Strategy (and BI) for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

In my experience the word strategy means different things to different people and even the celebrated authors on strategy often offer conflicting definitions. I have settled on Clem Sunter’s definition of strategy : “…strategy is the direction of the business and the tactics are how to get there.”

So what does this mean for entrepreneurs in the real world ?

The famous World War 2 American general Douglas McArthur said, “… for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” I have found over the years of leading strategy in different mid-sized business that this has been a truth in all of them. In my experience, entrepreneurs are just not into detailed planning! But love to talk about their aspirations for their businesses. Leading a strategic thinking process I have found ‘indispensible’.

Another ‘truth’ I hold is that executing an ok strategy excellently is far more effective than executing an excellent strategy poorly. This implies that operational competence ought to be embedded in strategy. What does this mean? In a nutshell, if a team of entrepreneurs are rigorous in designing and getting alignment on a compelling shared vision of what their business will look like in the future, and agree on the key drivers that will get them to this desired future, then operationalising the strategy (or making it all happen) is infinitely easier.

I have made some broad statements above that would need critical thinking criteria elaborated on to create a more compelling argument; suffice to say that the approach to strategy briefly described above has served Alchemex very well so far and we are moving swiftly to our shared vision.

So what has this got to so with BI? There is strong link between strategy and BI and look forward to articulating my views on this link using the example of Alchemex as a successful mid-sized  business.