Business Strategy

AuthorBert Spector
ProfessionProfessor of Strategy at Northeastern University
Business Strategy 17
“Strategy” is a term you will hear reg ularly in your interaction with busi-
ness clients. By itself, strategy is not a legal concept. Rather, it is the big-
picture story of how a business will compete, grow, and make a profit. It
refers to the long-term position of the business. All transactions you may
undertake with a business client, from setting employment contracts to
negotiating mergers and acquisitions, will occur within the context of that
business’s strategy. Understanding what that strategy is and how it works
to enhance the performance of the company can be helpful.
The Basics of Business Strategy
At a basic level, all businesses must answer three questions about them-
selves: who, what, and how. The choices a business makes in each of these
questions make up the building blocks of its business strategy.1 The who
question identifies the business’s target market, the what expla ins the
product/service offer the business is making to the marketplace, and the
how identifies the firm’s business model, which is the way it delivers its
what to its wh o in an efficient, effective, and—ultimately—profitable way.
1. I am separating business strateg y from corporate strategy. The role
and strategic goals of the corporation will be dis cussed in Chapter 3.

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