The first business strategy tool leaders need is a framework for defining, precisely, how they go to market. Below is my favorite business strategy tool. It's a 'simplifying device.' It has never failed to create insight, innovation and, frankly, relief for clients. We call it the Business Triangle. It's worth noting that this business strategy tool applies equally to .com, .org, .gov, and .edu organizations. First, a useful definition of a business: A business is a set of capabilities designed to develop, sell and deliver products and services to customers with the help of partners in order to create competitive advantage. The Business Triangle is a way to visualize this definition. Develop. Sell. Deliver. Support the process. Repeat. A very simple, yet profoundly important, learning loop. The faster you move your organization around the triangle, the faster you grow. Looking at your organization through the lens of this business strategy tool can have big implications. I've tried to list the 9 insights that generally hit leaders between the eyes within a couple days.
Insights that can hit you between the eyes
1. Transparency. You see through the opaque areas, and clarify the interrelated capabilities required for your organization to go to market.
2. A Vision for Creating Greater Team Alignment. You see how to create a simple, shared language (and mindset) so that your team can identify and align around shared priorities.
3. Refined Understanding of Key Capabilities. You can clarify and refine how your organization is structured (e.g., developing capabilities, selling capabilities, delivering capabilities and supporting capabilities). Incredibly clarifying.
4. Identification of Primary Go-To-Market Constraints. You can identify what one key capability is currently your primary go-to-market constraint -- the one capability that is most slowing (or blocking) your ability to go around the triangle. This is incredibly important: investing in resolving that constraint is the highest return investment you can make.
5. Clarified System-of-Roles. All this follows: knowing who is on point for each key capability, where they do, and do not, have final call, and knowing the exact location of key interdependencies. Critical stuff.
6. Refined Business Segmentation. Thinking about how you develop, sell and deliver your different products and services provides crucial strategic clarity. Deciding how to allocate resources across those different triangles...well, that's usually the whole ball game.
7. Refined Customer Segmentation. You have influencers, buyers, and end-users. Do you have strategies for each?
8. Clarified Partner Roles. You know who your partners are, yet seeing -- and explaining to your team -- where they fit in your go-to-market business system sharpens strategic abilities.
9. Cutting the Drama. You'll begin to see how lack of clarity around points 1-8 creates unnecessary and expensive interpersonal noise and a drag on innovation. You'll envision a path to creating a strategic culture, one that is aligned with your business models.
Here is a free business strategy template that uses the business triangle as a foundation.