Strategic Planning: Reshaping Competitive Balance

Conditions change constantly. And you must change just as fast – not your strategy, but the tactics you are using to achieve your strategy. Think about this: no two companies can coexist that make their living in the identical way. You might think that all designers are alike, but that is not true. Whenever companies or individuals compete for an essential resource (for example, customers), sooner or later one company displaces the other. So, you either are the displacer or you are the one displaced. The determining factor in who ends up doing the displacing is always the result of how closely the unique advantage of matches what the marketplace wants. In other words, strategy.

Strategy’s essence is making judgments on what to do, and when to do it. “What” you should be doing is a function of what the marketplace wants. If the marketplace doesn’t want your services, nothing you do will convince them of that. But, if the market WANTS a particular service, all you have to do is provide it to them.

Service businesses are unique. They can spring up everywhere. Who would have thought that a “personal shopper” or a “dog sitter” would be possible? Designers and architects create not kitchens and bathrooms or interiors, they create beautiful dwelling places – places where people live and share the moments of their lives. Your strategy must encompass what people want , not what YOU have to offer. Your differentiation may be in pricing, functions, technology, styles, or it may be only the customer’s perception (image) of you, your product or service.

The world in which you operate is a living system where competitors, customers, money, people and resources continually interact. It is within that interaction where a given strategic move will reshape competitive balance.

Remember: the purpose of your strategy is to overcome hesitation when events occur.