How to write a great business strategy

All businesses need a strategy. Here’s how to write a great one.
The word ‘strategy’ is much used and abused. It has its origins in ancient Greek military terminology, which provides clues about its true meaning – leading and guiding. In a business context, it can be taken to mean how best a business can fulfil its purpose, and achieve its vision and objectives. 
Strategy is about determining a destination and how best to get to there. It’s also about being able to switch course because of changing economic, competitive or other circumstances. Strategy is about the long term, how you may or may not effect changes, and your appetite for risk. It’s not about day-to-day operational tasks, although they may be driven, sometimes unconsciously, by your strategy.

Well-performing small businesses have a clear sense of purpose. They put the focus on their customers and are often first to market with new offers and services. These are good indicators of a strong strategy.
Increasingly, small businesses are being required to commit their strategy to paper, for a variety of purposes, such as raising finance or securing a grant. That’s a good move as it often gives a busy entrepreneur, with a strategy that is sophisticated yet not written down, the incentive to create a long-term game plan.
DOWLOAD: A Business Model Canvas for simple business planning.

Strategy types

It’s important to realise that there are different types of strategies and different processes for strategy development which are adopted by different types of businesses, large and small. Renowned academic and strategy guru Henry Mintzberg is credited with coming up with these six broad definitions:

Planned: strategies that are formulated centrally (usually by ‘head office’)
Imposed: strategies either dictated by a parent company, or by economic or other circumstances
Opportunistic: deliberate strategies to respond to opportunities as they arise

This post was originally published here - on

Thinking business – Liam Holland, Colourtrend

Liam Holland, sales and marketing director, Colourtrend is on a mission.

What’s your business pitch? 
Colourtrend is Ireland’s largest independent paint manufacturer with 90 people employed at our facility in Celbridge, Co. Kildare. We create technically superior paints in colour palettes inspired by the Irish landscape.
How long have you been in business?
We are a family business founded by the current managing director’s father in an old 1841 famine workhouse in May 1953.
What did you want to be ‘when you grew up’?
Still working on that – haven’t grown up yet.
What’s your ambition now?
To build the Colourtrend brand into an iconic Irish brand.
What’s the most important thing you have learned so far in business?
Surround yourself with good people, listen to them and empower them. Do less but do it better.
“When you are growing as fast as we are you need good cash flow and good business systems.”
What was your biggest ‘mistake’ been, in business so far?
No show stoppers. But from a previous industry like so many others – putting content on the Internet for free.
Who inspires you in the business world?
Anyone that follows their dreams, irrespective of whether they succeed or not.
What historical figure would you choose to have dinner with? 
Well, being a golfer, Jack Nicklaus. I think he’d have some great tales to tell.
If you were ‘ruler for a day’ what would you do to change the business or social climate in this country?
Introduce a regulation to promote the production of water-based paint products. Lower VOC (volatile organic compounds), low odour and much kinder to the environment. Colourtrend has been manufacturing these type of goods for the past 12 years.
Did you receive any supports to start your business and what do you need most at this stage of your business? 
Well, we are 63 years in business, and I am only here five years,

This post was originally published here - on