The debate over strategy vs tactics rages on and on. It is an important topic, and I will show you why in a moment. However, if you ask any trusted adviser you’ll find that everyone has a little different opinion. And even worse, usually uses their perspective to explain the difference of strategy vs. tactics.
First let me start by saying, I am a trusted adviser too. So, I don’t know if I’ll do a better job, but I will try to explain it based on facts and with a variety of examples that may give you a better perspective.
Let’s begin by looking at why understanding of strategy vs tactics is such a critical concept for small business owners. Go back to my post titled 4 Owner Objectives to Achieve the Success Stage of Business Growth provides an overview of the 4 key owner factors necessary for business growth. This isn’t my opinion. This is based on the research published in 1984 by Churchill and Lewis in Harvard Business Review. Their research shows the owner focused critical success factors include:
- Owner Goals
- Strategic Abilities
- Managerial Abilities
- Operational Abilities
At their core, the first two factors represent strategy. The second two factors represent tactics.
Understanding the Difference: Strategy vs Tactics
To explain the difference of strategy vs tactics let’s take a look at some examples. The most common strategy is probably the “build vs buy vs do nothing” strategy. This can be applied to nearly everything that you do within your business.
Think about any aspect of your business.
- You can build – do it in-house yourself.
- You can buy – outsource it. (you can get services to help you with ANYTHING if you look hard enough)
- Do nothing – should you even be doing it (this is a place where “shiny object syndrome” gets in a business owners way. If it doesn’t add value or revenue DON’T DO IT!)
Once you have selected the strategy it’s time to apply the tactics. This is doing and managing the work. In many cases small business owners don’t pick a strategy because they don’t know “how to do it.” That’s the wrong reason not to pick the right strategy. You need to stretch yourself and learn!
A great example here is outsourcing. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a small business owner say “I tried outsourcing. It didn’t work.” Probably because you didn’t know what you were doing, but they have a hard time admitting that. Instead they use the excuse, “nobody can do it as well as I do.” This attitude will block their success for years to come and they don’t even realize it!
If you’d like a little more clarity on the difference of strategy vs tactics read this previous post titled Lack of 2 Diverse Skills Hinder Owner Success. It will give a good introduction to this subject.
If you are struggling with strategy vs tactics in your business I’d be happy to help you figure it out. Shoot me an email and let me know what’s standing between you and developing a self-sustaining business.