“Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.”
– Michael Porter
The above quote combines beautifully with the other Michael Porter quote at the beginning of Chapter 4, Set Your Strategy.
“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
That’s how I see strategy in the real world. Like sculpture, strategy is what’s left over after you take things away. Michelangelo started with a big block of marble and chipped away until he ended up with the statue of David.
Strategy is focus. As you match your business offering to what the target market wants, you exclude things. The high-end restaurant doesn’t have drive-through or discount lunches. The social media consultant doesn’t do logos and graphics. The mobile app doesn’t include every possible feature that the most extreme power user wants, but just what makes it intuitive for most users. Most of us who own businesses instinctively want to do everything for everybody, but we can’t. We have to work with the principle of displacement:
Everything you do in your business rules out something else that you can’t do because you’re doing that first thing.
As you read this chapter, please keep in mind my simplified Identity-Market-Offering (IMO) strategy framework, which I included in Chapter 4 on the strategy summary of your lean plan. If this chapter were a stand-alone summary of business strategy, it would start with that one. And then continue with the others that are included here:
- Stories as strategy. That may be one of the themes of this book. It’s not coincidence that I write about this, and I recommend Lead with Stories in Appendix A; and also Stories Matter More Than Numbers, in the additional information about business planning in general.
- Do a SWOT Analysis. It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. I use it a lot and recommend it.
- Strategic Positioning.
- Defining Strategy Statements. Mission, mantra, vision, and what’s the difference.
- How to do a Mission Statement.