Strategy: The Unseen Business Driver
When it comes to running a business, sales figures are what most people are concerned about - “How is our month-to-month growth? What’s our latest profits?”
Yet, a crucial aspect of a business that is often overlooked is its strategy - the unseen driver that can make or break a company.
While other functions like operations and finance get more attention, strategy runs in the background and forms the backbone of the company. Without a clear strategy on how your company can progress further and compete in the market, it might lose relevance as time passes and eventually fail.
In this episode, we speak to Zachary, an expert business strategist who has helped countless businesses with their strategy plans.
Who is Zachary?
Zachary is the Chief Strategist of Underdog Strategy, where he enjoys helping underdog businesses take on the Goliaths in their industry. Over the past 6 years, he has helped restructured and scaled multiple businesses into multi-millionaire dollar business units.
Formerly from Zion Global Marketing, Zachary was their Head of Strategy where he spearheaded marketing strategies and consulted with SME business owners to help restructure their business model to boost their revenue and increase their profit margins.
Recently, Zachary has helped another million business dollar business hit their $5 million mark in the first 6 months of 2020 and he is currently looking for his next business to transform!
"The way you get to somewhere will not be the thing that gets you to the next place"
Different Phases of Growth
As Zachary mentioned in the interview, how you get from Point A to B is entirely different from what will get you from Point B to C. Scaling a company from $1 million to $3 million and from $3 million to $7 million requires an entirely different approach.
As such, it is important for both the company and the team members to grow alongside each other. If the company is moving too fast and the members are unable to keep up, the company would have to onboard new team members to supercharge its growth. On the other hand, if the company is growing too slowly, the members might want to seek new pastures for new challenges.
Regardless, it is important to constantly review and renew your approach. Doing more of the same things which have allowed you to grow to where you are today will not bring you to the next level, only a new strategy will.
Strategies For Startups & Smaller Companies
Curious as to what kind of advice Zachary provides to smaller companies which allows them to take on the Goliaths of their respective industries, I asked him what strategies he recommends for these companies to adopt.
The number one advice he gave is for companies to differentiate themselves and be “as premium as possible”. Avoid fighting the price war because that will only result in dire consequences.
Some of the techniques he employed in his companies are to repackage their product offerings and charge them at a higher price, even though the contents of the product remain unchanged. By changing the perception and price point of the products, Zachary was able to multiply their profits within a short period of time.
Picking Up Skills About Strategy
So, how can someone be educated about strategy, especially when the topic is not a common one? Zachary summed it up into three ways - self-education, mentorship and experience.
Self-educate yourself by reading up on a wide variety of topics, including history and the tactics employed by war generals to overcome their battles, and draw parallels with how they might apply to yourself.
Find a mentor who can help you view things from a different perspective. Due to the “invisible” nature of strategy, we need someone who can observe and explain to us what exactly is being done to influence our actions.
Lastly, experience is key. We need to put ourselves out there to test the strategies and learn from how the more experienced companies approach it to refine our skillset.
Some questions I asked:
- How did you get interested in strategy? (01:23)
- How did you improve your skill-sets to adapt to the changes? (14:10)
- How can people learn more about strategy? (25:20)
- What does success look like to you? (33:37)
In this episode, you will learn:
- Zachary’s passion for entrepreneurship (05:27)
- Interesting lessons from Zachary’s startup experience (12:25)
- The concept of Strategy (22:37)
- Strategies for startups and smaller companies (28:50)