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Strategy – don’t get stuck in the middle.

Are you feeling stuck in your Food and Hospitality business? Struggling to stand out from the crowd or to keep up with the ever-changing tastes of your customers? You’re not alone. Many businesses find themselves in a strategic limbo, caught between cost leadership and differentiation, losing their competitive edge.

Let’s explore the concept of strategy, how it applies to your business, the process of crafting a growth strategy that aligns with your customers’ values and sets you apart from the competition.

Strategy is the theory that specifies the competitive outcome you want to achieve. It’s an outline of how you want to win in your chosen market. The success of your strategy is ultimately decided by your customers, or clients, or consumers.

Do they consistently choose you?

Let’s unpack strategy.

Strategy is a set of combined choices to win. It is about making choices:

  • Choices about your aspirations, purpose and vision;

  • Choices about what you are going to offer to whom;

  • Choices that set apart your offer from your competitors, either through cost leadership/advantage or differentiation;

  • Choices about use of resellers, on premise and direct to market;

  • Choices that are attainable – this means you make choices about the capabilities and systems that will deliver on the value you are offering.

A growth strategy is about the customer saying “YES”. A growth strategy is about having a competitive advantage which means “deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver unique value,” says Michael E. Porter, the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School, and a globally respected writer on business strategy.

Now we understand strategy what it means to get stuck in the middle.

Often, we see food and hospitality businesses start out as a low-cost provider and add extra benefits that the customer doesn’t value or are not recovered through pricing, thus losing the cost advantage.

Or, a differentiated business may start coming under price pressure, so the business cuts costs and loses the differentiated advantage and competitive edge.

If your business lacks focus or the customer is not valuing the product features, then you can become stuck in the middle. This usually means a lower return on investment for your business.

What to do if you are stuck in the middle?

Firstly, you can’t manage a business unless you measure it. Start gathering data that is relevant to your objectives. Talk to customers and find out what is important. What do they value?

Evaluate what is vital to your success, what you do well, and identify the areas of your business that provide the greatest opportunity for improvement.

Then you are moving to a position to start crafting a growth strategy that delivers a competitive advantage.

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