Helen Lee Schifter, the former Wall Street arbitrage trader and former editor of both Hearst and Conde Nast knows a lot about tactical business strategies. To paraphrase an old investment strategy commercial, when Schifter talks, people listen. Here are some of the tactical business strategies that Ms. Schifter recommends.
The first element is to have a set of tactical objectives you can pin your business on. And we are not talking here about vague, general terms such as “We want to dominate the computer software market.” No, a tactical objective is something highly specific that can be tested and quantified. If you have a certain software for sale, and you sold 25,000 units last year, a tactical objective would be, “This year we aim to sell 20,000 units quarterly.
As famed baseball guru and part-time philosopher, Yogi Berra once said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there. Helen Lee Schifter believes that definable objectives set your vision. Once you have your objectives laid out, the next step is to write out numerous action steps how you are going to get there. This defines your overall strategy.For example, in the case of the above-named theoretical software company, one way to get there might be to offer a free trial for a month for people to use the software.
Another way might be to bundle your software together with another type of software that you produce. Again, you need to have careful data to be able to analyze if your action steps are really producing results.
Also, define key performance indicators. KPIs might be thought of as early indications that your action steps are actually working or not. Next, assign a responsible part and a due date for each objective. Without defining who is ultimately responsible and giving them a due date for results, there can be endless buck shifting.
For each project, senior executives should be able to tell you without hesitation who, ultimately, is responsible to help your company meet the objectives. If they can’t, there is something really wrong with the process.
Another thing that those responsible for meeting a company objective should be informed of is how often they will report on the progress and to whom. Again, there should always be a clear chain of command. Also, those responsible for a particular company objective should provide to senior management as soon as possible, what resources they may need.
Resources include things like adding machinery, dedication to software engineers to a certain phase of the project or working with marketing. This allows management to clearly understand the relationship between achieving the objectives and allocating the necessary resources.
As fictional Margin Call film executive John Tuld said, “There are three ways to make a living in business. ” Be first, be smarter or cheat.”
Tactical business strategies involve being smarter, and it doesn’t happen all at once. There are solid steps that need to be put into place to keep a business competitive against its peers.