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Figure out how to make a business strategy

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  • Modify successful strategies from other industries to fit your context.
  • Merge different strategies to create a unique approach.
  • Develop new strategies from scratch to disrupt the market.

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, the formulation of effective strategies is paramount to achieving sustained success. However, the conundrum with traditional strategy frameworks is their limited capacity to aid in the recognition of potential opportunities or the creation of strategies from scratch. This article introduces a comprehensive framework, grounded in extensive creativity research, designed to bridge this gap by offering a methodical approach to strategy identification.

The Four Categories of Business Strategies

The framework categorizes all business strategies into four distinct groups, arranged from the least creative to the most creative:

Adapting an Existing Industry Strategy: This approach involves modifying a strategy that has proven successful in another industry to suit your specific context. For instance, a retail company might adapt a customer loyalty program from the airline industry to enhance customer retention.

Combining Different Existing Industry Strategies: This strategy involves merging two or more successful strategies from different industries to create a unique approach. An example could be a tech company combining the subscription model from the software industry with the freemium model from the gaming industry to attract and retain users.

Importing Strategies from Other Industries: This strategy entails borrowing strategies from unrelated industries and applying them to your own context. For example, a healthcare provider might import lean manufacturing techniques from the automotive industry to improve operational efficiency.

Creating a Brand New Strategy from Scratch: This is the most innovative and risky approach, where you generate a completely new strategy based on your unique circumstances and insights. A startup might develop a disruptive business model that redefines market dynamics, such as the way Uber transformed the transportation industry.

The Challenge of Strategy Frameworks

As strategy guru Gary Hamel eloquently stated, "the strategy industry's dirty little secret is that it doesn't have any theory of strategy creation." This highlights the inherent challenge in traditional strategy frameworks, which often focus on assessing the viability of existing opportunities rather than aiding in the discovery of new ones.

Mastering the Art of Winning Strategies

To master the art of strategy formulation, it is essential to understand and leverage the four categories of strategies. By doing so, businesses can systematically identify and implement strategies that align with their unique goals and market conditions. Here are some key takeaways:

Adapt and Innovate: Continuously adapt successful strategies from other industries and innovate to stay ahead of the competition.

Combine and Conquer: Merge different strategies to create a unique approach that sets your business apart.

Borrow and Apply: Import effective strategies from unrelated industries to enhance your operations and achieve better results.

Create and Disrupt: Develop new strategies from scratch to disrupt the market and establish a competitive edge.

The framework for identifying potential strategies offers a structured approach to strategy formulation, enabling businesses to navigate the complexities of the modern market. By categorizing strategies into four distinct groups, companies can systematically explore and implement strategies that drive growth and success. As the business landscape continues to evolve, mastering the art of strategy formulation will be crucial for achieving sustained competitive advantage.

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