Rural entrepreneurship in Wales
Rural entrepreneurship in Wales

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Rural entrepreneurship in Wales

2.8 What is a strategy?

There are many definitions of strategy:

  • Chandler (1962) ‘The determination of the basic long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for those goals.’
  • Andrews (1971) ‘Every business organisation, every sub-unit of an organisation and even every individual (ought to) have a clearly defined set of purposes or goals that keep it moving in a deliberately chosen direction and prevent it drifting in an undesired direction.’
  • Porter (1985) ‘A process of analysis that is designed to achieve the competitive advantage of one organisation over another in the long term.’
  • Henderson (1984) ‘To enable an organisation to identify, build and deploy resources most effectively towards the attainment of its objectives.’

Whichever definition strikes a chord with you, they all emphasise that strategy is about the long term:

  • clear vision through goals
  • understanding your external environment to ensure the goals are realistic
  • appropriate allocation of resources to the tasks that will most likely help the company achieve its strategy implementation.

As the owner of a small business, it is inevitable that you will get involved in all aspects of the business, particularly at start up.

It is important to distinguish between operational and strategic thinking. Operational thinking relates to those tasks or activities that characterise the day-to-day working of the company. This could be anything from making practical, stylish staircases (David), producing some delicious and unique sandwich relish (Gwyneth), drafting a marketing email (Dafydd), designing a language course (Gwenllian), or monitoring the purity of the water obtained from the farm well (Euan). The more efficiently these are completed the better it is, as the costs will be kept to a minimum and output of the company will be enhanced.

Strategic thinking looks at the business more holistically. It connects all the activities and considers how they relate to each other in achieving the overall objectives of the company. Strategic thinking questions how the tasks can be aligned, combined or performed differently to deliver something better. For a not-for-profit organisation ‘the fit’ between these aspects also needs to account for the ethos or wider goals of the organisation. Find more information about creating an ethical organisation [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Many small business owners are guilty of ‘working in the business not working on it’. It is easy to become so engrossed with meeting operational day-to-day requirements that there is no time left for any strategic, longer term thinking.

GB093_2

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371