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Having a great strategy will not necessarily lead to business success, but a poor one will almost certainly prevent it. Strategy goes to the heart of a business, determining direction and the actions you take on a day to day to basis. Get them right and your business will probably fly. Get them wrong and, even if you survive, you will forever be pushing water uphill.

So how do business leaders create successful, workable and achievable strategies for their businesses?

  1. Vision: The vivid mental image and perception of your end game. Knowing where you're heading and being able to see your destination in your mind’s eye.
  2. Strategy: The means by which you will pursue your goals in order to achieve your vision over time.
  3. Tactics: How you will implement your strategy. The actions you will deploy on a day to day basis to assure the delivery of your vision.

Developing a strategy and then working out how to reach your goals isn't easy. However, it is far more achievable if you have a clear vision of the future. The tactics you use along the way may involve experimentation and change, but vision is a constant. So it’s important to begin with the end in mind.


Your vision is clear and you’re ready to go. It’s time to consider the strategies you will develop to achieve your goals. “First with the head” means that you will need to get all of the pieces on the table before you can begin the jigsaw. So here are some of the places to start:

  • Research and gather knowledge about your market
  • Open dialogue to gain insight and understanding
  • Assess and analyse your current business position

Successful businesses don’t just have a strategy, they have a strong and executable plan – a map to help them to reach their destination. This is because even the most well-developed strategy will achieve nothing without effective implementation and execution. It’s therefore critical to establish your tactics. i.e. how you will implement your strategy.

By Guy Rigby, head of entrepreneurs at Smith & Williamson