Strategy is a very important weapon for any business environment. Small business use this weapon to achieve victory in all types of battle environments (markets) in which they operate and compete and gives it a competitive advantage over its rivals as it looks forward at the long-term goals and targets of the business.
Business Strategy is the overall direction and scope of an organization over the long-term which in return achieves advantage for the organization through its proper configuration of resources within a challenging environment, to meet the needs of markets and to fulfill stakeholder's expectations.
Direction is where the business is trying to get in the long-term and scope is the market the business should compete in. Resources are the skills, assets, finance, relationships, technical competence, facilities etc which are required in order to be able to compete in any business environments and so does the proper configuration of these resources are also important and critical. The environmental factors that affects the businesses' ability to compete in any market. These environmental factors can be external factors for e.g. Local government law and regulations which can create or give rise to situations that can adversely affect the performance of the business or can make it difficult for a business to operate in such an environment. Stakeholders are the people whose values and expectations we need to understand because they have power in and around the business.
We always refer business strategy as a "process" of planning because it is never once for all events. There is always a need to continually review the organization's strategic objectives because the environment is always changing. The main purpose of "strategy" is to make business fit into all environments, because by continuous review of business strategy the probability that a business will survive and prosper in the long term are enhanced.
Small businesses can use "Business Strategy" to meet future goals and objectives and to make critical business decisions. The purpose of strategy is to gather information because none of us would be wise to make an important decision about anything in life without adequate and relevant information.
To construct any strategy for any type of business we need to understand strategies and strategic decisions that exist at several levels within an organization that ranging from the overall business (or group of businesses) through individuals working on it.
Corporate Strategy: It is concerned with the overall purpose and scope of the business to meet stakeholder expectations. This is a very crucial level since it is heavily influenced by investors in the business and acts as a key area to guide strategic decision-making throughout the business. Corporate strategy is often stated explicitly in a "mission statement" of a business. This is level referred as "strategic level"
Business Unit Strategy (Tactical level): It is more directed towards with how a business competes successfully in a particular market. It relates to strategic decisions about choice of products, meeting needs of customers, gaining advantage over competitors, exploiting or creating new opportunities etc.
Operational Strategy (Operational level): It is related to how each part of the business is organized to deliver the corporate and business-unit level strategic direction. Operational strategy is therefore more focused on issues of resources, processes, people etc.
How strategy can be constructed and carried out effectively?
How a strategy is constructed and carried out effectively depends upon how the strategy is managed. Strategic management is all about taking strategic decisions of an organization. This can be done when there is key staff i.e. managers that are ready to take initiative in such strategy making processes. New ideas and practices should also be considered for strategy making processes. Strategies can only be carried out effectively if the strategic plans are flexible guiding the overall direction of the organization but adapted when changing circumstances dictate. In practice a thorough strategic management process has three main components on which the effective outcome of a strategy depends:
Strategic Analysis: The main purpose of strategic analysis is to gather information. Information that small business can use to make strategic level decisions because it may not be wise to make critical business decisions without relevant and adequate information. The information is used to analyze the strength of business's position and understanding the important external factors and events that may influence that position.
Strategic Choice: Once small businesses have established the strategic analysis and the internal and external influences (i.e. strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) the challenge is now to identify strategic options and then selecting and evaluating the appropriate strategy that will address the weaknesses and threats to an organization at the same time and which will then help to build upon its strengths and exploit the new opportunities. It also involves understanding and making a careful consideration of the nature of stakeholder's expectations
Strategic Implementation: For a small business this is often the hardest part. When the strategy has been carefully analyzed and selected, the main task is to translate it into organizational action at all levels.
Value of using key analytical tools to help in the strategy-making process & application of such tools in small business context
The process of Strategic Analysis can be assisted by a number of tools, the value of using these tools strategy making process is that these tools usually considers the factors, events, influences that can potentially affect the performance and operations of the business and helps in developing a much more diversified and flexible strategy plan which covers all organizational and business objectives, and also giving managers options to incrementally change and adapt strategy on the basis of the learning they had by the use of these Analytical tools, these tools include:
SWOT Analysis Is one of the most useful strategic analysis techniques for summarizing the key issues arising from an assessment of a business's "internal" position and "external" environmental influences. There are two main stages in SWOT analysis. The first stage is "internal analysis" stage which involves an examination of an organization's internal environment, which takes form through a thorough examination and analysis of the internal processes and structure of a business. The main purpose of this analysis is to establish the main strengths and weakness i.e. determining what the organization is good at and not so good at. The second stage is the "external analysis" stage which involves the examination of the external environment of the business or organization, it involves a thorough study of the local government law and regulations, new markets, competitors and other external factors that may affect the performance of the business. From the information gathered in external analysis we establish which external influences represents opportunities for e.g. a potential market is out there to purchase scrap material, and which influences might develop into potential threats for the business. is one of the most useful strategic analysis techniques for summarizing the key issues arising from an assessment of a business's "internal" position and "external" environmental influences. This is one of the handiest tools as it helps small businesses to develop a position statement where an organization is at the time of analysis in relation to its external environment. A survey of "key issues" is an additional stage of SWOT analysis and is the most pressing or most important element of SWOT statement which requires urgent action. It also helps the managers of small businesses to determine the degree of control they may have. However with the internal strengths and weaknesses managers can often exert control where as for external opportunities and threats it is less likely that managers will be able to control those factors.
PEST Analysis is a technique for understanding the "environment" in which a business operates and is concerned with the environmental influences on a business. Identifying PEST influences is a useful way of summarizing the external environment in which a small business may operate. However, it must be followed up by consideration of how a small business should respond to these influences. The influences can be economical, social or technical. Care should be taken as these influences are related and should not be considered individually in isolation.
Scenario Planning is a technique that builds various plausible views of possible futures for a business. This can also be related to determine the position where the business wants to be in the long-term. Careful analysis of the business position and the techniques it can adopt to compete in the market can help in developing a much more useful scenario planning.
Five Forces Analysis is a technique for identifying the forces which affect the level of competition in an industry or different areas of particular market. These forces are external and can be related to local governmental policies, local budget, tax rates, health and safety regulations, demand and supply, price elasticity etc. Five forces seem easy but require economists to carefully analyze these factors.
Market Segmentation is a technique which seeks to identify similarities and differences between groups of customers or users in a market or different markets. This information can be gathered through local surveys carried out by local authorities it's easy to get and less time consuming.
Directional Policy Matrix is a technique which summarizes the competitive strength of different types of business operations in specific markets. This type of information can be gathered through comments received from customers or through online discussion forums in which strengths can be easily known about the operations, service or products of a business.
Competitor Analysis is a wide range of techniques and analysis that seeks to summarize a business's overall competitive position in market in which it competes. This may include all areas and should be constantly compared with competitor's position in the market too.
Critical Success Factor Analysis is a technique to identify those areas in which a business must outperform or beat the competition in order to succeed, for e.g. customer service or marketing. It can only be done by determining different areas you can compete with your competitors this may also include determining the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
Using SWOT analysis we can easily make assessment of Making IT Big's internal position and External environmental influences:
Internal position (Strengths and Weaknesses of "Making IT Big"):
Cynthia the founder of "Making IT Big" is a very well managed and organized owner and she was the one who came up with the vision of Making IT Big a company that specializes in large size and over-weighted women clothing. Cynthia's first priority is her business (Making IT Big) as she was single and childless she is ever ready to tackle any situation that will arise and is very well committed to her work. With a leader so much devoted to her work and ever ready for action and facing new challenges, MIB is ready to face all upcoming competition.
Cynthia did her major in Humanistic Psychology from Sonoma State University in San Francisco, where she also joined a consciousness raising group (a women movement) and also took classes of women's studies and that way she gained empowerment in feminist doctrine. Other than that she also worked at a women's bookstore where she was taught with some capitalistic lessons and afterwards she was given the leadership role to run the bookstore. Also she developed her own steady business at a local flea market where she used to buy and sell stuff, and eventually purchasing Cheap Frills. From all this Cynthia had a wide knowledge of women's needs other than that she had a good experience of being an entrepreneur to run a small business and afterwards purchasing a business and changing it from a small used clothes retailer to a high-quality clothing and accessories seller. If combing all these elements Cynthia is an overall entrepreneur package and also a major asset for MIB.
Making IT Big also has a strong customer base and mailing list which was compiled by Cynthia from her successful "parachute pant" tour in which she sold out at every fair she attended and also through continuous travelling each summer and selling MIB clothes. Through all this the company has an incredibly loyal customer base and better customer relations which is a good indicator of a better receivables position.
Making IT Big Manufactures 90 percent of the products it sells and remainder are purchased from local vendors this means that there is less dependency on supplier products and designs and more focus towards own patterns and designs. Cynthia has kept the business make up with trends and to locate new products by regularly attending tradeshows.
Making IT Big does not have any Long Term debts and nearly owns all of its equipment. So this company has less long term liabilities so it can take an advantage by using credit offered by suppliers as it is an interest free finance. With a good relationship with finance providers and pretty conservative nature of handling cash, MIB has a healthy liquidity position. The business also has a credit line of $ 100,000 which is a helpful source of finance during the bad-times when the company heavily depends on it. As Cynthia's area of expertise is cash-flow management, she monitors all the sales from retail stores, catalogues and website, and keeps a good management of company's resources and finances.
Making IT Big is a very labor intensive business and has a very dedicated and devoted management that works really hard at all levels. Joann and Sharon are the two managers that are thriving blood of the business. Sharon is the production manager while Joann looks after the office and administration work of MIB. Both are very multi-skilled and are able to take up work and multiple tasks at a single time.
Cynthia as the CEO of MIB, should be focusing more on strategic planning and future position of the business but it is more likely she is focusing more on sales, cash-flow and money management and monitors the sales activities in retails stores, mail orders and website. This is a big weakness as the corporate level has to be more focused on planning "Business Strategies" and future growth rather than performing operational level work.
The management of "Making IT Big" internally is very strong but only in the areas of production, sales and sales administration not in the area of marketing and promotion and product innovation. "Growth" is the top goal of MIB but that is something that seems unachievable. A general manager or CEO is required who can bring in innovation to the business. There is really a need of a new General Manager or CEO in Making IT Big that can bring new ideas and innovations to the mail order and website sales and can introduce new patterns and styles of marketing and promotions in MIB so that they can capture more market and customers of "Super Sized Clothing".
Cynthia also had a wide customer base including very loyal customers but what MIB management lacked was the skills how to grow that customer base and expand into new markets as "Growth" was MIB's main objective and a future goal but the management even Cynthia lacked the skills how to achieve that goal, although they came so forward without following the main patterns of mail order and catalogue business, but this only worked with the customers she made during her road trips. Expanding into new markets is something that MIB will find unachievable without appropriate experienced management.
MIB's CEO, Cynthia also lacked the skills to bring business to the next level, that is because she only practices the same pattern and skills for business growth which she used when starting her business.
Marketing, promotion, advertising, planning, innovation, strategy, future forecast these were the areas in which MIB's management requires great deals of expertise in. Customer relations and product development is where the business is more focused on they are good at keeping up the orders according to requirements, quality checks are carried out but at the end there is no risk taking style or enthusiasm to learn new things and with that no focus towards what new products they can develop or how to make new innovations to business so that new customers and markets can be captured that can lead to future growth of MIB. MIB's employees might feel de-motivated as there are no new products or innovations from which they can feel challenged or can learn new styles and patterns but the business is working in the same old four categories of clothing.
Joann, MIB's Office manager is highly skilled and has a good understanding of fast pace environment and great expectations for business success. She maintains all operational work of the business alongside the administration part of MIB. She also has good organization and leadership skills, that is good for a fast pace environment but lacks the skills of delegating her work to others and takes up the whole work and its ultimate responsibility and works overtimes as this will create a negative impact on his colleagues and fellow employees as they will feel less trustworthy as no work is being delegated and will lead to bad motivation on the rest of the employees.
MIB's CEO, Cynthia has a pretty conservative nature of handling cash that is she is not committed to drain all its cash reserves but that is one indicator why the business is not growing because Cynthia is not ready to take up risk of investing its reserves and profits into new investments and further projects. It may be due to the limited skills Cynthia has that she is not that confident that she will have a positive outcome from those investments and ventures.
Sharon the production manager of MIB takes care of the entire production department, she has the ability of taking multiple tasks but in the same way has got huge loads of responsibilities that can eventually drive her away from the business but Cynthia thinks that no one else can handle the job. But problem is a bit different here Sharon is a thriving blood and a key asset of "Making IT Big", if she leaves due to the responsibilities she has Cynthia will be facing crisis to manage the production line and eventually will lose control at the end, as Sharon really needs someone to take up some of the work and Cynthia really needs to trust someone.
External Influences (Opportunities and Threats for "Making IT Big"):
Mail order and website sales are the main sources of targeting plus-size and super-size market. In the global market there is a huge problem that small and independent retailers usually face, they sell their products through catalogs and websites to repeated customers, what they haven't figured out is how to sell their products to large number of customers, since fashion and fit are both different ways. Women enjoy shopping but usually overweight women prefer shopping while sitting at home and purchasing plus-size clothing through catalogues (mail orders) and websites. Most of the women in this category look for supersized clothing as there are many few manufacturers.
MIB can also introduce a new general manager having a background in mail order and website sales and also great deal of expertise in marketing and promotion. These experienced managers can also become the thriving blood for the business operations and growth, and much capable of making the company achieve its desired goals and expectations. They are also capable of bringing in new ideas and innovations in the business.
There is a highly competitive global industry consisting of manufacturers and retailers of women apparel. In this industry "Plus-size" and "extended plus-size" market both have been the fastest growing segments of women apparel market. Recent surveys carried out showed that 60 percent American women wear plus-size and 16 percent teenage girls are overweight. Plus-size contributed 20 percent to the overall women apparel sales in America, and over one-third women wearing plus-size purchase their clothing from companies and manufacturers that exclusively specializes in Plus-size clothing. And recent surveys also show that these numbers will increase by time so Making IT Big has a great opportunity to expand their independent retails. As demand for plus-size is considerably increasing in this niche and many huge brands like Macy's and Tommy Hilfiger have also started offering plus-size clothing.
In the global market there is a huge problem that small and independent retailers usually face, they sell their products through catalogs and websites to repeated customers, what they haven't figured out is how to sell their products to large number of customers, since fashion and fit are both different ways. Women enjoy shopping but usually overweight women prefer shopping while sitting at home and purchasing plus-size clothing through catalogues (mail orders) and websites. Most of the women in this category look for supersized clothing as there are many few manufacturers. MIB can take an advantage from this situation easily.
MIB as an independent retailer and manufacturer of "plus-size" and "large size" clothing has a bigger threat of the increased competition in the American market for Plus-size clothing with over 2000 manufacturers of large size clothing.
Many top super brands like Macy's, Tommy Hilfiger, Old Navy and many others have also offered plus-size clothing in the recent years due to increased demand in this niche so breaking all the competition by wiping out many large independent retailers and manufacturers through mergers and ventures, or purchasing entire business or making these manufacturers their suppliers or outsourcing plus-size clothing directly from them. Through this big brands have more choice of products to offer to the plus-size market.
Charming Shoppes, the leader of Plus-size clothing focuses more on the primary elements of competition like quality, price and shop location as well as great customer relations and loyalty service is also a big threat as it can possibly take away the loyal customer base of "Making IT Big" by direct and target marketing. As more personalized services to customers by Charming Shoppes this is a possible threat to the possible future run of Making IT Big sales.
What needs to be Done? Issues in the Internal Position of MIB
After making a thorough assessment of all issues in the internal position including strengths and weaknesses, there is a lot that needs to be done in order to make the management much more efficient. What really needs to be done is at the managerial level and their attitude towards work and business growth.
The main managers are Joann and Sharon. Sharon takes care of the entire production department, she has the ability of taking multiple tasks but in the same way has huge loads of responsibilities that can eventually drive her away but Cynthia thinks that no one else can handle the job. But problem is a bit different here Sharon is a thriving blood and a key asset of "Making IT Big", if she leaves due to the responsibilities she has Cynthia will be facing crisis to manage the production line. What Cynthia can do is that she can provide Sharon with one or more assistants so that she can delegate some of her work to these assistants at times when Sharon feels there are some more important production issues that she can focus on rather than the Production department as a whole. This will save Sharon's time and will level down her stress and she can focus more relevant production matters and new innovations in that can be made in production department.
Delegation is a very important motivational tool, many employees and even managers feel motivated when they are delegated some work. In Sharon's case, assistants handling production process and taking the ultimate responsibility for the final products and their quality, in this way they might feel challenged and will be motivated to work even harder by handling the production process on their own to bring better outcomes in the future. This can also give time to Sharon to focus more on her desire of a "New production line".
Joann is very experienced manager and has great leadership skills but what she lacks is delegation and works too many hours and takes up too much work like Sharon. Joann also needs to delegate some work to his colleagues in office and administration department, so that he can focus on other aspects and areas of the business.
Making IT Big internally is very strong but only in the area of production and sales not in the area of marketing and promotion. Growth is the top goal of MIB but that is something that seems unachievable. There is a need of a new manager or CEO that can bring in innovation to the business. If Cynthia introduces a new general manager having a background in mail order and website sales and also great deal of expertise in marketing and promotion there is a much greater chance that MIB will be capable to capture the desired market for "Super Sized Clothing" and customers. Large level of marketing and promotions and new designs and patterns can make MIB capable of competing in the outside market.
Cynthia, CEO of "Making IT Big" focus more on Cash-flow and money management and monitors the sales activities in retails stores, mail orders and website, but not on strategic planning. As strategy is overall direction and scope of an organization in over the long-term so does strategic planning has its own importance. Strategy is a continuous process of gathering and evaluating information and planning is done according to the information obtained. Businesses use strategy to meet future goals and objectives and to make decisions that are critical for the survival and long run of the business. Cynthia, being a CEO of "Making IT Big" is at a corporate level where strategies and plans are concerned with overall purpose and scope of the business. This level is a strategic level of business strategy and planning and decisions made here are very critical and have their own importance as future growth and survival of a business depends on it. If Cynthia being at such high level performs work of cash management and monitors sales at MIB, which is basically works of finance and administration department and there is no focus towards strategic planning then "Future Growth" of MIB will always be a dream. Appropriate management attention is also required to make future targets so that plans can be made according to those targets and appropriate action can be taken so that these targets are achievable in the time limit provided.
Cynthia, the CEO of "Making IT Big" has a pretty conservative nature of handling cash and expenses that is she is not committed to drain all its cash reserves but that is one indicator why the business is not growing because Cynthia is not ready to take up risk of investing its reserves and profits into new investments and further projects. "Growth" is Cynthia's goal but she is hesitating to invest in. It may be due to the limited skills Cynthia has that she is not that confident that she will have a positive outcome from those investments and ventures, and has a fear that she might loose up all her reserves that she invested.
Issues from External Influences of MIB
From the assessment of issues identified from External Influences including opportunities and threats, there is a lot that "Making IT Big" needs to do in order to compete with the outside market and there is a lot of appropriate action that needs to be taken if MIB wants to remain in the competition but along with these threats there are also many opportunities of which MIB can take great advantage of. "Making IT Big" as an independent retailer and manufacturer of "plus-size" and "large size" clothing has a bigger threat of the increased competition in the American market for Plus-size clothing with over 2000 manufacturers of large size and plus-size clothing. This is a very critical phase for MIB as it has put in all its efforts in order to keep the business struggling, if MIB wants to operate in the plus-size market only otherwise MIB can compete effectively in the super-size market as there are very few manufacturers of super-size clothing out of the 2000 companies. Cynthia has to give more focus on new patterns and designs and some new funky and cool styles for supersized clothing and great deal of customer service once she enters super-size market along with plus-size. Alongside that MIB also has to keep its focus towards high level of advertising and marketing and also targeting appropriate segment of customers for mail order sales.
Secondly there are many independent retailers that sell their products through mail orders and website usually there are sales are to repeated customers and they don't know how sell their products to large customers. MIB can also take great advantage from this by making innovations in the mail order and website sales. Super-size women can be attracted if they are sent some very attractive product catalogues in which they can find good and fancy clothing of high quality at a reasonable price. Catalogue presentation is also important as mostly the products displayed on catalogues are ordered most due to their presentation in an attractive and appealing way. Delivery on time also matters to this segment because these women purchase things from hope and have an expectation of receiving their orders on the estimated time. Late deliveries can also result in a great loss of some potential customers. Customer relation and loyalty services are also a way to attract these customers. "Limited Time Offers" and loyalty discounts is also a way. It all depends how much you make the customer fell "Special".
According to recent surveys carried out there is high probability that demand for plus-size women apparel will increase significantly, almost one third overweight women prefer purchasing clothing from retailers that specialize in super-size and plus-size clothing. MIB also is a specialized manufacturer of large women clothing so can easily take advantage of this high demand too but to take that advantage MIB has to beat the real competition. As the demand for plus-size niche has increased so does many super brands like Macy's and Old Navy has also started offering plus-size clothing. To compete with super-brands, what MIB can do is improve the quality of their products to good standards and make them available at reasonable and competitive price. Otherwise MIB can continue as an independent retailer and manufacturer of plus-size and super-size and offer the same standard quality at affordable prices because not all women shop from super brands some of them look for good quality at much reasonable prices. In this way MIB's competition will be with the other independent retailers. But MIB can still remain ahead of the competition if they get expertise in super-size clothing, this sure will give them a great competitive advantage.
Charming Shoppes, the leader of Plus-size clothing focuses more on the primary elements of competition like quality, price and shop location as well as great customer relations and loyalty service, Making IT Big can also use some of the same elements to also compete with other Independent retailers in the same niche.
Charming Shoppes is also a threat due to the primary elements of competition it focuses on; this is a potential threat and can lead to the loss of current loyal customer base of MIB if Charming Shoppes started providing them with some extra valuable personalized services. To stop this MIB will need to take the same action as Charming Shoppes will take, by providing high level of loyalty customer services to their existing customer base, because this is the only asset from which MIB makes its sales from as there has been no considerable amount of growth in the business as a whole in the past few years. Charming Shoppes, as a leader of plus-size loves competition but if MIB wants to avoid competition they can easily shift their focus on super-size and still keep up by providing good quality service to existing customers.
Crafting and executing a "Business Strategy" for small businesses
Crafting and executing a "Business Strategy" for small businesses (owner-managed) is very different than from those of large organizations and multinationals. Usually small business looks forward for a limited amount to be invested and don't expect that much in return usually they plan for a period of one year, whereas larger organizations plans for future usually for periods that of more than one year. All tools and technique work well with both small and large organizations, only the way differs in which they are used.
Large organizations forecast for considerable amount of periods and years, plans its operations for more than one geographical area, and has big market rivals. These organizations runs on high level of finances and have wide range of products to offer, each product sold in a different type of market, with different customers and different forecasts. Strategy is worked out at all levels within large organizations. Senior managements fulfills the part of strategic planning whereas people at management level (business level) draw out the ways in which strategy is going to be executed and how it will work, and lines out the roles and responsibilities of each department and individuals, at last the departments perform its duties according to the roles and responsibilities lined out in the strategic plan. All levels of organization work towards one specific goal "Growth". Growth is just not related to business growth but is related to growth in market size and share, growth in company's reserves (profits) and shareholder's wealth, growth in company's investments and projects including expanding business area for e.g. opening of new stores or production lines in a different geographic region.
Compared to large organizations small organizations also works towards the same common goal "Growth" but this growth is not business growth this is "Growth in Sales". Small businesses are usually run by an owner-manager; there is hierarchy as there are only few employees that work under that owner-manager unlike large organizations where there are different people and departments that work under each individual manager who is accountable to his senior. They have a very limited scope towards future growth and usually focus more on how to make the business generate cash. There is less accountability as owner makes the strategy and he himself executes it, and at the end there are some duties for the employees working under him.
All the tools and techniques depend mostly on the "aims" and the "scope" that the business has, proper strategy will be based on it. If we take the example of "Making IT Big" it was at start run by two partners Cynthia and Janet with a common aim to make sales of plus-size clothing. The scope of MIB was to make sale of clothing but not to generate profit, whereas large organizations usually work with a common aim to make profit that is increasing shareholder's wealth. Level of staff also matters too because it is important to know that how many people and with what expertise were involved in the strategy making process. Larger organizations have a department that works towards the strategy making process, where in a small business with limited resources of staff and managers there is more likely to be less focus on strategic planning like in Cynthia's case as there were only three more managers other than her, they had a goal of "Growth" in number of customers but how that was a bit problem in MIB's case because each manager was busy in operating its own department without being bothered to participate in the strategy making process. Participation by senior level and managerial level is also a key weapon towards successful strategic plans that leads to future growth of the small business. MIB could never achieve growth because none of their managers had the willingness to participate, that is due to the culture of the business created by people at senior level i.e. Cynthia the CEO of "Making IT Big" who focused more towards cash management and monitoring of sales and resources rather than strategic planning. Business is nothing without a perfect strategy, because there is no sense, what the business is really operating for? What are its aims and objectives? What is the mission of the company? This is more likely a situation where someone has started a debate without any topic and keeps on talking. MIB was not able to achieve to growth because there was no perfect plan or business strategy at the first place, they grew by sales but at a certain point there business was struggling to grow their customer base without any particular planning.
The tools and techniques can easily be used by any business whether small or large, because there is always a growth phase in every business. Tools and techniques like "SWOT analysis" can be use by small business to determine their strengths and weaknesses and identifying the external factors that may affect the performance of the business. We used "SWOT analysis" in "TASK2" to determine the internal and external position of "Making IT Big". Internal analysis stage involves an examination of an organization's internal environment, which takes form through a thorough examination and analysis of the internal processes and structure of a business. The main purpose of this analysis is to establish the main strengths and weakness i.e. determining what the organization is good at and not so good at. The second stage is the external analysis which involves the examination of the external environment of the small business for e.g. how competitors strategies can affect the small business's performance.
Business Strategy can be adopted by any company whether small or large, it is the culture of the organization, the management attitude that senior level management adopts, the attitude of people at managerial level and those responsible to run the critical departments, and most important the aims and scope of the organization on which successful adoption and execution of business strategy widely depends.
Other tools like "PEST Analysis" and "Market Segmentation" can easily be used by any business. Small business use these tools and techniques to achieve victory in all types of business and competitive environments and external markets in which they operate and compete and gives it a competitive advantage over its rivals as it looks forward at the long-term goals and targets of the business, and gives businesses a clear direction what actions it actually needs to take for the particular situations that will arise and the challenges it will face. If MIB's management would have planned and executed "Business Strategy" long time ago its goal of growth would have been a very easy target but lack of participation and sharing new ideas and working in traditional methods kept them away from even making up an strategy. MIB could have used this weapon against all the external threats from competitors very easily as well as internally could have managed a lot in many areas of their business. Cynthia if would have made appropriate plans and strategies would have hired an experienced general manager long time ago that could have helped her innovate the mail order and website sales of "Making IT Big". Again it was the way these tools are used MIB's management never used. Some businesses use these tools but not in a proper way and that leads to improper planning and worthless strategies.