What’s the difference between business and war? Just the weapons – at least, according to one wit. When you start a new business it’s likely that you’ll have competitors who’ve been around for a while. They won’t be too pleased that you’ve arrived to take a cut of their profits. They’ll be looking for ways to stop you.
Strategy and War – the Video
This short video gives you the tools to do something about that. Have a look and we’ll discuss strategy in more detail when you get back.
The engagement map is available for download HERE.
Lesson 3 – Remember the Titanic
In Lesson 3 you learned about the importance of the mission statement and how the mission, strategy goals and tasks are related. However, we considered your mission and your initial strategy based only on your own strengths and the requirements of the customer. This time we’ve gone further and looked at the impact your competitors could have.
This might send you back to the drawing board – but it’s a necessary step. You have to be prepared for them to try to block your plans in every way possible. If there are any weaknesses in your strategy they could exploit, then it’s better to rethink and draw up a new business strategy – or even a new mission statement.
Do you have a secret weapon? Can you do something that your bigger competitors can’t? That would give you an advantage and set you on the road to success. However, an effective secret weapon can’t be something that your competitors can copy easily.
For example, let’s say you can provide a service for half the going rate. That would seem to give you an immediate advantage. However, one of your competitors could decide to cut their prices to an even lower lever – just to get rid of you. If they have the resources they could keep it up for months – even years. The best secret weapons are often created with new technology or by challenging existing thinking.
That being us back to the niche. This is somewhere you can compete that give you a clear advantage over all your competitors. The more you focus the better you can be. If you’re the best at something, then you’ve a very good chance of success – as long as there are enough potential customers!
Here is a transcript of the video for those who prefer to read. You might also be able to use this to help translate the video into an alternative language.
What’s a niche and why do you need one?
How do you create a strategy?
What’s a business plan?
Do you actually need one?
I’m Pat Hough and those are the questions we’ll be considering in this short video.
In the last video you learned about the mission statement, strategy and goals. In this video we’ll cover finding a niche and developing a strategy around it
Business has been compared to war. Of course there are many differences but there are also some striking similarities. I’m going to push the comparison as far as it will go in this video. Once you start your business you will be facing stiff opposition from your competitors – We’ll call them the enemy from now on.
You have limited resources so you have to choose the battles you’ll fight carefully. First you must carry out several reconnaissance missions – to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your enemy. You must figure out what they’re doing before deploying your own forces.
It would be great if you were able to develop a secret weapon. That would give you an advantage that the enemy doesn’t have. If you can – do that. If not, can you come up with a way of doing things differently?
Can you attack from a different direction – maybe identify a target that has real value but is underestimated by the opposition? There is no point in facing the enemy head-to-head because they have the forces to wipe you out.
You need to find areas where the enemy is weak and you are strong. Create a map, like this one, with all the key areas included. Then record the enemy’s strengths & weakness. Then – under that – record your own strengths and weaknesses. Now look for areas where the enemy is weak and you are strong. You need both of those things to coincide to find your ideal area. And that is your niche. Now you’re ready to create your strategy:
First – confirm your Mission Statement – update it if necessary. You need be crystal clear about your final OBJECTIVE. Next, where are you going to engage the enemy? What resources will you need? What are the threats that you’ll have to neutralize? What are the potential dangers?
How are you going to rescue your customers from the hell they’re going through with their current captors? However, remember that some of them may not want to be rescued.
If you need additional resources, you may have to look for outside help. That may mean that you will have to prepare a business plan. This is a document that will tell your potential allies about yourself, your forces and why you will win.
If you don’t need external help – or they don’t need a business plan – it’s better to stick to a simple plan that you’ll be able to update quickly as things change. The problem is that everything will take longer than expected. You’ll meet unexpected problems. The problem is that plans never survive contact with the enemy.
The enemy won’t just wait if they think you are a threat so your plan must be flexible enough to react to the battlefield. You need to have a strategy and a plan that you will actually use. To win.
So the next steps:
1. Do the reconnaissance and identify the competitions strengths and weaknesses
2. Identify your own strengths and weaknesses
3. May them out and identify your NICHE – where you have the advantage
4. Create your strategy around the Niche
5. Set your GOALS
Then go for it!
You can map your strengths and weakness on the Engagement Map. It’s available for download HERE.
Thanks for watching – Until the NEXT TIME.