An effective business strategy does not simply define the goals of your firm.

Real strategic change comes from identifying the biggest challenges for your firm and then choosing to do something about them.

This may mean ignoring some of the other things you would like to do within your firm. It can be tough, especially if members of your team are involved in some of the things you are now choosing not to do.

But for your firm to survive in turbulent times, difficult decisions have to be made.

Good strategy is about focusing your resources on the most critical issues facing your firm. If you are not doing that, you don’t have a strategy.

Take Steve Jobs, for example…

In 1997, Apple were just weeks away from bankruptcy. Then Steve Jobs returned. Initially, his most significant challenge was just to keep the business alive!

His coherent approach was to cut 15 desktop models back to 1 model, cut all laptop models back to 1 model, cut all printers, cut development engineers and cut software development.

Jobs cut many more things, which reflected the reality of Apple having less than 4% of the personal computer market at the time.

There was a clear challenge and a clear strategy – and it was right for Apple’s situation at that time.

With Apple’s survival secure, Jobs then clarified his long-term strategy:

“I am going to wait for the next big thing”

He knew enough about the market to understand that technology comes in waves. This was a predatory response to the situation, like a lion stalking its prey, and he was prepared to lie in wait and pounce at just the right time.

The rise of MP3 players, the iPod, iTunes and the iPhone transformed the world, and Apple went from a $3billion business to a $1trillion business.

Patience is a virtue, as they say!

As a business leader or manager, your most important responsibility is to identify the biggest challenges facing your firm and to devise a coherent approach to overcome them, just as Steve Jobs did.

Click here to learn how good strategy ensured Apple survived and thrived, and how good strategy can ensure your firm does the same.