What business are you really in? If you are in the education sector, what business are you really in? If you are an NGO, what business are you really in? When it comes to strategy formulation, the focus is not on input. It is on your business output.
For example, if you have a college that provides secondary school training, your inputs are;
- Quality teaching facilities like classroom, teaching aid, playing areas, sports complexes, curriculum etc.;
- Quality human resource in terms of teachers and administration staff;
- Other amenities like great location and buildings, classrooms, dormitory among others;
Unfortunately, your focus on input may lead to over investment and wastage, as such inputs may not be what your key customers and stakeholders value most. That is why, as a leader your focus is to ask; who are my top stakeholders? And what does success mean to them?
For your business or organization to succeed, you must have clarity of your stakeholders – all people and entities who have influence and interest in your business or organization. Once you identify all the key ones, the next thing is to ask, who of my major stakeholders bring in the most revenue i.e. who drive your business model.
Of course, these should be your customers or buyers and end users or consumers. For a school, your customers especially for lower levels like nursery or primary are the parents. The end users or consumers are the children. At that level, they do not take any decision concerning where to go to school. Your focus is selling to their parents especially mothers. So, what kind of school do your target markets (mothers) want? What does a good school mean to them?
Remember, any business is about two things:
A. Putting money on the table.
B. Keeping money on the table and ensuring that it is well used to ensure more is put on the table for any shilling spent.
Business is like a football team. You have the club manager, whose role is like that of a CEO or Managing Director or Head teacher.
The Head coach or club manager must understand what the key stakeholders want; i.e. to win every match. These folks buy a ticket to be entertained, in football, as a supporter you enjoy when your team wins. This is even better when the win is a hard fought one.
In business, the CEO wins when the top line or revenue is higher than the costs of doing business. It doesn’t matter how many goals you score, if you concede more goals, you lose the match. So as you score, do not concede.
In a business, it is all about money. You need a strategy that is about scoring. Your strategy must be about making a lot of money. What is your business model?
Great businesses focus on understanding the output not the business input. What kind of products and services do your target customers adore? What is the best way of providing it in the most convenient way? Who is your customer and where will you find your customers?
Properly define who your customers are, and seek to understand what they need or adore better than the competition. That way, your business will focus on the output rather than the input.
I have met business executives and leaders spending a lot of money in making products and offering services which they think customers need as opposed to what their customers actually need.
A strategy that works is not about the input or what the business owner/ leader want to provide. It is about the output, what the client wants or adores having.
Once you are able to do that, document it clearly, and ensure that all your staff understand it properly especially their role in providing that output. That way, you will have a strategy that works.