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How good is your business strategy?

To answer this important question try benchmarking your strategy against the following tests:1. Do you have a meaningful competitive advantage? Is there something different about your offering v direct competitors, new sources of competition and potential new entrants ? Remember ‘winners are different’.

2. How strong are your capabilities? Does you business control scarce resources, possess distinctive competencies or have some positional advantage over the competition? Such advantages can be individually small but when bundled can amount to a sustainable competitive advantage.

3. How focused is your strategy? Are you selective about where you compete ? Being ‘all things to all men’ is rarely a successful strategy as you are likely to be too thinly spread and risk being uncompetitive in certain segments. Do you have a clear fix on what is your core business?

4. Is your strategy future proofed? Are you well positioned for the next market innovation? Do you systematically review market trends and make adjustments to your market positioning and business model to reflect the outcome of this analysis?

5. Are you positioned to glean unique insights into future trends? This is all about being close to the customer and being the first to spot a new issue or ‘job of work’ the customer needs doing. Addressing evolving customer needs may or may not give you a sustainable advantage over the competition, but at a minimum, it will enhance your relationships.

6. Is your strategy flexible? In other words does your strategy embrace uncertainty. While strategic analysis should seek to remove uncertainty it will remain a fact of life, and you need to have early warning signals in place to position you to change course, if some of your critical assumptions prove to be incorrect.

7. Are you committed to implementation of your strategy? While ‘putting your money where your mouth is’  needs to be balanced by the need to control risks, it remains the case that many strategic initiatives fail for no other reason that the failure of the company to commit fully to implementation.

8. How independent minded are you? As any property developer will tell you, after the experience of the last 10 years, it is all so easy to be carried away by the herd instinct of conventional wisdom. Do you have truly objective criteria for evaluating strategic options?

9. Are all functions aligned to deliver against the strategy? Without organisational alignment implementation will be flawed, or will fail.

10. Do you have an action plan ? All elements of the strategy must be identified, with clear accountabilities assigned, and milestone dates against which to monitor progress in implementation.

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