So often in business development individuals try to customize their “strategy” to blanket as many consumers as possible. The solution to viability is to set a disciplined strategy, targeted to a well researched segment of the market, and add as much value as humanly possible.
Michael Porter is pretty much the Father of business strategy. He presents the obvious directions you can go when formulating a strategy and that is: differentiate, cost leadership, or focus on a niche (by differentiating or competing on cost). But this is only the generic start. From this point it becomes “how and what do I differentiate?”, or “how do I sustain a cost advantage?”.
Constructing a generic strategy in and of it self does not guarantee a competitive advantage. The competitive advantage describes the way a business can choose and implement a generic strategy to achieve a sustainable advantage. To best determine what your competitive advantage is, simply divide your business into segments (marketing, operations, management, service etc) and determine what unique thing your business does better or more efficiently than others in the industry. Once you can isolate what makes your company different you have something tangible that you can focus on.
If the goal is to be the leader in your industry you must remember that leadership is not a cause but an effect of competitive advantage.
Articulating your strategy must involve more than just a list of action steps but must also include the tangible advantage you have over the competition. This is the only surefire way to ensure proper and successful implementation.
So formulate a strategy to achieve your goal, clearly articulate your core advantage, set metrics to measure results, and have systems in place to ensure proper implementation.