Welcome to “Steering the Ship: The Art of Business Strategy Development,” an in-depth guide brought to you by The Business Plan Guru. This guide is designed to help you understand and master the process of business strategy development, an essential competency for any business leader.

Understanding Business Strategy

A business strategy is a set of guiding principles that, when communicated and adopted in the organization, generates a desired pattern of decision-making. It is the route map to the long-term, sustainable success of your business.

Importance of Business Strategy Development

Developing a business strategy enables a company to match its internal capabilities and its external environment. It helps prioritize objectives, allocate resources, and position the company to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

Principles of Business Strategy

Every successful strategy is built on the foundation of three core principles: a compelling vision, clear objectives, and a strong value proposition.

Vision and Mission

A company’s vision is a statement of where it wants to go, or its desired future state. The mission, on the other hand, reflects the company’s purpose, or why it exists. Both the vision and mission should guide the company’s strategic decision-making process.

Objectives and Goals

Objectives translate the vision and mission into specific performance targets. They are clear, measurable, and time-bound goals that guide a company’s efforts.

Core Competency and Value Proposition

Core competencies are what a company does best. They are the source of a company’s competitive advantage. The value proposition, derived from these core competencies, is the unique combination of products, services, and benefits that a company offers to its customers.

Here’s a simple diagram illustrating the relationship between vision, mission, objectives, core competency, and value proposition in the process of business strategy development. Each arrow points from one step to the next, indicating the flow of the process.

Strategy Formulation Process

Formulating a business strategy involves making informed decisions based on a thorough analysis of the business environment, both internal and external. Here’s a simplified three-step process:

Environmental Analysis

Environmental analysis involves examining the external factors that can impact your business. This includes market trends, industry dynamics, regulatory environment, and socio-economic factors, often summarized as a PESTEL analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal).

Here’s a simple pie chart representing the six factors of a PESTEL analysis. Each slice of the pie represents one of the six factors: Political, Economic, Sociocultural, Technological, Environmental, and Legal. Each factor carries equal weight in this representation, indicating that they are all important elements of a comprehensive external environmental analysis.

Internal Analysis

The internal analysis involves evaluating the company’s resources, capabilities, and core competencies. Tools such as SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) and VRIO framework (Value, Rarity, Imitability, Organization) can be used to assess the company’s internal strengths and weaknesses.

Here’s a simple SWOT diagram representing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of a hypothetical company:

Strengths: Strong brand, Loyal customer base, Effective supply chain

Weaknesses: High operating costs, Limited online presence, Outdated IT infrastructure

Opportunities: Emerging markets, E-commerce, Sustainability trends

Threats: Competitive industry, Economic uncertainty, Regulatory changes

Each cell in the table represents one of these elements

Strategy Formation

Based on the insights from the environmental and internal analysis, you can formulate your business strategy. This should include your competitive positioning, market entry or growth strategies, and contingency plans.

Here’s a simple flowchart showing the process of strategy formation:

  • Environmental Analysis
  • Internal Analysis
  • Strategy Formation

Each arrow points from one step to the next, indicating the flow of the process.

Strategy Execution

Executing a business strategy is often where many companies struggle. It involves aligning the organization’s structure, culture, and resources with its strategy.

Organizational Structure

Your organizational structure should facilitate the implementation of your strategy. This might involve defining clear roles and responsibilities, establishing effective communication channels, or designing appropriate incentive systems.

Here’s a simple organizational chart showing the structure of a hypothetical company:


  • CTO
  • IT Manager


  • Financial Analyst


  • Marketing Specialist


  • Operations Manager

Each arrow points from a role to its direct report, indicating the hierarchical structure of the organization.

Leadership and Culture

Leadership plays a crucial role in strategy execution. Leaders need to communicate the strategy clearly, inspire and motivate employees, and foster a culture that values strategic alignment.

Here’s a simple bar chart illustrating the importance of different leadership qualities in strategy execution:

  • Communication: 9/10
  • Vision: 8/10
  • Inspiration: 7/10
  • Decision Making: 8/10
  • Accountability: 9/10

Each bar represents a leadership quality, and its length represents the importance of that quality in strategy execution (on a scale of 1 to 10).

Resources and Capabilities

Finally, you need to ensure that you have the necessary resources and capabilities to execute your strategy. This might involve investing in new technologies, hiring or training staff, or securing additional funding.

Here’s a simple pie chart representing a hypothetical company’s allocation of resources for strategy execution:

  • Human Resources: 30%
  • Capital: 25%
  • Technology: 20%
  • Time: 25%

Each slice of the pie represents a type of resource, and its size represents the percentage of total resources allocated to that type.

Strategy Evaluation and Control

Once your strategy is being executed, it’s important to monitor its progress and make adjustments as necessary.

Performance Metrics

Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you measure the success of your strategy. These should be closely tied to your strategic objectives.

Here’s a simple bar chart that resembles a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) dashboard:

The chart displays the following KPIs and their hypothetical performance (on a scale of 1 to 10):

  • Sales Growth: 7.5
  • Customer Retention: 8
  • Net Profit Margin: 9
  • Return on Investment: 6

Each bar represents a KPI, and its length represents the performance of that KPI.

Strategic Audit

Conduct regular strategic audits to assess whether your strategy is working and whether changes in the internal or external environment require a change in strategy.

Here’s a simple checklist for conducting a strategic audit:

  • Define the strategic objectives
  • Identify key performance indicators
  • Gather data
  • Analyze performance against objectives
  • Identify gaps and areas for improvement
  • Recommend corrective actions
  • Prepare audit report

Each row in the table represents an item on the checklist, with a checkmark indicating that this is a step to be completed.

Corrective Actions

If your strategy is not delivering the expected results, or if the circumstances have changed, don’t be afraid to take corrective actions. This could involve revising your goals, changing your tactics, or even rethinking your entire strategy.

Here’s a simple flowchart showing the process for identifying and implementing corrective actions:

  • Identify Issue
  • Analyze Cause
  • Develop Corrective Action
  • Implement Corrective Action
  • Monitor Results

Each arrow points from one step to the next, indicating the flow of the process.


Developing a business strategy is more of an art than a science. It involves making informed decisions, taking calculated risks, and constantly adapting to change. But with a clear vision, a solid understanding of your business environment, and a relentless focus on execution, you can steer your business towards long-term, sustainable success.

NB: Please remember that while this guide provides a comprehensive overview of business strategy development, the specific details and strategies may vary based on the nature of your business, industry trends, and economic conditions. Always consider seeking advice from business advisors, financial consultants, or legal experts when developing your business strategy.