

    Strategy improves communications by identifying:

    • What is important to communicate
    • Who to communicate it to

    Without this knowledge, there is a pretty good chance that you are wasting your communications efforts.

  10. Strategic Planning Forces You to Think

    I will finish with a generic benefit of strategy development that is so obvious that it may be overlooked. At the end of the day, it is not so much what you have developed in terms of your strategic direction that is important, as it is the fact that strategic planning has forced you to think about a number of things, including:

    • Your customer
    • Your competition
    • Your own strengths and weaknesses
    • Changes in your markets

    There is a tendency when things are going well to assume they always will and to simply keep doing what has made you successful. Continuing on is easy, thinking is tough, but taking the time to think is an imperative for your long-run survival.

Scott Van Wagner is a senior marketing strategist. His marketing experience includes roles as a Sales Rep, Product Manager, Service Director and General Manager and the Author of “Think, Plan, Prosper - How to Create Successful Marketing Plans in the Digital Marketing Age.”

This practical experience is enhanced by marketing knowledge developed delivering courses on marketing strategy and management at the University of Western Ontario, Brock University, McMaster University, the University of Guelph and the University of Guelph-Humber.

Headquartered in Burlington Ontario Van Wagner Marketing Solutions (VWMS) is a total marketing solutions provider. VWMS provides marketing strategy, education, digital marketing and marketing automation to deliver exceptional results for its customers.