The market is changing. The way we do business is changing and the methods of marketing, planning and execution are seeing a paradigm shift from traditional tried and tested strategies.
Startups are changing the way business is done.
They are disrupting the current market by bringing innovation to businesses.
Can startups rely on traditional approaches to how businesses are done?
They are moving in a fast-paced environment where they must perform or perish before competition creeps in or market moves on.
Therefore, they need new ways of strategizing, planning and execution.
In this blog, I am going to be discussing liquid Strategy – a method which allows startups to be flexible as per market needs.
Most budding entrepreneurs with high potential get confused over the difference between planning and strategy.
A plan defines what you want to meet, and strategy is all about how you achieve what you planned for.
For example, you are planning to get 1000 downloads to your recently launched app. The strategy defines the way you can achieve target and plan though closely linked to strategy is little different in the sense that with strategy, you lay out how you will execute the plan.
It is the thought process involved in achieving the plan.
There could be times when our strategy fails which ultimately leads to our plan getting derailed.
This might can cause a lot of overwork and loss in terms of money and time.
For many small businesses, it could mean – end to their dreams.
To resolve this, we should make our strategy as flexible as possible.
This is where Liquid Strategy comes into the picture.
Liquid here indicates the non-fixed nature and adaptability to meet shape according to the market environment.
For a bootstrapped startup with no investor’s money, it is best to follow an approach where you are totally flexible to recover and grow in real time.
The liquid strategy is what I’m following now at Foodeterian. The strategy is highly resilient in terms of recovering from any negative reason that can affect our growth.
How do you define Liquid strategy?
In simple words, liquid strategy indicates being open to test and make non-conventional steps in real time, analyze the outcome and drive continuous improvement to the business.
It is a method of making calculated deviations or steps in the real-time execution of business plans to drive better business.
The world is changing at a very fast pace, existing rules of doing business might not be applicable to all businesses (specially, startups). Therefore, we should always keep customizing the existing sets of concepts to make sure our growth.
The first principle to start up is freedom, staying the prisoner of old books doesn’t make any sense for an entrepreneur.
Each entrepreneur must be aware of how to make things work in an innovative way to make sure success.
The things that work for your competitor might not necessarily work for you. In simple words, each entrepreneur must have a mindset of an innovator.
And once you have that, you are off to a start.
Then comes the part about executing Liquid Strategy.
Here are 8 points to help you execute Liquid Strategy:
- Always watch the changing trends and adapt so. Knowing your target customer segment, the competitors and competition and keeping an eye on how trends have changed in past can help you have the farsightedness to bring innovation and rise above your competitors. This helps you plan your short term and long-term business goals.
- Always analyse your data before your end your day. Compare the current data with past day’s data and list down all internal and external factors that affected the day’s business.
- This will help you prepare for the events which might have had an adverse impact or a positive impact on your sale in past. The idea is to look for trends and trends can only be identified by looking at the past data. Also, analysis of data helps us in strategizing based on changing market response. I have always found google analytics to be a good tool to help me with analysis.
- Always check the political and demographical changes. Policies, place and their impact on businesses are well documented. A small change to the tax percentage can lead to a bigger impact for your business. Keep an eye on them and think of possible strategic alliances, taking a decision on whether to wait for some big change or take alternate steps and a timely push required to increase market penetration.
- Keep a close eye on your competitor. There is nothing as useful as understanding what they are offering to market and why they are offering it. Also, their successes and failures are a good analysis point for you to build you strategy. Most of the times you will find it helpful to upgrade your service/product. My mantra on this ”Always respect your competitors. They are the ones who help you stay relevant in the market”.
- Find non-conventional methods of advertising your services or products. Let’s face it, on the face methods of advertisement like sms, emails are losing relevance in today’s world. Nobody likes to get disturbed with promotional stuff being pushed on their face. You need to find new ways to reach your potential customers without disturbing them. Think of ideas like content marketing where you educate and sell than sell and educate.
- Learn the importance of factors like geography, age, gender, etc. Each geography and demography have a different mindset and their own set of problems. What works in New York might not work in New Delhi. What is useful to a 25-year-old adult might not be helpful for a senior citizen and what might attract a working-class person might not attract a college student. You should have different models for different markets and different customers and a product which clearly is defined for your target audience. Remember, if it is for everyone – it not for anyone.
- Don’t be rigid with your plans and strategy. That is what Liquid Strategy is all about. i.e, don’t focus too much on one area if it does not return good results. Instead, try other options before you exhaust all your money on what is not working. In most cases, you will discover alternate sources of revenue which have the potential to become your primary source of revenue. What is needed here is your ability to think out of the box and stay ahead of your competitors by constantly improving your business model.
- Analyse the patterns and connect them with current internal execution and external factors. The simplest way to fine tune is data analysis and pattern recognition.
Though there are many tools and software available in the market. However, you can analyze it yourself. Data is available everywhere, you just have to make sense of it to keep yourself relevant.
Liquid Strategy is being adopted by most of the businesses and startups today to move swiftly in the market.