Raizcorp CEO Allon Raiz says entrepreneurs, particularly those who are struggling, often fail to understand a strategy and how it can be applied to their own business.

Understanding and nurturing a strategy that best suits your business profile is vital in sustaining your business.

These are some of the basic questions that could help you build a better business strategy.

What do I want to achieve?

Knowing what you want for your business is critical in deciding where you want to go. Spend time describing the targets you want to achieve in as quantitative a way as possible. What are the revenues, profit margins, employee numbers and geographical expansions you want to achieve? Even more importantly, though, you should spend a lot of time interrogating how and why you have come up with these numbers.

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Which market will allow me to best achieve these targets (given my assets and competencies)?

Once you know what you want to achieve, the next step is identifying which markets will allow you to achieve those targets. You need to look at market size, the level of competition and the possible price points, as clues on which market would be the right one to target. While doing so, you should retain a clear understanding of how best you will use your current assets and internal competencies to engage in this market.

What do I need to succeed in this market?

Most often, your current assets, resources and competencies will be insufficient to allow you to effectively dominate your identified market.

It’s important to understand and take note of the additional resources you will require, and the new competencies you must acquire to achieve your objectives.

How will I identify or buy my resources?

Having identified the resources you’ll need, you will then have to determine how you will pay for and find these resources.

Essentially, this is a funding question and will require you to fully understand the financial implications of moving into a particular market with the requisite resources to succeed.

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What team and structure do I need?

Form follows strategy. The organograms of two businesses in the same industry which are following different strategies should look different. The types of roles, their seniority and their quanta should reflect the intentions of the strategy.

A strategy that emphasises customer service should have a customer-service department with a reporting line directly to the board, while a strategy focusing on new product development might have a board member heading up that role.

How do I start?

Strategy without execution is a bad strategy. If you do not clearly identify and describe the first steps in your strategy, it will often lead to inaction and a beautiful strategy document gathering dust on an obscure shelf in your office. A good strategy is an executed strategy.