Leading businesses tend to take a strategic approach to increasing their sales, wooing more customers and trumping rivals. By doing so, they create an occupational environment conducive to long-term profitability. All organizations, including nonprofits and government agencies, formulate action-oriented strategies to remain solvent and improve the way they manage their operations.
An action-oriented strategy refers to how a company comes up with a plan of action based on specific steps to make implementation a success. In modern economies, corporate strategies are generally action oriented and result driven because implementation is an important, if not the most essential, part of a strategy. Without implementation, the blueprint would remain an ineffective, stale piece of corporate policy. To make strategy execution a success, a business may depend on a traditional investment-driven growth model that encompasses such aspects as corporate financial evaluation, analysis of external conditions and purchases of long-term assets.
Formulating an action-oriented strategy allows a company to ask lenders and investors for help while retaining corporate sovereignty. By charting and executing a sound action plan, the business takes steps toward improving its financial stability, a mark of solvency that generally prevents takeover offers from competitors. The goal here is to be financially strong to resist rivals’ plans to gain market share and drive the firm out of business. The importance of corporate strategy typically requires feedback from the higher echelons of a company, and robust debate often ensues over key issues, such as regulatory compliance, sales growth, innovation, corporate reputation and financial management.
Coming up with an action-oriented strategy has tactical implications, lest the blueprint fail to address the complex and multifaceted issues that a business faces. Tactics deal with the day-to-day implementation of an action-oriented strategy, whereas the blueprint merely provides guidance on what to do, when to do it and how to ensure success. To effectively implement a business strategy, department heads and segment chiefs take a hard look at important processes and make significant investments in key work streams. These include hiring, training and retaining top talent; investing in long-term, strategic market sectors; evaluating opportunities for mergers and acquisitions; and reporting performance data in accordance with regulatory norms.
Perhaps the most important benefit coming from a sound action-oriented strategy is the fact that it boosts a company’s competitive advantage and strengthens its operating capabilities. The blueprint enables the firm to flag ineffective mechanisms and properly address lingering inefficiencies that may produce losses down the road. A competitive advantage is an advantage a business has over its rivals and that allows it to improve sales and gain market share, even when the economy is bad. Examples of competitive advantage include distribution network, cost structure and product or service offerings.
Marquis Codjia is a New York-based freelance writer, investor and banker. He has authored articles since 2000, covering topics such as politics, technology and business. A certified public accountant and certified financial manager, Codjia received a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University, majoring in investment analysis and financial management.