Strategy. It’s a word thrown around a lot, but often misused.
Everyone who works closely with business owners will tell you they’re a business strategist. Usually, it means, “I know a lot of ‘business-type stuff’, but not necessarily a thing about business strategy.”
True strategy falls under three categories:
Corporate strategy is the overall structural plan of the business. Will it operate as a company, partnership, trust or sole trader? Will it become a franchise with a plan to have franchisees all throughout Australia? Will there be subsidiary companies? Find a good accountant who actually gives a crap about you, and understands what it is you’re doing, and go talk to him or her about this.
Operational strategy is very important for keeping a business operating efficiently, which strongly impacts profitability. It refers to looking at the operations of your business on an on-going basis to eliminate any redundant steps, double handling and waste.
Operational strategy is very important for all businesses, and there is a lot of help available in that regard. Most consultants who offer strategy provide some element of operational strategy assistance, even if they don’t know it.
Business strategy is about knowing your competitive advantage, positioning yourself to make that advantage sustainable, and being willing to disappoint people who aren’t in your target market.
Knowing your competitive advantage means deciding whether you are going to be lower cost, or differentiate yourself through a higher quality or unique product/service.
Solopreneur’s Need More Of This, Instead
For a service-based solopreneur, you are the soul of the business, and there is no separation between it and you.
Corporate strategy still needs to be addressed because of the world we live in, with taxes, regulations and such. Operational strategy is important to run your business efficiently and make constant improvements. But a typical run-of-the mill business strategy is not appropriate for you – and could actually be detrimental.
As a service-based solopreneur, your competitive advantage doesn’t need to be created (as it already exists). It’s you! You are already completely, 100% unique. Your business strategy, to ensure the sustainability of that advantage, should be to be more yourself than ever.
Be yourself in your branding, content (e.g., blog, company website content, newsletters, etc.) and in your overall marketing efforts. Think about it!
What makes your target market want to work with you over someone else? Yes, skills play a part, but no one cares how skilled you are if they don’t gel with you. Your personality is what differentiates you from the plethora of people with the same skill set. And guess what?
You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s a good thing. It’s better to not attract a few incompatible clients, than to water yourself down and please everyone.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Denise Mills is a business consultant and co-founder of The Impetus Initiative; a social enterprise created to improve business profitability, work-life efficiency and enjoyment in regional areas. Denise has a Bachelor of Business (Accounting/Economics) and a Graduate Diploma in Chartered Accounting. She has a strong interest in economics, business and social good; particularly how all three can work in unison for global change. Connect with @D_Millsy7 on Twitter.