Category Archives: Strategy

6 of the most common strategy traps

strategy trapsStrategy without change is pointless, and doing what everyone else is doing is not a strategy; it’s a key principle most business people don’t get.

Take the most common advice you hear out there: don’t limit yourself to niche market; you won’t make any money.

There’s no such thing as a perfect strategy

Lëtzebuergesch: De Garri Kasparow géint de Com...

Lëtzebuergesch: De Garri Kasparow géint de Computerprogramm Deep Junior am Januar 2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Doing what everyone else is doing is the wrong strategy, and thinking that what made you succeed in the first place will result in success again is a flawed thinking. This is strategy 101, but many don’t heed this principle.

This is a lesson famed Chess Grandmaster Gary Kasparov knows all to well. From an HBR interview on what business leaders can learn from him:

Doing what everyone else is doing is the wrong strategy

What do high-flying startups know about growth that others don’t?

According to new research on startup growth, there are ten things high-flying startups do differently to grow quickly. One of them, and it isn’t a surprise, is they change the game by playing by a different set of rules:

None of these breakout companies did it the same way that the incumbents grew in their vertical or type of business. They all picked their own path, often leaving people wondering what they were thinking. HubSpot charged for upfront onboarding, which people thought was a mistake. Turns out it’s a huge piece of their massive retention success.

Yelp stayed away from paying for reviews and wooing food critics, instead focusing 100% on the community above all else. In a landscape where Citysearch and other behemoths catered to businesses and paid for reviews, this seemed almost foolish at the time.

Pretty straightforward, but unfortunately “changing the game” is still very much an anomaly. Why? Because herd mentality is the default setting for most.

One point I strongly make to startups is they need to have a point of view, a set of opinions about what they do; what are they about. Frankly, this is very much a maverick approach to strategy, one where you want to be the only one who does what you do and thus make competition irrelevant.

 

If you mimic the herd, you'll regress to the mean

Good strategy is about making decisions, about choosing WHAT NOT TO DO as much as WHAT TO DO. Making this decision is critical for high-growth startups, and for yours too.

Bottom line: If you mimic the herd, you’ll regress to the mean. Aim to be the only one, not just another one.

18 questions for crystallizing strategy

strategy is a guide to behaviorDid I ever tell you I love questions? I ask them constantly, and collect them intensely. For the purpose of culture, leadership, strategy and innovation, there are many types of questions that if used correctly can help you see a challenge from different perspectives that may lead to developing unique solutions; the types that can be revolutionary.

What’s the secret sauce of a culture of innovation?

This Thursday we’ll discuss “Measuring an innovation ecosystem” on Innochat. Many will argue that to develop a culture of innovation you need talent, support, capital and a host of other mechanisms.

It’s such a common response that many organizations and governments around the world have created their own mechanisms to “drive” entrepreneurship and innovation in their respective ecosystems, but all their efforts don’t matter much because they lack a critical ingredient: culture.

Why? Because many don’t pay attention to culture.

Culture is not mandated, it is shaped by daily beliefs and actions. How do you shape culture?

A cheat sheet of 19 different types of business models

To change the game, change the business model. But, what if you can’t find one?

Well, HBR published an article on business models that has the following cheat sheet of 19 different business models that you can brainstorm and adapt to a new venture.