Revisiting Strategy: What It Is, What It’s Not, (and Why It Matters)

Despite lacking in clarity.

A strategy has a deep influence in business.

A strategy answer the question, how will you succeed?

To simply put a strategy is your business plan for success.

Every single decision a company makes to give itself the best chance to thrive. And differentiate itself from competitors. If made intentionally and consistently, will be part of the strategy.

Why it matters?

How will you make decisions in a purposeful, intentional, and unique way?  That allow you to maximize your success and differentiate you from your competitors?

You can’t do that without thinking about strategy.

It provides you with the context for all decision you make.

Help your business avoid the temptation to make purely uninformed decisions.

Now that we’ve made it clear let’s figure out how to make it work for you.

What makes a business strategy that works?

Connect everything related to your business with the way you make decisions.

An outcome has to resonate with the team. And inspire confidence in making decisions.


The process starts by you considering everything imaginable related to your business.

And I mean everything topics like pricing, hiring, site selection, marketing, advertising, branding, merchandising, sourcing, partnering, product selection, in-store experience, service offerings, promotions, decor, and more.

I’m sure I’ve left a few things off that list.


The next step involves identifying the items, or collections of items, which fit together to form a theme or category.

Remember, this process will always be a little messy and organic.

It’s important for you to get everything out on the table so you can understand the whole mess picture.

How to do it (with an example)

This two-step process makes it easier for you to see the relationship between terms and categories them.

The categories emerging or theme from this fun chaotic process is what you base your decisions in everything you do.

It’s best to have three minima of this categories.


Let’s say you completed the first stage and your list looks like this one.

  • Huge selection of products
  • Competitive/low prices
  • Non-traditional sports categories
  • Seasonal focus of merchandise
  • Informal, homemade signage in the stores
  • Minimalistic displays and no glossy
  • Merchandising
  • Free CPR and other medical classes
  • Free meeting space for
  • Scouts and local sports teams
  • Pet-related products
  • Warehouse-like locations
  • Easy access and parking
  • Employee training and development opportunities
  • Hire for attitude and cultural fit
  • Seasonal employees
  • Ski lift tickets at cost
  • Employee discounts
  • Store stays open late
  • Minimal advertising
  • Active local event sponsorship
  • Liberal return policy
  • Flexible employment policies and hours slightly better than industry
  • Competitive wages and benefits
  • Six stores in the metropolitan area
  • High cooperation among stores
  • Equipment rentals

After undergoing that fun chaotic process, these three categories emerge.


#1. Keep price low by being frugal whenever we can.

  • Minimalistic displays and no glossy
  • Informal, homemade signage in the stores
  • Minimal advertising
  • Competitive/low prices

#2. Create a positive, flexible environment for employees

  • Liberal return policy
  • Hire for attitude and cultural fit
  • Employee discount slightly better than industry competitive wages and benefits
  • Employee training and development opportunities
  • Flexible employee policies and hours

#3. Build local loyalty and become a community destination

  • Active local event sponsorship
  • Free meeting space for scouts and local sports teams
  • Free CPR and other medical classes
  • Easy access and parking.

You’re done.

Now any decision to fit your business plan of success. You and your team need to base all your decision. Filtering everything using this three points.

If what you’re trying to decide do not hold faithful to either one of this three, then don’t be tempted, don’t do it.

It’s better to make intentionally and consistency choices which align with your business plan of success than to do anything else.