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3 Business Strategy Examples to Inspire Your Own

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  • 03 Nov 2022

Successful businesses often change the way the world lives. Consider Apple, Google, and Netflix and the immense value each offers customers. Despite ambitious profit margins, the companies' business strategies didn't stem solely from financial goals. Each prioritized consumer value through innovations such as smartphones, faster search engines, and video streaming.

If you want to develop a successful business strategy, here's an overview of value creation, how to create value, and examples of companies successfully implementing it into their business models.

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What Is a Value-Based Business Strategy?

Creating value for the customer and company determines whether a business strategy is successful. According to Harvard Business School Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee in the HBS Online course Business Strategy , "These companies don't win by having the best product or most impressive service. They win by creating the most value."

While this can be difficult to visualize, the value stick framework illustrates how a company can maximize profit while creating more value for its customers, suppliers, and stakeholders.

The Value Stick

The value stick is a graph comprised of four components: willingness to pay (WTP), price, cost, and willingness to sell (WTS). Each segment represents how a sale's value is split between a firm, its customers, and suppliers. While each component leads to value, two levers create it: WTP and WTS.

To better understand how these components aid value-based business strategies , here are examples of how you can implement them in your organization.

Raising WTP

Willingness to pay (WTP) refers to the highest price a customer is willing to pay for a product or service. This calculation determines the threshold at which customers are more likely to make a purchase. Any slight imbalance in this number can deter, or even dissuade, consumers from purchasing. Only when a customer is delighted by a product or service are they willing to pay more.

Companies need to know their customer's WTP to remain profitable. According to HBS Online's Business Strategy course, it's influenced by the functional attributes of the product or service and other considerations, including:

  • Business sustainability: Is the product or service environmentally sound?
  • Social status: Does the media give your product or service additional value?
  • Market influence: Does your product or service inspire your competition?

Raising WTP can be an effective strategy for companies interested in increasing profit margins. This difficult balancing act requires an understanding of the product and target consumer. Business Strategy identifies three main mechanisms for raising WTP:

  • Conferring status: Earning "status" granted by media and the consumers to gain more value through public attention and brand legitimacy
  • Reducing uncertainty: Ensuring quality and purpose within an organization, so customers know what to expect with your product and service every time
  • Forming tastes: Taking the time to get your brand to the consumer as soon as possible because of nostalgic drivers

Lowering WTS

Willingness to sell (WTS) is the lowest price suppliers are willing to accept in exchange for materials needed to create products or services. Just as customers must weigh personal versus monetary value in determining whether they want to participate in a transaction, so do suppliers.

Another way to measure WTS is by considering employee engagement and retention. One of the most valuable assets a company has is its talent. Effective leaders nurture and develop employees to ensure salary isn't their only motivator.

Lowering WTS for one or both of these groups can be an effective business strategy for companies that can't raise their WTP. For example, companies that can motivate employees to work for a lower cost by providing value in other ways—such as benefits packages, flexible work hours, and generous paid time off—can lower WTS. Another method of lowering WTS is creating value for suppliers. This can take the form of additional warehouse space or long-term contracts.

Business Strategy | Simplify Strategy to Make the Greatest Business Impact | Learn More

3 Companies With Successful Business Strategies

One of the best ways to learn about business strategy is from real-world examples. Here are three companies that faced numerous challenges but overcame them through value-based business strategies.

1. Best Buy

Best Buy, the multinational electronics retailer, is an excellent example of how a shift in business strategy can lead to rapid growth. In 2012, Best Buy faced fierce market competition with online platforms like Amazon and big-box stores like Walmart and Home Depot. As a result, the company lost over a billion dollars in revenue in a single quarter.

Rather than closing stores or developing new products, Best Buy's leadership decided to leverage an existing asset not being utilized to its full potential: its storefronts. Best Buy started using its stores as "mini warehouses," providing faster shipping times, easier customer pick-up, and improved product availability. As a result of enhancing convenience for the customer, Best Buy increased its WTP.

Best Buy is an exceptional example of a value-based business strategy because it subsequently lowered WTS with this initiative. By keeping the vast network of stores intact and allowing vendors to build showrooms within its stores, Best Buy provided a cost-effective option for its vendors. This additional value lowered vendors' WTS, leading to product discounts.

As the largest sportswear manufacturer of shoes, clothing, and accessories, Nike has become one of the world's leading global sports brands. While much of Nike's success has come from its iconic products, it's also resulted from effective business strategies that out-compete in today's crowded sportswear market.

Value-based pricing greatly contributed to the company's reported global revenue of more than $44 billion in 2021 . For example, Nike has consistently leveraged consumers' perceptions of its products to drive prices up within their WTP. Nike can do this by creating the highest quality products to justify charging a premium price.

Many of Nike's competitors struggle to follow this same business model because of Nike's most valuable asset: its image. Company leadership at Nike has long understood that its pricing model isn't just reflected in the quality of its products but in the influence of its logo. By understanding its social and market influence, Nike's exclusive products, such as Air Jordans, have contributed to driving its perceived value to an even higher level. As a result, brand value and customer loyalty are two major pillars of Nike's long-term success at consistently raising its customer's WTP.

3. Starbucks

The world's largest coffeehouse chain, Starbucks, also needed to adopt a value-based strategy to gain market domination. In 2008, Starbucks faced immense financial pressure from increasing fast-food chain competition, rising prices in food and supplies, and global strains on coffee trading. In fact, by March 30, 2008, its profits had fallen nearly 28 percent compared to the previous year, leading to 300 closed stores and 6,700 employee layoffs.

To combat these challenges, Starbucks focused on better understanding the company's WTP. According to a letter by Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz, "The company must shift its focus away from bureaucracy and back to customers. We need to reignite the emotional attachment with our customers."

One method of doing this was the "My Starbucks Idea." Its goal was to create a space for customers to exchange ideas with each other and the company about Starbucks' products, services, stores, and corporate social responsibility . With nearly 93,000 ideas recorded and 1.3 million newly generated on social media, Starbucks tapped into what their customers cared about most.

Understanding what drives customer value led to many business model changes synonymous with Starbucks today. For example, free Wi-Fi, lounge chairs, and Starbucks' rewards program all sparked from customer feedback and forums. As a result, Starbucks is widely known as one of the fast-food chains with the highest WTP because of its loyal customer base.

Which HBS Online Strategy Course is Right for You? | Download Your Free Flowchart

Making Profits the Outcome, Not the Goal

Companies considering a shift in business strategy are often facing financial hardships. Whether an impending bankruptcy, decreasing profit margins, or increasing employee turnover, business strategies are meant to solve these problems. Yet, this isn't where your strategy should start.

"Profit is not the goal," says Oberholzer-Gee in HBS Online's Business Strategy course. "You treat it as an outcome. It's people first, then business."

Business leaders need an in-depth understanding of customer value to succeed in today's competitive marketplace. While real-world examples illustrate the implementation of these value-based strategies, taking an online course like Business Strategy can help you create an effective business strategy that wins over customers while generating a profit.

Are you interested in learning how customer value relates to financially successful business strategies? Explore our online course Business Strategy , or other strategy courses , to develop your strategic planning skills. To determine which strategy course is right for you, download our free flowchart .

business strategy examples for a business plan

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The 7 Best Business Strategy Examples I've Ever Seen

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Most entrepreneurs dream of an innovative product or service that surprises their rivals and takes new markets by storm. What they tend to forget is that there needs to be an excellent business strategy accompanying the product. 

I get it - it’s not nearly as interesting to fantasize about a competitive strategy. Yet without it, even genius products can quickly drown in the harsh business sea. Most strategies fail. A sobering 9 out of 10 organizations fail to execute their strategy.

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I’ve already written about the 5 worst business strategy examples of all time and why many strategies fail . But today, we’ll flip the script and take a look at products and strategies that delighted their target customers and wildly exceeded initial business goals.

From Tesla, Airbnb, and Toyota to Hubspot, Apple, and Paypal - let’s dive into their business strategies and see why these 7 are the best ones I’ve ever seen:

  • Tesla - Playing the long game
  • Airbnb - Forgetting all about scalability
  • Toyota - Humility can be the best business strategy
  • HubSpot - Creating an industry then dominating it
  • Apple - iPhone launch shows tremendous restraint
  • PayPal - Daring to challenge the status quo
  • Spotify - Changing the rules of the music industry

But before we get into these business strategy examples, let's briefly go over some of the basics...

What is a business strategy?

A business strategy , also known as a company strategy, is a crucial aspect of running a successful business. It is a defined plan of action that outlines the direction a business wants to take and defines how the plan will cascade through the organization by the allocation of resources. The importance of a business strategy cannot be overstated as it sets the direction for the entire organization and helps to align all employees towards a common goal . Overall, a business strategy serves as a roadmap for a company, guiding its actions and decisions to achieve its goals and stay competitive in the marketplace. 

👉 If you have any unanswered questions about business strategies, check our FAQs at the end of this article! 

🎁 Struggling to build your Business Strategy? Use our free customizable  Business Strategy Template to easily develop and execute it!

Best business strategies #1: Tesla Playing the long game

Conventional business logic is that when you're starting something new, you create a 'Minimal Viable Product' or MVP.

Essentially that means that you make a version of your product that is very light in terms of functionality and focuses mostly on showcasing your main competitive advantage.

It also means that the first version of your product usually has to be sold at a reasonably low starting price to compensate for its lack of features and generate interest.

Some organizations (including many tech startups) take this concept even further and base their growth strategy around a freemium pricing model . In this business model, the most basic version of the product or service is free, but any new or upgraded features cost money. 

Tesla, on the other hand, did things the other way around. It's been known for a long time that Tesla's long-term goal is to be the biggest car company in the world. They know that in order to become the biggest by volume, they're going to have to succeed in the lower-end consumer car space (price tag US$30,000 or less).

But Tesla did not focus on this market first. It did not create a cheap low-featured version of their electric car (and therefore benefit from economies of scale ).

Instead, Tesla created the most luxurious, expensive, fully-featured sports car they could afford. That car was the Tesla Roadster, and for context, the newest generation of the Roadster will retail from upwards of US$200,000 for the base model. 

This was the first car they ever produced - knowing that they couldn't achieve the necessary scale or efficiency to turn a profit (even at such a high price). However, such a car was in-line with Tesla’s vision statement where they aim “to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”

Fast-forward to today, and Tesla dwarfs the competition as the most valuable car company in the world. So their differentiation strategy certainly seems to be working, but why?

most valuable brands within the automotive sector worldwide as of 2022, by brand value(in billion U.S. dollars) source statista

What can we learn from Tesla?

The first thing to note is that Tesla has made incredible progress towards its business objective of mass-produced, affordable electric cars. They've even made a genuine annual profit for the first time in their history. 

Secondly, much of Tesla's business strategy was actually forced upon it. There was no way they could have created a cost-effective mass-market electric car.

As a startup, they didn’t have the resources or capabilities to reap the benefits of economies of scale. Because they were creating such a unique car, they couldn't rely on outsourcing or suppliers to gain mass-production benefits.

Fortunately, Tesla's supply chain strategy is one of the most brilliant moves they've made. They knew early on that batteries would present the biggest technological hurdle to their cars and the biggest bottleneck to production.

Rather than let this derail them, they took complete control of their supply chain by investing in battery manufacturers. This has the additional benefit of simplifying diversification as Tesla can use those same batteries in parallel business ventures such as their Powerwall.

Of course, Tesla’s business strategy required vast capital and fundraising (Elon is rich but not quite rich enough to fund it all himself). That's where the marketing genius of Tesla kicks in. 

For the most part, their marketing efforts are only partially about their cars. Tesla is seen as Elon Musk's personal brand, and that had an enormous impact on whether or not they got the investment they needed.

He's smart, divisive, wild, and ambitious. But whatever you think about Elon Musk, you'd be hard-pressed to traverse more than a couple of consecutive news cycles without seeing him on the front page. And that's a fantastic recipe for getting the attention of investors.

Tesla studied and adapted to the industry and business environment they would operate in. They knew their strengths, understood their market position, and built their strategy around their own findings instead of following conventional wisdom.

👉 Use the Tesla Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Tesla's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Tesla in our Strategy Study: How Tesla Became The World’s Most Valuable Automotive Company.

Best business strategies #2: Airbnb Forgetting all about scalability

Airbnb is one of the fastest-growing tech companies. Shortly after their IPO in December 2020, they reached a US$100B+ valuation, and the company has quite possibly changed the way we travel forever. But did you know they started out about as low-tech as you can get?

It all began with co-founders Brian and Joe renting out 3 air mattresses on their apartment’s floor. They made $80 per guest. It seemed like a great idea for a startup, so they launched a website and invited other people to list their own mattresses for hire.

They got a few bookings here and there, but things didn't go well for the most part. So much so that in 2008, they resorted to selling cereal to make ends meet.

They had plenty of listings on the site and plenty of site traffic. Potential customers were out there, but they weren’t making enough bookings.

They identified the most likely problem - the low quality of listings that were simply not enticing. So Brian and Joe decided to take matters into their own hands.

The co-founders grabbed their cameras and visited every one of their NYC listings. They persuaded the owners to let them take a ton of photographs of their places.

They touched them up a bit and uploaded them to the website, replacing the old, usually bad photos. Within a month of starting this strategy, sales doubled. Then tripled. The rest is history.

best business strategies airbnb

What can we learn from Airbnb?

The thing I love the most about this story is that it opposes one of the most commonly stated principles of building a tech startup - “everything must be scalable” .

What Brian and Joe did was anything but scalable. But it got them enough traction to prove that their concept could work. 

Later, they did scale their initial solution by hiring young photographers in major locations and paying them to take professional photos of owners’ listings (at no charge to the owner).

They also added a bunch of guidelines and articles on the site to educate owners on how they can make more money by taking better photos.

Airbnb's story shows that business strategies don’t have to be grand and super long-term affairs.

They can revolve around a specific challenge preventing the business from taking off. Once the challenge is solved, the company progresses on its roadmap and integrates the solution into the revamped business strategy.

airbnb quarterly revenue 2019 to 2022 ($mm)

Source: Airbnb third quarter 2022 financial results

👉 Use the Airbnb Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Airbnb's Strategy to build your own!

Best business strategies #3: Toyota Humility can be the best business strategy

In 1973, the 'Big Three' car makers in the USA had over 82% of the market share. Today they have less than 50%. Why? Because of the aggressive (and unexpected) entry of Japanese carmakers into the US market in the 1970s - led by Toyota.

Cars are big, heavy, and expensive to ship around in large numbers. That's one of the reasons the US market was caught off guard when Toyota started selling Japanese-made cars in the US at lower prices than they could match.

The car industry was a huge contributor to the US economy, so one of the first reactions from the government was the implementation of protectionist taxes on all imported cars - thus making Japanese cars as expensive as locally made cars.

But the tactic failed. Within a few years, Toyota had managed to establish production on US soil, thus eliminating the need to pay any of the hefty new import taxes. At first, US carmakers weren't all that worried.

Surely by having to move production to the US, the costs for the Japanese carmakers would be roughly the same as those of the local car companies. 

Well, that didn't happen. Toyota continued its cost leadership strategy. It still manufactured cars for significantly less money than US companies could.

Their finely honed production processes were so efficient and lean that they could beat US carmakers at their own game. You've probably heard of the notion of ' continuous improvement '. In manufacturing, Toyota is pretty much synonymous with the term.

US Car Sales Graph- January through May 2021 vs 2020

us car sales graph 2020 to 2021


What can we learn from Toyota?

Most business success stories involve bold moves and daring ideas. But not this one. 

Toyota spent years studying the production lines of American carmakers such as Ford. They knew that the US car industry was more advanced and efficient than the Japanese industry. So they decided to be patient.

They studied their competitors and tried to copy what the Americans did so well. They blended these processes with their strengths and came up with something even better.

Toyota proved that knowing one's weaknesses can be the key to success - and be one of the best business strategies you can ever deploy.

Not just that. Can you name a single famous executive at Toyota? I can't. And one of the reasons is that Toyota's number one corporate value is humility. It helped them crack the US market, and it runs deep in the organization - from top management to assembly workers.

Toyota’s success is based on continuously improving its functional level strategy , which focuses on day-to-day operations , decisions, and goals. They understood that the bigger picture consists of thousands of small tasks and employees.

They took a big goal, such as “becoming a cost leader in our category without compromising quality”, and ensured that their mission impacted every level of the organization while staying true to their core values.

👉 Use the Toyota Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Toyota's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Toyota in our Strategy Study: How Toyota Went From Humble Beginnings To Automotive Giant .

Best business strategies #4: HubSpot Creating an industry then dominating it

HubSpot might not be as famous as Airbnb or Toyota. However, being valued at $22.72 billion in 2022 means, they’re certainly no slouch.

And most impressively, they’ve become such a successful company in an industry that didn’t even exist before they invented it.

Most of the marketing we experience is known as 'interruption' marketing. This is where adverts are pushed out to you whether you like it or not. Think tv adverts, billboards, Google Adwords, etc. 

In 2004, HubSpot created a software platform that aimed to turn this marketing concept on its head. The HubSpot marketing platform helped companies write blog posts, create eBooks, and share their content on social media.

The theory was that if you could produce enough good quality content to pull people to your website, then enough of them might stick around to take a look at the product you're actually selling. Useful content created specifically for your target market should also increase customer retention.

This approach was a big deal. I can tell you from personal experience that 'interruption marketing' is really expensive. We pay Google around $10 each time someone clicks on one of our AdWords adverts. Remember, that's $10 per click, not per sale. It adds up pretty fast.

On the other hand, this blog receives more than one million clicks per year. Each article keeps generating clicks at no additional costs once it’s written and published. 

Inbound marketing basically saved our business - so it's fair to say that this example is pretty close to my heart!

Hubspot coined the term 'inbound marketing' - and long story short, they're now one of the biggest SaaS companies in the world. But that's not the interesting part of the story.

What can we learn from HubSpot?

Hubspot’s successful business strategy is based on a new type of marketing. Now here’s the twist that separates it from generic strategies: Hubspot used their new marketing approach to market their own company, whose sole purpose was to sell a platform that created that new type of marketing. Head hurting yet? Mine too.

Most companies would have taken that new approach and applied it to something they were already selling. But instead, the HubSpot guys decided to monetize the marketing strategy itself. 

They took a whole bunch of concepts that already existed (blogging, eBooks, etc.) and packaged them into an innovative product - ‘a new way of doing things'. 

They created an awesome narrative and proved how powerful their new way of marketing could be by building a business worth billions around it. 

Their best and biggest case study was their own product, and they had all the numbers and little details to showcase to the world it really works.

hubspot quarterly revenue q3 2022 ($m)

Source: Hubspot overview

👉 Use the Hubspot Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Hubspot's Strategy to build your own!

Best business strategies #5: Apple iPhone launch shows tremendous restraint

Ok, I hear you - this is such an obvious inclusion for the 'best business strategies'. But as one of the first people to adopt smartphones when they came out in the 1990s, this is something else that's close to my heart. 

I remember using Windows Mobile (the original version ) on a touchscreen phone with a stylus - and it was horrible. I loved the fact that I had access to my email and my calendar on my phone.

But I hated that my phone was the size of a house and required you to press the screen with ox-like strength before any kind of input would register.

Thankfully, a few years later, BlackBerry came along and started to release phones that were not only smart but much more usable. Sony Ericsson, Nokia, HTC, and a whole host of other manufacturers came out with reasonably solid smartphones well before 2007 when Apple finally released the iPhone.

I remember arriving at the office one day, and my boss had somehow gotten his hands on one of the first iPhones to be sold in the UK. I was shocked. Normally I was the early adopter. I was the one showing people what the future looked like.

And yet, here was this guy in his mid 50's, with his thick glasses, showing off a bit of technology that I'd never even seen before.

Apple could easily have created a phone much earlier than it did and sold it to me and a few other early adopters.

But it didn't. Instead, it waited until the technology was mature enough to sell it to my boss - someone who is far less tech-savvy than me. But also far more financially equipped to spend plenty of money on new tech products.


What can we learn from Apple?

The big learning here is that first-mover advantage is often not an advantage. A well-executed 'follower' strategy will outperform a less well-executed 'first mover' strategy every single time. 

One of the most common misconceptions in the startup world is that it's the 'idea' that matters the most. The truth is, the world's most successful companies were rarely the original innovators. I'm looking at you, Nokia. At you, Kodak. And at you as well, Yahoo.

In fact, being first is probably a disadvantage more often than it's an advantage. Why?

  • Your market isn't well defined and doesn't even know your product type exists.
  • If you have a market, it's probably just the early adopters - by definition, that's a niche market.
  • Technology will often hold you back rather than power you to success.
  • Every business that comes after you will have the advantage of learning from your mistakes.

People, and especially tech companies, get carried away with being first and forget that it’s a competitive position with pros and cons. Deciding to be a 'first mover' or 'smart follower' is crucial for strategic planning .

It’s a decision that should be based on research such as swot analysis and not on pride or blind optimism as it can make all the difference between success and failure.

Bonus reading : 18 Free Strategic Plan Templates (Excel & Cascade)

👉 Use the Apple Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Apple's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Apple in our Strategy Study: How Apple Became the Top Non-Corporate Tech Brand .

Best business strategies #6: PayPal Daring to challenge the status quo

There are certain industries that you just don't mess with. Industries like aerospace, big supermarkets, semiconductors, and banking. Actually, banking is probably the toughest industry to try to disrupt because the barrier to entry is huge.

You need mountains of capital, a ton of regulatory approval, and years of building trust with your customers around their most important asset - cash.

Banks are old. Their business models have been essentially unchanged for hundreds of years. They're insanely powerful and almost impossible to displace. But for some crazy reason - PayPal didn't seem to care.

I can tell you from personal experience (I worked for a bank) that the name which strikes the most fear into the executives of the banks is PayPal.

Here's why:

  • PayPal spends less money on technology than even a medium-sized bank does. Yet its technology platform is far superior.
  • Consumers trust PayPal as much if not more than they trust their bank. Even though PayPal has been around for a fraction of the time.
  • When a customer uses their PayPal account, the bank has no clue what the customer bought. The transaction appears on the bank statement as merely 'PayPal'. That gives PayPal all the power when it comes to data mining.
  • PayPal is quicker to market with just about any kind of payment innovation.
  • PayPal refuses to partner with banks - instead opting to partner with retailers directly.

In a very short time, PayPal has emerged as a new payment method - giving a very real alternative to your trusty debit or credit card. PayPal has also become one of the best payment platforms for digital nomads , tapping into one of the fastest-growing business trends in the world.

But how the heck did it manage to do it? Let's take a look at why PayPal had one of the best business strategies ever.

What can we learn from PayPal?

There are two main reasons behind PayPal's success story. 

The first is simple - stone-cold balls. They got a fairly lucky break when they accidentally became the favored payment provider for eBay transactions. A few years later, Paypal was even acquired by eBay for US$1.5bn.

eBay was smart enough to mostly leave Paypal alone, and their newfound sense of boldness saw them strike a series of deals with other online retailers to try and replicate the success they'd had with eBay.

This is where the second reason comes in. Partnerships. Banks had always been wary about forming partnerships with retailers directly. Instead, they relied on their scheme partners (Visa / MasterCard) to do it for them.

They didn't want the hassle of managing so many different relationships and were extremely confident that credit and debit cards would always be at the heart of the payment system. But the problem was that MasterCard was already working on a partnership with PayPal. 

Today, PayPal commends an amazing 54% share of the payment processing market. Almost all of that growth has come from their direct relationships with large and small merchants.

It shows that even in the toughest and most competitive markets, you can still find opportunities worth exploring and uncover a key to a very good business strategy.

paypal market share 2022 statista

Market share of online payment processing software technologies worldwide Sep 2022. Source: Statista

👉 Use the PayPal Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Paypal's Strategy to build your own!

Best business strategies #7: Spotify Changing the rules of the music industry

Before Spotify came along, the world of online music streaming was pretty lackluster. Sure, you had platforms like Napster and The Pirate Bay, but they were illegal and you never knew when they would get shut down. And even if you did use them, you were still pretty limited in terms of what you could listen to. On the other hand, you had platforms like iTunes and Pandora, but they had their own set of problems. With iTunes, you had to pay for each and every song, which was a total bummer. And Pandora, you couldn't listen to whatever song you wanted, it was more like a radio station. Basically, people were craving for a better way to listen to music, one that was legal and gave them the freedom to choose what they wanted to listen to. And that's where Spotify comes in. When Spotify launched in 2008, it was a game-changer. They took the best parts of platforms like Napster and The Pirate Bay (the ability to share music), but made it legal. And they also took the best parts of platforms like iTunes and Pandora (the ability to choose what you want to listen to), and made it better. As we all know, it turned out to be quite an effective business strategy.

What can we learn from Spotify?

Spotify nailed it by putting their customers at the forefront of their business strategy. They saw that people were fed up with the limitations of other music streaming platforms and decided to create a service that put the customer's needs and wants first. They invested in technology and engineers to ensure the experience was seamless and easy for listeners, and it worked like a charm. People flocked to Spotify like bees to honey because it gave them the freedom and control over their music choices that they craved. Another big part of Spotify's success was (and still is) their freemium business model. They offered a free version of the service, but also had premium options for those who wanted more features and services. This allowed them to attract a huge user base and generate revenue from both the free and paying users. This model helped Spotify grow its user base and revenue quickly, more than exceeding their business goals.

spotify launch free and premium monthly active users

And let's not forget about their data-driven approach. They invested heavily in data analysis and machine learning, which allowed them to create algorithms to predict which songs and artists users will like and recommend them accordingly - going one step further into user personalization. This helped to drive engagement and loyalty, making Spotify the go-to platform for discovering new music and creating playlists.

👉 Use the Spotify Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Spotify's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Spotify in our Strategy Study: How Spotify Became The Standard In Convenience And Accessibility .

More excellent business strategy examples

You just got familiar with my personal selection of top business strategies. But these 7 are just the tip of the iceberg! If you’re looking for more examples and lessons from the very best businesses in the world, download the free 56 strategies report . It’s a selection of cases that covers plenty of really interesting situations. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

What's the difference between a business strategy and a corporate strategy?

A business strategy refers to the business plan for a specific business unit level within a company, while a corporate strategy deals with the overall direction and scope of the entire organization at the functional level.

A successful business strategy focuses on achieving specific business objectives within a certain market or industry, and is often developed as part of a larger business plan. While a corporate-level strategy focuses on achieving corporate objectives and aligning the entire organization's key components to achieve competitive advantage and meet organizational goals.

What are the key components of a successful business strategy?

A successful business strategy includes the following key components:

  • Identifying and targeting a specific market or industry
  • Developing a unique value proposition
  • Creating a business plan with relevant focus areas to achieve the business objectives
  • Define the specific actions that will ensure those objectives are met
  • Determine the measures or KPIs that will drive success and ensure execution
  • Continuously monitoring and adjusting the strategy to meet the organizational goals

How does a business strategy contribute to achieving corporate objectives?

A business strategy is designed to achieve specific business objectives within a certain market or industry, which in turn contributes to achieving the overall corporate objectives of the organization .

By aligning the efforts of the individual business units with the overall direction and scope of the company, a business strategy helps to create a unified approach towards achieving competitive advantage and meeting organizational goals.

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7 Business Strategy Examples

  • Post author By Oliver Maximovich
  • Post date Mar 23, 2023
  • No Comments on 7 Business Strategy Examples

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Welcome to “Business Strategy Examples”! ⚡‍? This article will explore various strategies businesses can use to achieve their goals and stay ahead of the competition. Whether you’re a startup or a well-established company, having a solid business strategy is crucial for success. We’ll cover everything from setting clear objectives to analyzing market trends and developing action plans. And while online businesses may rely on Plerdy data analysis to improve user experience and conversions, offline businesses have unique goals and challenges to tackle. So let’s dive in and discover some useful business strategy examples!

What is a Business Strategy?

A company’s success is heavily dependent on its business plan. The term “business strategy” refers to a coordinated plan of action with the end objective in mind. The key to a successful business has a well-thought-out plan. Long-term, it’s used by businesspeople (or digital marketers) to boost productivity, make better use of opportunities and resources, raise ratings, and exert more command over a given circumstance. The right business plan can expand the company’s customer base, enhance its public image, and boost output. However, business strategy and business model are similar.

One is a blueprint and working model of the recommended standards for corporate growth. Simultaneously, the model is the method for carrying out these strategies. A company’s business strategy is an overarching plan for how its various divisions (UX designers, analytics, marketing , sales, etc.) will collaborate to achieve its objectives.

The importance of having a business strategy

7 Business Strategy Examples 01

Every business leader knows that having a vision is crucial for the success of their organization. However, having a clear business strategy is just as important. In the beginning, when a business is just starting, the vision can be flexible and fluid. But as the business grows and gets busier, the strategy may become less defined. With a well-defined strategy, a business can thrive and maintain its core values, especially when personnel changes occur. But unfortunately, this can lead to short-term success at the expense of long-term viability.

A business strategy is the foundation of all business decisions and guides a company to achieve its objectives. A strategy considers the resources available and how to deploy them to achieve goals. It aligns the efforts of all departments and gives employees a clear Northstar to guide their decision-making. Without a strategy, each department will have disordered actions, losing competitive power that will be exploited in the market.

Here are five reasons why devising a business strategy should be a leader’s priority:

  • Planning: Business strategy is part of a business plan that sets goals and objectives and provides a way to fulfill those goals.
  • Strengths and Weaknesses: A strategy helps leaders understand their strengths and weaknesses and capitalize on what they are good at.
  • Efficiency and Effectiveness: A strategy ensures that every aspect of the business is planned, which means more efficiency and better plans.
  • Competitive Advantage: A strategy focuses on capitalizing on a business’s strengths and using them as a competitive advantage to position the brand uniquely.
  • Control: A strategy decides the path to be followed and interim goals to be achieved, which makes it easy to control activities and see if they are going as planned.

Creating a business strategy is relatively easy but takes time and focus. As a leader, prioritize your business strategy and dedicate time away from day-to-day activities to define your business roadmap. Of course , a strategy only automatically means your business will be successful. Still, it enables you to share your vision and goals with your employees, creating a common thread to strive for success across the business.

8 Key components of business strategies

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A business strategy starts with a vision and ends with action. Without a vision, your strategy will be directionless; without action, it will remain just an idea. There are eight key components to creating a robust business strategy.

  • Vision, mission, and values: A clear and shared vision, mission, and values are essential for any successful business strategy. They provide direction and purpose, helping the organization understand its important aspects better. The mission statement, which focuses on customers , employees, and investors, and the vision statement, which is future-oriented and aspirational, play a critical role in creating and maintaining a good business strategy.
  • Long-term goals: While short-term thinking is necessary, long-term goals can make a real difference to a company’s performance. Companies should set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-constrained (S.M.A.R.T.) goals or use management by objective (M.B.O.) techniques, depending on their industry and team structure. Achieving long-term goals can require overcoming short-term pain.
  • Financial objectives: Achieving long-term business goals requires setting clear earnings, revenue, and market capitalization goals. Financial goals are visible and tangible, but financial priorities change as competitive and economic settings do. Therefore, financial goals should prioritize multiple goals, such as capital, human resources, or product.
  • Operational objectives: Specific and measurable operational objectives provide the guidance and direction crucial for long-term success. Operational objectives are short-term and task-specific, motivating employees to meet shared objectives and providing them with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Market objectives: Strategic market objectives create customer value and help the company support and improve its market position. They focus on creating better quality, lower costs, or broader distribution to provide long-term competitive positions.
  • SWOT analysis: SWOT analysis is a proven framework for understanding internal and external factors that might affect a business. It helps management make decisions for both specific issues and long-term strategic plans.
  • Business strategy action plans: Operational, management, and contingency plans help companies determine how to operate best and manage a business. They are a powerful tool to turn your vision into a reality when grouped.
  • Strategic alignment is the most critical element of an effective business strategy:  This ensures that all the above elements are aligned and committed to activating strategic initiatives. It reduces friction and headwinds, ensuring that the entire organization is rowing in the same direction toward overall goals and objectives.

Remember, while each of these eight components is essential, a perfectly aligned and committed strategy is more effective than a brilliant one that needs to be aligned. Therefore, ensuring that all components work together towards the same end goal is crucial.

Michael Cipielewski Jr.

How to Develop a Business Strategy: 10 Steps

7 Business Strategy Examples 003

Developing a business strategy is critical to the success of any business. It can help a company focus its efforts, allocate resources effectively, and create a roadmap for growth . However, creating a business strategy can be overwhelming and time-consuming, and knowing where to start can take time and effort. So we’ve outlined ten steps to help guide you through the process.

  • Develop a true vision: Your vision statement should clearly articulate what success looks like, including aspirations of what type of company you want to be in.
  • Define competitive advantage: Identify how your company can deliver unique value to its customers and create space from the competition.
  • Define your targets: Define niches and specialties to focus resources and enable an integrated sales and marketing approach.
  • Focus on systematic growth: Identify the segments in which your company will grow and in what proportion so that the product mix yields a specific net margin result.
  • Make fact-based decisions: Access useful information to form your business strategy.
  • Long-term strategic business plan: Create processes designed to treat strategy as an annual cycle rather than a one-time, static event.
  • Flexible strategy development : Evaluate long-term external forces and adapt based on new information.
  • Be strategically inclusive: Include people you can trust, and that can think strategically in the strategy formation process.
  • Invest time in pre-work: Make your managers conduct research and prepare relevant information before your strategy meetings.
  • Measure your results and execute excellently: Have a strategic action plan that is tracked often, promote common ownership of the plan, utilize key performance indicators, and establish a performance management cycle that supports cascading goals and objectives for every employee.

Following these ten steps, you can create a comprehensive business strategy to help your company succeed. Developing a business strategy is ongoing, so measure your results and adjust your plan to stay on track.

How to measure the success of a business strategy

When it comes to measuring the success of a business strategy, it’s essential to choose your metrics carefully. These metrics will be the focus of your team’s efforts, so it’s important to tie them to your strategic objectives. You can track milestones and quantifiable performance measures, which should be unique to your business. Milestones include launching a website , purchasing equipment, or hiring key staff. For performance measures, you can choose from options related to financial, marketing and sales, operational efficiency, safety, and environmental impact.

However, it’s crucial to keep it simple and choose no more than four KPIs per department. Training your team to track these metrics is equally important to ensure that the data is updated and monitored correctly, which can otherwise jeopardize the implementation of your strategic plan.

Maintaining up-to-date data and using performance dashboards to track your KPIs are excellent ways to ensure that your metrics provide useful information and stimulate the best results. You can periodically report progress to your team and stakeholders using easy-to-understand visuals. Lastly, review your metrics thoroughly at follow-up meetings to ensure they provide the necessary feedback . Following these tips, you can accurately measure your business strategy’s success and make data-driven decisions.

7-Top Examples for Building a Business

There are many types of business strategies. However, before implementing any plan or development, it is worth considering the most famous and successful ones.

Alibaba Business Strategy

7 Business Strategy Examples 05

Alibaba, one of the world’s largest eCommerce companies, has been successful due to its innovative and forward-thinking business strategies. Here are some of the strategies that have made Alibaba a retail giant:

  • Create a seamless link between online and offline retail: Alibaba’s “New Retail” strategy integrates online, offline, logistics, and data across a single value chain. This initiative aims to connect online and offline retail to provide a better customer experience (CX) and tap into the wealth of sales that take place offline in China.
  • Create a true omnichannel retail chain: Alibaba opened a chain of futuristic supermarkets called Hema or Freshippo that seamlessly integrates online and offline retail. Customers can scan and go using the retailer’s app, receive personalized shopping recommendations, use digital payments, including facial recognition, and have their groceries delivered to their homes in 30 minutes for free.
  • Invest in other brick-and-mortar retailers: Alibaba invested in Suning, China’s largest electronics chain, and acquired a controlling interest in Sun Art, China’s largest hypermart chain, to make their merchandise available on Alibaba’s eCommerce platforms and facilitate shorter delivery times. Alibaba also took Intime Retail, a leading department store chain in China, private to integrate the power of mobile reach, real-time consumer insights, and technology capability to improve operating efficiency.
  • Business invest in the warehouse store model: Alibaba opened its warehouse club store called Hema X, which follows an omnichannel model that allows customers to deliver their purchases in 30 minutes.
  • Capitalize on the growth of community buying: Alibaba launched a community buying platform called Taocaicai to capture market share in lower-tier cities in China and elevate the quality of routine everyday services in local communities.
  • Continue to expand overseas: Alibaba separated its eCommerce business into a China and an international division to serve its overseas customers, including Lazada, which serves South East Asia and AliExpress, which typically serves consumers from Europe and South Asia.

Alibaba’s business strategy is innovative and forward-thinking, making it a leader in the eCommerce industry. By integrating online and offline retail, investing in other brick-and-mortar retailers, and capitalizing on new trends, Alibaba has expanded its reach and continued to grow.

Booking Business Strategy

7 Business Strategy Examples 06

Booking.com is a leading travel and tourism player known for its innovative marketing strategies. Their marketing strategy is based on three key pillars: segmentation, targeting, and positioning. By understanding their customers’ diverse needs, expectations, and purchasing habits, they have positioned themselves as the go-to travel platform for anyone with travel intent.

Booking.com’s business and marketing campaigns have also been incredibly successful, such as their #AmericaIsForEveryone campaign, which generated a lot of positive results by promoting vibrant cultures worldwide. Another successful campaign was their #BackToTravel campaign, which celebrated the joy of traveling and encouraged people to start planning their trips again.

Regarding social media marketing, Booking.com has a strong presence on all major social media platforms, providing travel material that inspires and motivates users. Their SEO strategies have also been remarkable, with over 18 million organic keywords and a monthly traffic of around 120.6 million.

Booking.com also focuses its business strategy on influencer marketing, aiming to increase accessibility to international travel for everyone. Their e-commerce strategies emphasize boosting traffic through paid and organic search, while their mobile apps provide a user-friendly interface.

Finally, Booking.com’s content marketing strategies focus on brand recognition and loyalty, offering regular articles to pique the curiosity of individuals planning their next vacation. By staying true to their beliefs and connecting with their communities regularly, Booking.com has become a strong player in the digital space, rewarded with high engagement metrics.

HubSpot Business Strategy

7 Business Strategy Examples 07

Do you need help developing an effective content marketing strategy for your business? The good news is that you’re not alone. Many businesses find themselves in the same boat, figuring out where to start or how to proceed. That’s where HubSpot comes in.

Using a service like HubSpot can simplify and streamline the content marketing process, allowing you to focus on developing high-quality, valuable content that appeals to your target audience. However, before diving into the platform, it’s crucial to understand how to form a content marketing strategy and how to use HubSpot effectively.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you use HubSpot to make a good content marketing plan:

  • Identify your target audience – Understanding your target demographic is crucial in developing a successful content marketing strategy. Use HubSpot’s Democratic Segmentation to mark trends in your visitors’ ages, languages, and locations.
  • Determine your business goals – Why did you create a content marketing strategy? Answering this question and recording your precise business goals allows you to measure the progress of your content marketing efforts.
  • Map out your buyer’s journey – Putting yourself in your buyer’s footsteps can help determine if your strategy and user experience work.
  • Identify your search engine optimization (SEO) keywords – HubSpot has several tools to help you identify keywords that potential customers may use to find your site or similar e-commerce stores.
  • Create a content calendar and social media post schedule – Use your traffic analytics and conversion analytics to determine which day of the week and time works best for posting new content.

Remember that developing a successful SEO and content strategy takes time and effort. However, with HubSpot’s tools and dedication, you can grow your business and increase traffic to your website.

Airbnb Business Strategy

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Airbnb has been a great success business story despite the challenges it faced. In 2019, Airbnb hosted 272 million bookings globally. In 2020, despite the global pandemic restricting travel, Airbnb suffered relatively minimal losses of only 22%. This was also the year they decided to go IPO, despite the global pandemic, a significant drop in business revenue , and global travel restrictions.

How did they manage strategy? Through a growth strategy like no other. The Airbnb story is one of perseverance and steadfastness. The co-founders, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, couldn’t afford rent, so they opened their San Francisco apartment for guests. They soon realized they might be onto something bigger than a way to avoid eviction.

Airbnb has evolved substantially since then, though it has been a challenging path to success. One of the wackier ideas is their “Obama O’s” and “Cap’n McCain’s” cereal.

To overcome the “crisis of trust,” Airbnb designed a system that encourages its users to trust the product. This system is called the “hierarchy of needs”: safety, connection, and support.

This new market created an immensely beneficial cash-flow dynamic for Airbnb, allowing them to grow while using much less cash than would otherwise be required. The company created a unique experience, not just for the guests and hosts but also for the travel industry as a whole. In this sense, Airbnb can be seen as Disruptive technology that shook up the travel and tourism industry.

Airbnb’s growth strategy focused on products, overcoming the fear of staying with strangers, and the sharing economy. The future of Airbnb looks bright, and it will continue to innovate and shake up the travel industry.

Apple Business Strategy

7 Business Strategy Examples 09

Apple’s business strategy focuses on delivering a distinctive consumer experience (CX). The company’s competitive advantage has been driven by its emphasis on design and functionality. Apple has always been able to differentiate its products and services based on its simple yet appealing design, contributing to its broad appeal.

Apple goods reflect the company’s emphasis on enhancing the customer experience, which is visible in their design. Any Apple product is simple to operate, and buyers may begin using it immediately after opening the package. Apple’s numerous stores in strategic locations worldwide have also contributed greatly to the company’s success. These stores enable customers to try Apple items before purchasing, contributing to the company’s client loyalty.

Apple’s creation of an ecosystem is a vital component of its commercial strategy. The company has flawlessly merged its hardware and software , allowing its devices and software to function effectively. Additionally, Apple’s environment fosters customer loyalty, making it difficult for them to convert to competing brands.

Apple has shifted its attention away from iPhone sales, services , and other operations. This transformation has produced favorable outcomes, with Apple’s services sector generating record sales in 2020.

Apple’s overall business strategy integrates product differentiation, customer experience, ecosystem development, and diversification. As a result, Apple has maintained its position as a global leader in the technology and consumer electronics industries by focusing on these aspects.

Tesla Business Strategy

7 Business Strategy Examples 10

Instead of gradually developing a brand of comfortable and modern cars, Tesla immediately declared itself a brand of expensive and luxurious vehicles. As a result, they had to make considerable investments in the budget.

An essential point of Tesla’s business strategy is that they have sensibly assessed their problems and matters that could derail their plans to implement a cost-effective electric car for the mass market. Therefore, they controlled the production and supply of critical spare parts (batteries).

Just like any startup , Tesla needed investments. Musk relied on his personality and the desire of people to touch the technologies of the future. So, he made the company’s brand and attracted investors.

PayPal Business Strategy

7 Business Strategy Examples 11

The banking system is one of the most challenging areas to enter. You will need a considerable amount of capital, lots of government approvals, and customer trust (which has been built up over decades). But the guys from PayPal decided to take a chance and succeeded.

Moreover, banks began to take the company seriously and perceive it as a worthy competitor . And there were reasons for that:

  • The technical ones are probably well above the average bank, even though PayPal spends little on their development.
  • The company has gained the trust of customers in a short time.
  • PayPal keeps purchases private but uses them for its analytics.
  • The company often launches payment innovations on the market.
  • PayPal works directly with merchants, bypassing banks.

The secret of the payment system’s success is hidden in its international business strategy:

  • The system has become a payment system on the Internet. It is used on eBay and other platforms.
  • The company boldly finds partners among sellers, unlike banks. As a result, today, PayPal accounts for more than 50% of transactions in the market.

Thus, the company could break through even in the most challenging conditions, finding loopholes in the gaps of its main competitors.

Bottom Line

Business strategy is crucial to the success of any enterprise . It involves making decisions about the company’s direction and how to achieve its goals. According to McKinsey, business strategy should focus on gaining a sustainable competitive advantage, which can be achieved through differentiation, cost leadership, or focusing on a specific market segment.

Let’s take the example of Starbucks. They built their brand by offering high-quality coffee at a premium price. Their strategy was creating a “third place” for customers to relax and enjoy a good coffee between home and work. This strategy proved successful, as Starbucks became a household name and increased its revenue to billions.

Another example is Nike, which leverages its brand to engage with customers at a deeper level. They offer unique features in their products, such as Nike+ technology, which tracks your runs and offers personalized coaching. This strategy has helped Nike build a loyal following, with customers willing to pay a higher price for their products.

Toyota is an example of a company that focuses on cost leadership. As a result, they offer reliable cars at a lower price point than some of their competitors. This strategy has helped them gain market share and maintain profitability over the long term.

Spotify is a company that came into existence in the tech era. Its strategy was to build a music streaming platform with a level of personalization that engines didn’t offer then. Their platform uses algorithms to create personalized playlists for users based on their listening habits. This approach has gained them a large user base and increased their revenue through subscription-based programs.

More is needed to have a good business strategy; execution is also crucial. Unfortunately, a few cases have happened where companies had an excellent idea but needed to execute it better to gain traction in the market.

In conclusion, balancing leadership, negotiation, ethics, finance, and entrepreneurship is essential to gaining influence in business. When raising the bar of business, focusing on sustainable ways of earning and building enterprise is essential. Business strategy should inspire and offer aid in a way that engages customers and gains their loyalty. Cycles of uncertainty will continue to exist, but with the right business strategy, any enterprise can close the gap and gain a competitive advantage.

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The Strategy Story

What is a Business Strategy? What are the examples of business strategy?

business strategy examples for a business plan

What is a business strategy?

A business strategy is a plan that helps a company achieve its goals. It includes tactics for marketing, finance, operations, and other areas. A business strategy aims to give the company a competitive advantage.

There are many different types of business strategies. Some common ones include cost leadership, differentiation, and focus. A company may use one or more of these strategies depending on its goals.

For example, a company that wants to expand may use a growth strategy, while a company that wants to improve its profitability may use a cost-cutting strategy. Successful businesses typically have well-defined strategy and processes that they regularly review and update.

How to make a business strategy

Developing an effective business strategy is essential for any organization that wants to compete in today’s marketplace. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are specific steps that all businesses can take to create a solid strategic foundation.

First, it’s essential to understand your company’s goals and objectives clearly. What are you trying to achieve, and how will you measure success?

Next, you must conduct a SWOT analysis to identify your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Once you have a good sense of your company’s position, you can develop specific strategies for achieving your goals. This may involve expanding into new markets, developing new products or services, or implementing more efficient processes.

Whatever the case, it’s crucial to have a well-thought-out plan for execution. Even the best companies will struggle to achieve their full potential without a solid strategy.

What are the levels of business strategy?

Business strategy can be divided into three levels: corporate, business, and functional.

Corporate level strategy

A corporate-level strategy is a long-term plan that a company uses to guide its business decisions and activities. The focus of a corporate-level strategy is typically on how the company will compete in its overall industry or market.

This can involve decisions about which businesses to operate in, what products or services to offer, and how to allocate resources across the company. Corporate-level strategies are usually developed by senior executives and are designed to help businesses achieve their overall goals.

When crafting a corporate strategy, businesses must consider their strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats in their industry. By considering all of these factors, companies can develop a plan that will allow them to compete effectively and achieve their desired success.

Corporate Level Strategy: Explained with Examples and Types  

Business level strategy

A business-level strategy is a plan of action to achieve a specific goal. This could be anything from increasing market share to expanding into new markets.

A business-level strategy must be aligned with the company’s overall mission and goals to succeed. It should also consider the company’s strengths and weaknesses and the threats and opportunities present in the marketplace.

Once a business-level strategy has been formulated, it is crucial to implement it in a consistent and disciplined manner. Otherwise, it will simply be another worthless piece of paper gathering dust on a shelf.

Business Level Strategy: Explained with Examples and Types

Functional level strategy

A functional-level strategy is a plan that focuses on how a company will use its resources to achieve its goals in a specific business area.

For example, a company’s marketing functional level strategy might focus on how it will use its marketing budget to reach its target customers. A functional-level strategy is generally created by a company’s top managers and is then implemented by lower-level managers.

While a functional-level strategy is often aligned with the company’s overall business strategy, it can also be adapted to meet the needs of a specific business unit or product line. By taking into account each business unit’s unique resources and objectives, a company can develop a more targeted and practical approach to achieving its goals.

For a company to be successful, all three levels of strategy must be aligned. Otherwise, there will be confusion and conflict between different departments, leading to stagnation or even decline.

By developing a clear and concise business strategy, companies can ensure that all levels of the organization work together towards a common goal.

Functional Level Strategy: Explained with Examples and Types

Examples of business strategy

A business strategy is a plan that outlines how a company will achieve its goals. There are many different business strategies, but some common examples include cost leadership, differentiation, and focus.

Cost leadership

Cost leadership creates a competitive advantage by having the lowest cost of production in their respective industry. This strategy is often used by companies that can produce their goods or services at a lower price than their competitors.

To achieve a cost leadership position, businesses must achieve economies of scale, which refers to producing goods or services at a lower unit cost as production increases.

There are several ways that businesses can achieve economies of scale, such as through vertical integration, investing in new technology, or streamlining their manufacturing process.

Once a business has achieved a cost leadership position, it can maintain it by continuously lowering its costs and/or raising its prices.


A differentiation strategy is where a company seeks to distinguish itself from the competition by offering unique products or services.

This can be done in terms of quality, features, design, or any other aspect that sets the company’s products or services apart from its rivals.

A differentiation strategy aims to make the company’s products or services more attractive to customers and thus gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

While a differentiation strategy can be an effective way to grow a business, it can also be challenging to sustain over the long term due to the constant need to innovate and remain ahead of the competition.

A focus strategy involves targeting a specific market niche or segment.

A focus strategy aims to gain a competitive advantage by catering to the target market’s unique needs. Focus strategies can be either cost-based or differentiation-based.

Focus strategies can effectively build brand loyalty and increase market share, but they can also be tricky to execute. Because focus strategies involve targeting a specific market segment, companies must be careful not to spread themselves too thin or risk losing their competitive advantage.

Each strategy has its benefits and drawbacks, and the best strategy for any given company will depend on its specific goals and situation.

However, all businesses need some strategy to be successful. Without a plan to achieve its goals, a company will likely flounder and ultimately fail.

Innovation focused business strategy of Godrej

How to measure the effectiveness of a business strategy

There are several ways to measure the effectiveness of a business strategy.

One standard method is to track changes in key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are quantifiable measures that can be used to track progress toward specific goals. For example, if a company’s goal is to increase sales by 10% over a year, then tracking sales figures monthly would be an effective way to measure progress.

Another standard method for measuring the effectiveness of a business strategy is to survey employees and customers. This can help to assess whether or not employees are engaged with the company’s new direction and whether or not customers see benefits from the changes.

Ultimately, the best way to measure the effectiveness of a business strategy will vary depending on the specific goals and objectives of the company. However, tracking KPIs and surveying employees and customers are two standard methods that can be used to assess progress.

IDEO’s Design Thinking Strategy – Making consumers fall in love with your products

How to implement a successful business strategy

Any business owner knows that a successful company requires a well-thought-out strategy. But what goes into a successful business strategy?

Implementing a successful business strategy requires a thoughtful and systematic approach. Here are some steps you might consider:

  • Set Clear Goals: Defining what success looks like is crucial before you start. Your business goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Your strategy should be designed to help you achieve these goals.
  • Conduct a SWOT Analysis: A SWOT analysis helps you understand your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It provides a clear understanding of your current position, which is essential for strategy development.
  • Understand Your Customers: Knowing your customer’s needs and preferences is vital. This understanding will allow you to make strategic decisions that will satisfy your customers and make your business more competitive.
  • Understand Your Competitors: Knowing who your competitors are and what they offer can help you differentiate your products or services and find a competitive advantage.
  • Formulate the Strategy: Based on the knowledge gained from the previous steps, develop a strategy that leverages your strengths, minimizes your weaknesses, capitalizes on opportunities, and mitigates threats. This strategy should address all key areas of your business, such as product development, marketing, sales, operations, and customer service.
  • Communicate the Strategy: Once you have a strategy in place, communicate it clearly and consistently to all stakeholders, including employees, shareholders, and customers. Everyone should understand the direction the business is headed and their role in getting there.
  • Implement the Strategy: This is where the rubber meets the road. Start executing the strategy. Ensure all actions and decisions align with the strategic goals. You might need to change your operations, develop new products, enter new markets, etc.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Implementation is not a one-and-done process. Regularly review the strategy’s progress and effectiveness using key performance indicators (KPIs). If something isn’t working as expected, don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy.
  • Innovation: A successful strategy often includes a focus on innovation. This could mean developing new products or services, or it could involve finding more efficient ways of doing things.
  • Culture and Leadership: A positive culture and strong leadership are crucial for a successful strategy. Leaders should embody the strategy and inspire others to work towards it. Likewise, a culture that encourages collaboration, risk-taking, and continuous learning can accelerate strategy implementation.

Remember, every business is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. It’s important to be flexible and adaptable and continuously learn and refine your strategy based on what’s working and what’s not.

Difference between business strategy and corporate strategy

Business strategy and corporate strategy are two different levels of strategic planning in an organization. They both are essential for organizational success, but they focus on different aspects of the organization.

Corporate Strategy:

This is concerned with the overall scope and direction of the entire organization. It involves making decisions about the organization’s portfolio of businesses (if it is a conglomerate with multiple lines of businesses), the markets it will operate in, and how it will create value across those different businesses.

The focus of the corporate strategy is on capital allocation, mergers and acquisitions, and defining the overall corporate identity. The main goal of corporate strategy is to ensure the organization is diversified and balanced in a way that reduces risks and enhances corporate value. In other words, it looks at “what” businesses the company should be in.

Business Strategy:

This operates at a lower level and is concerned with how a single business unit competes within its specific market. It outlines how to achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Business strategy involves decisions about product development, customer targeting, marketing, production, distribution, and pricing.

It’s more focused on operational effectiveness and strategic positioning within the market. This strategy primarily responds to the question of “how” the business will succeed in a specific market.

In summary, corporate strategy is more big-picture, determining where and how the organization will compete, whereas business strategy focuses on executing the corporate strategy within specific markets.

The real challenge in crafting strategy lies in detecting subtle discontinuities that may undermine a business in the future. And for that there is no technique, no program, just a sharp mind in touch with the situation Henry Mintzberg, management thinker and “enfant terrible” of strategic planning theory

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Business Strategy: Definition, Components, Examples and Guide

It’s no secret that it takes hard work to be successful in business, but hard work alone is often not enough, which is why we develop our business strategies to be more effective. So, what is a business strategy? Below, we’ll outline a definition, the different components of a business strategy and also provide some examples.

What is a business strategy?

A business strategy is a long-term plan that outlines how your company will grow and compete within a market. While this is an easy concept to grasp, there is a considerable amount of depth to understand when learning how to build a business strategy.

Difference between a business strategy vs tactics

You may have thought they were one in the same, but there is a distinct difference between a business strategy and business tactics. Your business strategy outlines the big picture of where your business is heading (the ‘what’), whereas your tactics specifically outline the methods and manoeuvres you will implement in order to get there (the ‘how’).

In more detail, tactics are practices and direct actions that take small steps towards realising a greater goal. When starting a business you’ll have a few things in mind that originally sparked the idea behind your business, but fleshing these out into a fully-fledged business plan (namely your strategy ) will let you build an overarching picture of how your business can find success, and can therefore develop tactics to take you on the journey.

5 key components of a successful business strategy

It’s integral for business strategies to be multifaceted. They can’t be one dimensional andreliant on a few small factors, so here are 5 key business strategy components that are essential for finding success.

1. Vision/Mission

This is the direction you want to take your business. Developing principles, values and objectives will create a clear-cut path for your company that everyone can look at to make sure they’re all on the same page as you. By having direction, your business strategies have an end goal, and guidance for the tactics you want to employ to get there.

2. Progress tracking

Everyone always has a rough idea of how well their business is performing. However, having tangible data to quantify the effectiveness of your tactics makes all the difference when evaluating how your business strategy is performing. Not all business strategy components will be working as hard as the other, therefore it’s worth being thorough, by tracking all the moving parts implemented in your strategy.

3. Financial forecasting

Let’s face the facts. Business operations can be costly, so anticipating how much money is coming in can give us a better idea of how to spend on our long-term business strategies. Expenditure records, past profit and loss statements and other financial records can give you an idea of where you should be targeting your efforts, and what areas to strategise around.

4. SWOT analysis

Give yourself a great overall look at your business and how it works within its market by conducting a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By analysing these 4 important factors, you’re preparing your company for openings to prosper, and potential destructive pain points. When putting together a business strategy , this is all valuable information for those times when you need to pivot to avoid failure or take up opportunities when they present themself.

5. Competitive analysis

While you may have some ideas about your competition from SWOT analysis, you’ll most likely need to dig deeper into the specifics of what your competition is doing. The people, the products and the objectives of the companies occupying the same market as yours. All of these things will influence the effectiveness of your strategies. Keeping your core values and objectives top of mind will always be a priority, but you’ll also need a deep understanding of the environment around you if you wish to achieve your goals.

10 Examples of effective business strategies

Below, we’ll outline some business strategy examples you can consider when developing your own long-term goals.

1. Technological advantage

Having a technological advantage can lead to more sales, increased productivity, and a competitive edge in your market. Whether you’re using it to innovate your point of sale systems , or improve your research and development areas, there are always ways to use technology to get ahead of the game.

2. Improve customer retention

It’s widely known that keeping a loyal customer compared to attracting new ones saves time and money on marketing efforts. By focussing your business strategy on customer retention and valuing their experience with your company, you can minimise costs on marketing campaigns for customer acquisition - making it a very effective business strategy for long term operation.

3. Improve customer service

Customer service improvements do a lot for your reputation. This strategy works on a lot of levels because it increases customer acquisition by word of mouth, which then lowers advertising costs, but it also complements any customer retention strategies you’ve already implemented too.

4. Cross-selling products

You may find some businesses that have already developed a large customer base will spend time double-dipping on them and try to market new products to those same customers. Some companies are better than others at it, but at the end of the day it’s actually a great way of increasing sales as once again, you’ll see savings from not having to rely on costly customer acquisition campaigns, which results in quite a hefty increase in profitability.

5. Increase sales from new products

Regardless of how well current products are performing, keeping a constant flow of new products keeps your brand relevant, and under the spotlight. There is always extra attention paid to new and shiny things, and business strategies built around a continual rollout of products can also have a positive effect on brand reputation.

6. Innovation and pushing boundaries

The new and shiny factor extends to innovation in products too. Extra media attention is often paid to these boundary-pushing products, but word of mouth can also somewhat carry these products further as creative and ground-breaking ideas are often popular talking points for those within related communities and industries.

7. Product diversity

Stale brand imagery is terrible for businesses, therefore keeping a wide variety of products is a strategy companies use to keep a fresh look in the eyes of consumers. Updating pricing, features and aesthetics of existing products is another way companies create the illusion of diversity without necessarily having to diversify very much at all.

8. Price point strategising

One of the most important parts of a customer’s journey is the research phase, and pricing has a lot to do with how valuable a customer perceives your product. A common strategy is to simply undercut the market, making your product instantly stand out amongst the crowd.

9. Sustainability

If you’re in it for the long haul, you’ll want to focus on your organisation’s sustainability. Implementing environmentally friendly and financially sound practices while avoiding short-term, high-risk procedures are great at ensuring longevity and building trust from your employees and customers - showing them that you’re a brand that can be relied upon in the long run.

10. Targeting youth markets

Companies going through rapid growth periods love this strategy due to how fast word of mouth travels amongst younger generations. Social media is more popular in younger markets, and both the influential factors and the ability for word of mouth to spread incredibly fast on these platforms makes youth markets very effective for business growth.

3 business strategy mistakes to avoid

1. poor implementation.

What is a business strategy without correct implementation? Having the right plan is one thing, but one must always keep in mind that without the proper tactics in place to execute these plans, achieving the goals set in your business plan may not ever be realised.

2. Inaccurate data

Just like everything in life, making decisions based on incorrect information is a sure-fire way to get yourself in trouble, and in business, it’s no different. Taking the extra effort to compile a more comprehensive set of data that allows you to cross-check the accuracy of your information ensures you’re not being misinformed by misleading data.

3. Forgetting the basics of sales

With all this knowledge of strategy, you must remember the importance of sales. It’s easy to get caught up with marketing, management, branding and different ways of implementing all of these, but at the end of the day, if your inventory isn’t moving, there’s no way for your business to grow.

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6 Business Strategy Examples To Use in 2023

09 March 2023

As we settle into 2023, for companies looking to expand, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, rising credit rates, and the global recession have all posed new difficulties. But it’s crucial to keep in mind that adversity can also offer chances for growth and innovation.

Most business owners imagine creating a cutting-edge product or service that astounds their competitors and dominates new marketplaces. They often overlook the necessity of an effective business strategy to go along with the products.

It requires time and development to develop a successful business strategy that is consistent with the vision you have for your firm. This article will explain what a business strategy is, why it’s important, and provide some business strategy examples to help you come up with ideas for your own firm and gain that competitive advantage!

What is a business strategy and why is a business strategy important?

A business strategy refers to a plan that aids in the accomplishment of corporate objectives. It contains strategies for marketing , accounting, management, and other fields. A company’s competitive advantage is what business strategies seek to provide.

Business strategies come in a wide variety of formats. The three most popular ones are cost leadership, differentiation, and focus. Depending on its goals, a business strategy outlines one or more of these techniques.

For instance, a business that wants to develop may employ a growth strategy, whereas a business that wants to increase profitability may employ a cost-cutting strategy. Typical characteristics of successful businesses include a clearly defined strategy and procedures that are periodically reviewed and updated.

6 effective examples of business strategies for 2023

Diversify products or services.

Businesses can protect themselves against market fluctuations and guarantee a consistent flow of income by providing a wider range of goods or services . This is particularly useful during unsure economic times when consumers might be reluctant to settle on a single product or service. Take Amazon and Google as examples. These two technology giants have diversified into numerous industries through organic growth , inventiveness, and well-timed acquisitions of successful companies.

Customer retention

Prioritising client retention is crucial in uncertain economic times more than ever. Businesses that provide exceptional customer service can develop devoted clients who are more apt to stick with them through difficult economic times.

 In 2023, outstanding service means unique service if you are adapting to higher paying customers, because many successful people feel overlooked when their initial line of customer interaction is automated systems, algorithms and subsequently an inexperienced call centre worker who reads from a badly written script.

Great customer service is based on community feedback, interaction, and algorithms that are intended to empower the consumer rather than further exclude that individual if you are catering to the masses.

Cost leadership strategy

The phrase “cost leadership” is used when a business positions itself as the industry’s lowest-cost producer or supplier of a specific good or service. Because the management must constantly work to reduce costs at every level to stay competitive, implementing the strategy is challenging.

Although it is very successful at capturing market share and grabbing customers’ attention, it is challenging to implement. The company’s management team must continuously strive to bring down the price of not just one product but the complete portfolio of goods offered by the business. 

Remember: cost leadership does not imply that a business produces products of lower quality at relatively lower costs. That course of action will eventually fail. 

For a successful company to use this strategy, a business must create goods that are of acceptable quality, specific to a group of customers, and offered at a price that is significantly less than or on par with that of other businesses that make the same product.

Embrace digital technologies

Digital technologies have become more prevalent as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and companies that adopt a digital business model will be well-positioned for the future. 

There are many ways that businesses can use digital technologies to streamline operations, increase productivity, and reach new consumers, from e-commerce platforms to remote work tools.

In 2023, machine learning, smart media, natural language processing, and PR goods will be the dominant applications of artificial intelligence. Writing will be done by artificial intelligence for books, essays, speeches, books, and press statements and companies will  hire machine learning engineers  more than in the past. 

We can also presume that 5G will have an effect on how we live and work in 2023, so this can be another important digital avenue to consider, particularly if you’re in the SaaS or technology sector.

Expand into new markets

Businesses can diversify and lower risk by expanding into new markets, whether domestically or internationally. This may be particularly important for companies that depend heavily on one sector of the economy, as it can help diversify their audience and bring a fresh new perspective to your business.

Stay adaptable

Businesses would be wise to remain flexible and adaptable in uncertain times like the one anticipated in 2023 so they can swiftly pivot as market conditions change. This could entail changing business models, concentrating on new goods or services, or looking into new development opportunities.

The key message for effective business strategies is to empower customers while embracing technology and staff efficiency. For instance, allow customers to construct their products and process payments through your web interface, think about closing your physical locations and moving online, or look for joint venture partners with a track record of commercial success.

Business strategy vs corporate strategy

Businesses can follow the instructions in the corporate plan to accomplish their long-term goals. Corporate Strategy looks at all of a firm’s businesses to decide how to maximise value by using a portfolio approach to strategic decision-making. 

In order to optimise human capital, processes, and governance, companies must consider how the different businesses they own fit together, how they affect one another, and how the parent company is structured.

The organisation’s business objectives and core values serve as the foundation for developing corporate strategy. This is the most crucial level of strategy because it directs strategic decision-making across the entire organisation and is highly influenced by investors in the business activities. The business mission statement verbally articulates corporate strategy. 

Typically, the top management of every company is in charge of developing the corporate strategy.

Looking for expert business coaching?

We hope this guide has helped you understand the business strategies you should be incorporating in 2023. We understand that every business is different, and we can help you decipher which strategies can help your business grow.

Our expert Business Strategy Consultants are committed to enhancing your chances of achievement. If you’re ready to expand your business, contact us right away to schedule a free consultation. Together, we’ll design a program of coaching specifically for you, taking into account your specific needs and goals.

Book Your Free Business Strategy Review Today!

Business strategy examples faqs, what is the most common business strategy.

A business strategy is a roadmap outlining how a firm will accomplish its objectives. Cost leadership, differentiation, and focus are a few typical examples of the many various business strategies.

What does a good business strategy include?

A strategy incorporates your company’s goals and objectives, the kinds of goods and services you intend to develop, the target market for your sales, and the customers you want to attract.

What makes a successful strategy?

An effective strategy lays out a clear road map for the company, consisting of a set of guiding principles or rules that specify the actions employees should take (and should not take) and the priorities they should establish in order to accomplish desired goals.

Next steps…

Book a complimentary breakthrough business discovery call and gain the clarity you need to take your business forward →, book your business discovery call.

business strategy examples for a business plan

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Sample strategic plans, strategy is more than simply achieving business goals. it creates clarity, alignment and organization-wide engagement. we’ve assembled a handful of sample strategic plans. some are from our clients. others are just examples. all of them reflect good general guidelines and structure, which can be incorporated into your own strategy design., for profit sample strategic plans, these sample plans are based on a fictional organization. the information for our business clients is confidential..

business strategy examples for a business plan

One-Page Strategic Plan

An easy-to-read, full-color overview to help everyone visualize the complete strategy.

business strategy examples for a business plan

Company Strategic Plan

A summary of your strategic plan with strategic objectives, goals and action items.

business strategy examples for a business plan

Department Strategic Plan

business strategy examples for a business plan

Company SWOT

An assessment of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

business strategy examples for a business plan

Department Action Plan

A quick-hit summary of progress against goals and action items. Great for use at strategy reviews.

business strategy examples for a business plan

Individual Action Plan

business strategy examples for a business plan

Team Member Performance Review

Use this action plan as a performance review sheet for periodic staff reviews.

Non-Profit Sample Strategic Plans

These sample plans are deliverables for north slope borough school district. this is public information and is shareable..

business strategy examples for a business plan

School One-Page Strategic Plan

business strategy examples for a business plan

School Full Strategic Plan

business strategy examples for a business plan

School Strategic Plan with Progress

business strategy examples for a business plan

Church Sample Strategic Plans

business strategy examples for a business plan

Church One-Page Strategic Plan

business strategy examples for a business plan

Church Full Strategic Plan

business strategy examples for a business plan

Church One-Click Strategic Plan

A comprehensive report from mission through action items & includes SWOT, scorecard, roadmap & budget.

business strategy examples for a business plan

Church Roadmap

A summary of high-level goals broken out by year according to the dates established during goal.


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business strategy examples for a business plan

24 Best Sample Business Plans & Examples to Help You Write Your Own

Clifford Chi

Published: August 17, 2023

Free Business Plan Template

business strategy examples for a business plan

The essential document for starting a business -- custom built for your needs.

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Reading sample business plans is essential when you’re writing your own. As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, you’ll learn how to write one that gets your business off on the right foot, convinces investors to provide funding, and confirms your venture is sustainable for the long term.

sample business plans and examples

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But what does a business plan look like? And how do you write one that is viable and convincing? Let's review the ideal business plan formally, then take a look at business plan templates and samples you can use to inspire your own.

Business Plan Format

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. The same logic applies to business. If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. Referencing one will keep you on the path toward success. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, you might be wondering, "Where do I start? How should I format this?"

Typically, a business plan is a document that will detail how a company will achieve its goals.

business strategy examples for a business plan

  • Outline your idea.
  • Pitch to investors.
  • Secure funding.
  • Get to work!

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Fill out the form to get your free template.

Most business plans include the following sections:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is arguably the most important section of the entire business plan. Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan. This is important, because a business plan can be dozens or hundreds of pages long.

Most executive summaries include:

  • Mission statement
  • Company history and leadership
  • Competitive advantage overview
  • Financial projections
  • Company goals

Keep in mind you'll cover many of these topics in more detail later on in the business plan. So, keep the executive summary clear and brief, including only the most important takeaways.

Executive Summary Business Plan Examples

This example was created with HubSpot’s business plan template:

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example

And the executive summary below tells potential investors a short story that covers all the most important details this business plan will cover in a succinct and interesting way.

Business plans examples: Executive Summary

Image Source

Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary

  • Clearly define a problem, and explain how your product solves that problem, and show why the market needs your business.
  • Be sure to highlight your value proposition, market opportunity, and growth potential.
  • Keep it concise and support ideas with data.
  • Customize your summary to your audience. For example, emphasize finances and return on investment for venture capitalists.

Check out our tips for writing an effective executive summary for more guidance.

2. Market Opportunity

This is where you'll detail the opportunity in the market. Where is the gap in the current industry, and how will your product fill that gap?

In this section, you might include:

  • The size of the market
  • Current or potential market share
  • Trends in the industry and consumer behavior
  • Where the gap is
  • What caused the gap
  • How you intend to fill it

To get a thorough understanding of the market opportunity, you'll want to conduct a TAM, SAM, and SOM analysis and perform market research on your industry. You may also benefit from creating a SWOT analysis to get some of the insights for this section.

Market Opportunity Business Plan Example

This example uses critical data to underline the size of the potential market and what part of that market this service hopes to capture.

Business plans examples: Market Opportunity

Tips for Writing Your Market Opportunity Section

  • Focus on demand and potential for growth.
  • Use market research, surveys, and industry trend data to support your market forecast and projections.
  • Add a review of regulation shifts, tech advances, and consumer behavior changes.
  • Refer to reliable sources.
  • Showcase how your business can make the most of this opportunity.

3. Competitive Landscape

Speaking of market share, you'll need to create a section that shares details on who the top competitors are. After all, your customers likely have more than one brand to choose from, and you'll want to understand exactly why they might choose one over another. Performing a competitive analysis can help you uncover:

  • Industry trends that other brands may not be utilizing
  • Strengths in your competition that may be obstacles to handle
  • Weaknesses in your competition that may help you develop selling points
  • The unique proposition you bring to the market that may resonate with customers

Competitive Landscape Business Plan Example

The competitive landscape section of the business plan below shows a clear outline of who the top competitors are. It also highlights specific industry knowledge and the importance of location, which shows useful experience in this specific industry. This can help build trust in your ability to execute your business plan.

Business plans examples: Competitive Landscape

Tips for Writing Your Competitive Landscape

  • Complete in-depth research, then emphasize your most important findings.
  • Compare your unique selling proposition (USP) to your direct and indirect competitors.
  • Show a clear and realistic plan for product and brand differentiation.
  • Look for specific advantages and barriers in the competitive landscape. Then, highlight how that information could impact your business.
  • Outline growth opportunities from a competitive perspective.
  • Add customer feedback and insights to support your competitive analysis.

4. Target Audience

This section will describe who your customer segments are in detail. What is the demographic and psychographic information of your audience?

If your immediate answer is "everyone," you'll need to dig deeper. Ask yourself:

  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

It can be helpful to build a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be clear on why you're targeting them.

Target Audience Business Plan Example

The example below uses in-depth research to draw conclusions about audience priorities. It also analyzes how to create the right content for this audience.

Business plans examples: Target Audience

Tips for Writing Your Target Audience Section

  • Include details on the size and growth potential of your target audience.
  • Figure out and refine the pain points for your target audience , then show why your product is a useful solution.
  • Describe your targeted customer acquisition strategy in detail.
  • Share anticipated challenges your business may face in acquiring customers and how you plan to address them.
  • Add case studies, testimonials, and other data to support your target audience ideas.
  • Remember to consider niche audiences and segments of your target audience in your business plan.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. You might consider including information on:

  • The brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

It can help to already have a marketing plan built out to help you with this part of your business plan.

Marketing Strategy Business Plan Example

This business plan example includes the marketing strategy for the town of Gawler. It offers a comprehensive picture of how it plans to use digital marketing to promote the community.

Business plans examples: Marketing Strategy

Tips for Writing Your Marketing Strategy

  • Include a section about how you believe your brand vision will appeal to customers.
  • Add the budget and resources you'll need to put your plan in place.
  • Outline strategies for specific marketing segments.
  • Connect strategies to earlier sections like target audience and competitive analysis.
  • Review how your marketing strategy will scale with the growth of your business.
  • Cover a range of channels and tactics to highlight your ability to adapt your plan in the face of change.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services. Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use . It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

Key Features and Benefits Business Plan Example

The example below outlines products and services for this business, along with why these qualities will attract the audience.

Business plans examples: Key Features and Benefits

Tips for Writing Your Key Features and Benefits

  • Emphasize why and how your product or service offers value to customers.
  • Use metrics and testimonials to support the ideas in this section.
  • Talk about how your products and services have the potential to scale.
  • Think about including a product roadmap.
  • Focus on customer needs, and how the features and benefits you are sharing meet those needs.
  • Offer proof of concept for your ideas, like case studies or pilot program feedback.
  • Proofread this section carefully, and remove any jargon or complex language.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. For this reason, you might outline:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

Pricing and Revenue Business Plan Example

This business plan example begins with an overview of the business revenue model, then shows proposed pricing for key products.

Business plans examples: Pricing and Revenue

Tips for Writing Your Pricing and Revenue Section

  • Get specific about your pricing strategy. Specifically, how you connect that strategy to customer needs and product value.
  • If you are asking a premium price, share unique features or innovations that justify that price point.
  • Show how you plan to communicate pricing to customers.
  • Create an overview of every revenue stream for your business and how each stream adds to your business model as a whole.
  • Share plans to develop new revenue streams in the future.
  • Show how and whether pricing will vary by customer segment and how pricing aligns with marketing strategies.
  • Restate your value proposition and explain how it aligns with your revenue model.

8. Financials

This section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to figure out funding strategies, investment opportunities, and more. According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to give insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details you'll want to include.

Financials Business Plan Example

This balance sheet example shows the level of detail you will need to include in the financials section of your business plan:

Business plans examples: Financials

Tips for Writing Your Financials Section

  • Growth potential is important in this section too. Using your data, create a forecast of financial performance in the next three to five years.
  • Include any data that supports your projections to assure investors of the credibility of your proposal.
  • Add a break-even analysis to show that your business plan is financially practical. This information can also help you pivot quickly as your business grows.
  • Consider adding a section that reviews potential risks and how sensitive your plan is to changes in the market.
  • Triple-check all financial information in your plan for accuracy.
  • Show how any proposed funding needs align with your plans for growth.

As you create your business plan, keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others could be charts or graphs.

Business Plan Types

The formats above apply to most types of business plans. That said, the format and structure of your plan will vary by your goals for that plan. So, we’ve added a quick review of different business plan types. For a more detailed overview, check out this post .

1. Startups

Startup business plans are for proposing new business ideas.

If you’re planning to start a small business, preparing a business plan is crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business. You can check out this guide for more detailed business plan inspiration .

2. Feasibility Studies

Feasibility business plans focus on that business's product or service. Feasibility plans are sometimes added to startup business plans. They can also be a new business plan for an already thriving organization.

3. Internal Use

You can use internal business plans to share goals, strategies, or performance updates with stakeholders. Internal business plans are useful for alignment and building support for ambitious goals.

4. Strategic Initiatives

Another business plan that's often for sharing internally is a strategic business plan. This plan covers long-term business objectives that might not have been included in the startup business plan.

5. Business Acquisition or Repositioning

When a business is moving forward with an acquisition or repositioning, it may need extra structure and support. These types of business plans expand on a company's acquisition or repositioning strategy.

Growth sometimes just happens as a business continues operations. But more often, a business needs to create a structure with specific targets to meet set goals for expansion. This business plan type can help a business focus on short-term growth goals and align resources with those goals.

Sample Business Plan Templates

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline give this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow. Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why We Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

We also created a business plan template for entrepreneurs.

The template is designed as a guide and checklist for starting your own business. You’ll learn what to include in each section of your business plan and how to do it. There’s also a list for you to check off when you finish each section of your business plan.

Strong game plans help coaches win games and help businesses rocket to the top of their industries. So if you dedicate the time and effort required to write a workable and convincing business plan, you’ll boost your chances of success and even dominance in your market.

This business plan kit is essential for the budding entrepreneur who needs a more extensive document to share with investors and other stakeholders. It not only includes sections for your executive summary, product line, market analysis, marketing plan, and sales plan, but it also offers hands-on guidance for filling out those sections.

3. LiveFlow’s Financial Planning Template with built-in automation

Sample Business Plan: LiveFLow

This free template from LiveFlow aims to make it easy for businesses to create a financial plan and track their progress on a monthly basis. The P&L Budget versus Actual format allows users to track their revenue, cost of sales, operating expenses, operating profit margin, net profit, and more.

The summary dashboard aggregates all of the data put into the financial plan sheet and will automatically update when changes are made. Instead of wasting hours manually importing your data to your spreadsheet, LiveFlow can also help you to automatically connect your accounting and banking data directly to your spreadsheet, so your numbers are always up-to-date.

With the dashboard, you can view your runway, cash balance, burn rate, gross margins, and other metrics. Having a simple way to track everything in one place will make it easier to complete the financials section of your business plan.

This is a fantastic template to track performance and alignment internally and to create a dependable process for documenting financial information across the business. It’s highly versatile and beginner-friendly. It’s especially useful if you don’t have an accountant on the team. (We always recommend you do, but for new businesses, having one might not be possible.)

4. ThoughtCo’s Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: ThoughtCo.

One of the more financially oriented sample business plans in this list, BPlan’s free business plan template dedicates many of its pages to your business’s financial plan and financial statements.

After filling this business plan out, your company will truly understand its financial health and the steps you need to take to maintain or improve it.

We absolutely love this business plan template because of its ease-of-use and hands-on instructions (in addition to its finance-centric components). If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing an entire business plan, consider using this template to help you with the process.

6. Harvard Business Review’s "How to Write a Winning Business Plan"

Most sample business plans teach you what to include in your business plan, but this Harvard Business Review article will take your business plan to the next level — it teaches you the why and how behind writing a business plan.

With the guidance of Stanley Rich and Richard Gumpert, co-authors of " Business Plans That Win: Lessons From the MIT Enterprise Forum ", you'll learn how to write a convincing business plan that emphasizes the market demand for your product or service. You’ll also learn the financial benefits investors can reap from putting money into your venture rather than trying to sell them on how great your product or service is.

This business plan guide focuses less on the individual parts of a business plan, and more on the overarching goal of writing one. For that reason, it’s one of our favorites to supplement any template you choose to use. Harvard Business Review’s guide is instrumental for both new and seasoned business owners.

7. HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Starting a Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know writing a business plan is one of the most challenging first steps to starting a business. Fortunately, with HubSpot's comprehensive guide to starting a business, you'll learn how to map out all the details by understanding what to include in your business plan and why it’s important to include them. The guide also fleshes out an entire sample business plan for you.

If you need further guidance on starting a business, HubSpot's guide can teach you how to make your business legal, choose and register your business name, and fund your business. It will also give small business tax information and includes marketing, sales, and service tips.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of starting a business, in addition to writing your business plan, with a high level of exactitude and detail. So if you’re in the midst of starting your business, this is an excellent guide for you. It also offers other resources you might need, such as market analysis templates.

8. Panda Doc’s Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Panda Doc

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed-out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each section, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

Once you fill it out, you’ll fully understand your business’ nitty-gritty details and how all of its moving parts should work together to contribute to its success.

This template has two things we love: comprehensiveness and in-depth instructions. Plus, it’s synced with PandaDoc’s e-signature software so that you and other stakeholders can sign it with ease. For that reason, we especially love it for those starting a business with a partner or with a board of directors.

9. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several free business plan templates that can be used to inspire your own plan. Before you get started, you can decide what type of business plan you need — a traditional or lean start-up plan.

Then, you can review the format for both of those plans and view examples of what they might look like.

We love both of the SBA’s templates because of their versatility. You can choose between two options and use the existing content in the templates to flesh out your own plan. Plus, if needed, you can get a free business counselor to help you along the way.

Top Business Plan Examples

Here are some completed business plan samples to get an idea of how to customize a plan for your business. We’ve chosen different types of business plan ideas to expand your imagination. Some are extensive, while others are fairly simple.

Take a look.

1. LiveFlow

business plan example: liveflow

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue. We included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

When it came to including marketing strategy in its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives. This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact.

"Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration," explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

Sometimes all you need is a solid mission statement and core values to guide you on how to go about everything. You do this by creating a business plan revolving around how to fulfill your statement best. For example, Patagonia is an eco-friendly company, so their plan discusses how to make the best environmentally friendly products without causing harm.

A good mission statement should not only resonate with consumers but should also serve as a core value compass for employees as well.

Outdoor clothing retailer, Patagonia, has one of the most compelling mission statements we’ve seen:

"Together, let’s prioritise purpose over profit and protect this wondrous planet, our only home."

It reels you in from the start, and the environmentally friendly theme continues throughout the rest of the statement.

This mission goes on to explain that they are out to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to protect nature."

Their mission statement is compelling and detailed, with each section outlining how they will accomplish their goal.

4. Vesta Home Automation

business plan example: Vesta executive summary

This is the kind of business plan you need when applying for business funds. It clearly illustrates the expected future of the company and how the business has been coming along over the years.

This executive summary for a smart home device startup is part of a business plan created by students at Mount Royal University . While it lacks some of the sleek visuals of the templates above, its executive summary does a great job of demonstrating how invested they are in the business.

Right away, they mention they’ve invested $200,000 into the company already, which shows investors they have skin in the game and aren’t just looking for someone else to foot the bill.

5. NALB Creative Center

business plan examples: nalb creative center

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more. Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission. The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s also essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your "Why?" In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

Culina's sample business plan is an excellent example of how to lay out your business plan so that it flows naturally, engages readers, and provides the critical information investors and stakeholders need. You can also use this template as a guide while you're gathering important details. After looking at this sample, you'll have a better understanding of the data and research you need to do for your own business plan.

8. Plum Sample Business Plan

Sample business plan: Plum

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Ecommerce · Strategy · Consulting

What is Strategy? Definition, Components & Examples Explained

Author Picture of Martin Heubel

by Martin Heubel

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Business Strategy Article Cover

The success of any business is determined by the effectiveness of the strategy it follows. A strategy explains how a company plans to compete in a market and how it intends to grow at a profit.

Businesses worldwide sell goods and services in competitive markets that require them to increase the value for owners and shareholders to secure their future existence.

This calls for a plan that helps managers guide their decisions and use resources effectively to achieve key objectives. This plan is also known as a business strategy.

This article will cover:

  • What a business strategy is
  • The difference between strategy and tactics
  • Corporate level strategies
  • Business level strategies
  • Functional level strategies
  • Why having a business strategy is important

Step 1: Define your vision

Step 2: set your top-level objectives, step 3: analyse your business and the market, step 4: define how to gain competitive advantage, step 5: build a strategy framework, types of business strategies, how to measure strategy success.

  • Business strategy examples

What is a business strategy?

The definition is as straight forward as it can be confusing when reading it first:

A business strategy outlines the plan of action to achieve the vision and set objectives of an organization and guides the decision-making processes to improve the company’s financial stability in a competing market.

In an attempt to reduce complexity, many online sources refer to a simpler definition of strategy as:

A high-level plan that helps a business achieve its goals.

While this is still accurate, it does not give a good understanding of how these goals are actually achieved.

To allow for a better and more granular understanding, I will refer to the former definition in the following chapters.

How is strategy different from tactics?

Before we get into the details of building a strategy, it is vital to understand how a strategy differs from a tactic.

While both terms are often interchangeably conf used, they are two entirely different things:

A strategy refers to an organization’s long-term goals and how it plans to reach them. In other words, it shows the path to achieve the defined vision.

A tactic refers to the specific actions taken to reach the set goals in line with the strategy.

For example, company A’s strategy might be to become the cheapest provider in the smartphone market. Their managers then need to negotiate with suppliers to reduce the costs of the electronic components used in production. This is a tactic to achieve the set strategy.

Or, as the English comedian and writer Frank Muir put it:

Strategy is buying a bottle of fine wine when you take someone out for dinner. Tactics is getting them to drink it. Frank Muir

Levels of business strategies

There are three levels at which strategies are typically used: The corporate , business and functional level.

Pyramid of business strategy levels

All three levels form the strategic framework of an organization:

1. Corporate Level: Corporate level strategies are the strategic plans of an organisation’s top management. They form the mission and vision statement and have a fundamental impact on the firm’s long-term performance. They guide decisions around growth, acquisitions, diversification and investments.

2. Business Level: Business level strategies integrate into the corporate vision, but with a focus on a specific business. At this level, the vision and objectives are turned into concrete strategies that inform how a business is going to compete in the market.

3. Functional Level: Functional level strategies are designed to answer how functional departments like Marketing, HR or R&D can support the defined business and corporate strategies of an organization.

It’s not uncommon for a firm to have multiple strategies at each level. In fact, this is essential to ensure that the different needs of each layer are accurately reflected.

Although multiple strategies carry the risk of conflicting priorities and objectives, these risks can be reduced if managed correctly. We will come back to this point in a second.

Why is having a business strategy important?

The existence of a strategy is a critical success factor for any business.

Essentially, it reflects the strengths and weaknesses of the company and answers how the company plans to respond to the threats and opportunities in the market in which it operates.

A strategy takes into account the resources at hand and how to best deploy them to achieve its set objectives.

That’s why a strategy is often called the lighthouse for a company’s management: It aligns the efforts of all functional departments and gives its employees a Northstar that guides their daily decision making.

To make this point even clearer, let’s say a business would not have a strategy on how it will compete in a market:

The absence of such a blueprint would lead to disordered actions in each department, limiting the organisation’s effectiveness as a whole. This incoherence always results in a loss of competitive power that will be exploited in the market.

The effectiveness of business functions is greater when a strategy is focusing the efforts of the different departments towards one goal.

How do you formulate a business strategy?

The above definition already gives some practical advice on how to build an effective strategy:

A strategy needs to outline the vision of a business, define its targets and how it is going to grow and compete long-term.

The strategy building process can be broken down into five steps:

Steps of formulating a business strategy

  • Define your vision
  • Set your top-level objectives
  • Analyse your business and the market
  • Define how to gain competitive advantage
  • Build a strategy framework

Most online sources suggest that strategy formulation should begin by defining the objectives of an organization. But this reaches too far too fast, as it presumes that the offering, the market and the target customers have already been defined.

For a strategy to be successful, it must first consider the company’s core values and its desired future position in the market. This is also known as the company’s vision .

Examples of vision statements from some of the largest companies include:

“Apple strives to bring the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals, and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software, and internet offerings.” Apple
“To be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Amazon

Based on a firm’s vision, the offer , its customers and the market can be defined.

This is an important step in the strategy building process because it ensures that the designed strategy reflects the actual needs of the relevant market.

Offer & Value Proposition

An effective business strategy builds directly on the company’s offering and value proposition.

The former lays out what goods and services are offered, while the value proposition explains why people should buy them in the first place.

Note that the value proposition answers why a firm exists and how it is different from its rivals. In other words, it explains how a firm plans to create demand and compete in the market.

To illustrate this with an example, take a look at Shopify . Their value proposition is to offer a single ecommerce platform that lets its customers sell across multiple channels.

Shopify's value proposition is to offer one platform that lets their customers sell across multiple channels.

Another vital step in building an effective business strategy is to define the type of customer a company serves.

Customers are either categorized as consumers (B2C) or businesses (B2B).

Both groups have different criteria, reasons and motivations for purchasing goods and services. Knowing them allows a firm to accurately address their specific needs and wants in its strategy.

Target Market

Finally, strategy builders need to be clear about the market their offering and value proposition are targeting.

  • If a firm sells to consumers (B2C) , a market can be defined by demographic and socio-economic factors, such as gender, age, occupation, education, income, wealth and where someone lives.
  • If, however, the offering targets other businesses (B2B) , markets are typically defined by using factors such as the industry, business or sales model of the targeted customer groups.

I recommend reading this article from Annmarie Hanlon if you want to learn more about the specifics of segmenting a market.

After defining the vision, the next step in formulating a business strategy is to set an organisation’s top-level objectives .

These objectives are usually focused on increasing a firm’s sales and profits, as they ensure its existence and improve the shareholder value if publicly traded.

That’s why a strategy essentially aims to answer the question of how a business can compete in the market to grow its revenue, while also improving its financial position.

Note that the formulation of high-level objectives does not include any goals to achieve a company’s mission or to reflect its core values.

This is because the sole purpose of a generic business strategy is to increase the company’s economic value for its owners or shareholders.

The core values and mission are later taken into account when designing the lower-level strategies, such as the marketing or operational strategy.

Once the vision and objectives are defined, strategy builders need to become aware of their business’s strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and challenges in the marketplace.

This can be done using a SWOT analysis ( S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities, T hreats):

SWOT Matrix Overview

The information obtained in the course of a SWOT analysis serves as a basis for the strategy formulation that considers the company’s internal characteristics and the external situation of the market segment.

These insights allow decision-makers to ensure that a firm’s strengths exploit the opportunities in the market, while also addressing potential weaknesses and threats that can limit the organization’s long-term success.

SWOT Strategy Framework

The fourth step in the strategy formulation answers the question of how the set objectives are achieved.

Firms that sell in competitive industries need to define how they want to compete in the market, create demand and increase their sales and margins.

Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter identified three types of generic strategies that businesses can choose from when defining their competitive advantage:

  • Cost Leadership,
  • Differentiation, or

However, firms can also fail to pursue one of these generic strategies effectively. Porter refers to this as being “stuck in the middle” .

In this case, a company does not offer a product or service unique enough to entice customers to buy. At the same time, the price of the offering is too high to compete effectively in the market.

Failure to gain a competitive advantage will result in a poor sales performance, which threatens the future company’s existence.

Porter's Generic Competitive Strategies Framework

Let’s take a closer look at the different ways a company can gain a competitive advantage:

Cost Leadership

Cost leadership refers to a company’s ability to produce a product at the lowest cost in its industry.

This cost advantage can be achieved by using economies of scale, proprietary technologies or the ability to create and maintain cost benefits along the supply chain.

The cost leadership strategy requires a firm to effectively lower its cost structures while charging prices for its products that are in line with the industry average.

Example: Low fare airline Ryanair is a typical example of a firm that applies a cost leadership strategy. They successfully compete in the airline industry by driving down costs and utilize economies of scale. For that reason, Ryanair only operates one type of aircraft (Boeing 737-200) in its entire fleet.


In a differentiation strategy, a firm seeks to create a unique offer that is valued by its target customers. Buyers must perceive the offer as far more valuable compared to other alternatives in the industry. In return, a company is able to demand higher prices for its products.

Example: Starbucks is a great example of a firm that has successfully implemented a differentiation strategy. While it sells coffee as a widely available commodity, its well-designed stores, and the unrivalled number of flavour variations are the reason why customers are willing to pay a premium.

The generic strategy of focus aims at only a small number of target market segments. Porter’s matrix defines the competitive scope in these cases as narrow, as a firm only aims at a small portion of the wider market segment.

In that case, a company can either have a cost focus or a differentiation focus :

When a firm seeks to gain a cost advantage, it follows a cost-focused strategy. The firm’s offer is a low-cost alternative to the leading product in the market that still appeals to a specific group of buyers.

On the other hand, the differentiation focus seeks to cater to a specific need in a customer segment. This differentiation focus is the classic niche marketing strategy many small and local businesses follow to compete against the larger chains in their market.

Example: Small online shops that specialize in offering vegan and vegetarian products are a good example of firms that follow a generic focus strategy. Their narrow target scope allows them to become the preferred choice of environmental and health-conscious customer segments.

Based on the execution of the previous steps, a generic business strategy can be formulated.

However, functions such as marketing or finance will not contribute effectively to this generic strategy unless it is translated into more specific lower-level strategies.

A typical business strategy framework

The formation of these lower-level strategies that sit underneath a generic business strategy is called a strategy framework .

It ensures the success of the generic business plan, as it captures the vision and needs of the single departments and aligns them with the higher-level objectives.

Product, branding, marketing or operational strategies are only a few examples that contribute to the success of a firm’s overall generic business strategy.

business strategy examples for a business plan

Business strategies are successful when they are directly responsible for growth and improved competitive or financial performance.

The success of a strategic plan can be evaluated by monitoring a range of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

However, it is important that …

  • … these KPIs measure the level of achievement of the objectives defined in step two of the strategy formulation process.
  • … the KPIs are defined before the strategy implementation takes place to ensure accurate measurement.

Normally, some or all of the following KPIs are measured when implementing a new business strategy:

  • Sales revenue
  • Number of customers
  • Repeat customer sales
  • Customer retention rate
  • Conversion Rate
  • Average Order Value (AOV)
  • Business Volume

Competitive Position

  • Market share
  • Market position
  • Sales win rate
  • Brand awareness & press mentions
  • Margin position vs. industry average
  • Sales growth vs. industry average

Financial Performance

  • Gross Profit
  • Operating Profit
  • Return on Assets
  • Free Cash Flow
  • Operating Cash Flow

In practice, companies may measure strategy success in a more granular way. This is because individual departments define their own lower-level strategies.

A more realistic KPI overview is shown in the following chart:

A practical overview of key performance indicators to measure strategy success in different departments.

Business Strategy Examples

To illustrate the earlier discussed principles, I have compiled two examples of companies that have successfully implemented their generic business strategy: Amazon and Reckitt Benckiser .

Example 1: Amazon

Amazon is known for its great customer service and fast shipping options.

And while its vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company , Amazon makes this a reality by continually innovating in existing and new markets. The result? Further growth and greater shareholder value.

In his first shareholder letter from 1997 , Jeff Bezos himself outlined the four principles that guide the company: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention , commitment to operational excellence and long-term thinking .

Amazon’s generic business strategy is to gain a competitive advantage by driving down costs (cost leadership), paired with its ability to innovate in competitive markets.

The focus is always the same: serving the needs of end-customers.

This allows Amazon to overtake its competition that often struggles to catch up with the tech giant within several years ( ST-Strategy ).

Its lower-level strategies (operational, marketing, etc.) all follow the generic strategy of focusing on choice, price and economies of scale to create value for customers.

This strategic framework has allowed Amazon to become one of the most successful tech companies in the 21st century.

Example 2: Reckitt Benckiser

Although the company’s name is not known by many consumers, Reckitt’s brand portfolio consists of major household brands, such as Finish, Dettol, Nurofen, Vanish, or Durex.

Faced with slowing sales and increased competition back in 2012, the company had to change its business strategy to return to a path of solid growth.

Under the new strategy, RB:

  • Focused on R&D for new product lines that allowed it to achieve its high-level objectives to increase sales and margins;
  • Increased its budgets in markets that grew above-average to stimulate further growth;
  • Overhauled its brand and marketing strategies and increased budgets in those areas;
  • Set and closely monitored multiple key performance indicators with the aim to increase its net revenue growth by +200bps vs. market average each year until 2017.

While Reckitt could not achieve all of its set targets, the modifications of its business strategy helped the company to grow its sales and profits above the market average.

As a result, RB grew £33bn in value for its shareholders between 2012 and 2017.

Still have questions about business strategy?

If you need help to come up with a strategy for your ecommerce business, then get in touch . I offer tailored advice that will help you get clarity about your vision, objectives and how to build a more effective business.

Enjoyed this article? Here are more things you might like:

Porter’s Five Forces Analysis – A complete guide to Michael E. Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis to help you assess your competitive landscape.

The Importance of the Product Life Cycle – A complete break down of the individual stages of the product life cycle to plan your next marketing moves.

Ecommerce Glossary – Stop the guessing. My glossary explains every ecommerce term in under 30 seconds.


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