Sunday 4 December 2022

What really is Strategy?

Strategy is one of the most abused words in Entrepreneurship. Founders keep talking about it, glorifying it, having no idea what it is and how to build the right strategy for their Business.

Having built a multi-million dollar revenue Business, here are my learnings on strategy:

1. Strategy is not the 100 things that you can potentially do. Strategy is the 98 things that you decide not to do, and the 2 things that you eventually decide to focus on.

2. Most entrepreneurs try their hands on 10 different things in parallel and they end up being mediocre at all of these 10 things. That's a bad strategy.

3. When someone suffers from headache or a minor bruise, who do you take them to? A General Physician. When someone suffers from a blood cancer, will you take them to a General Physician? No. You'd take them to a Haemato-oncologist - that's not just a specialization, but a super-specialization. Strategy is about finding your super-specialization.

4. It's better to be a big fish in a small pond rather than being a small fish in a big pond. Strategy is about finding this small pond where you can be a big fish.

5. In a startup, 1 x 100 is more than 10 x 10. Basically, it's better to build 1 thing and sell it to 100 people than build 10 things and sell to 10 people because selling to 100 people is a repeatable process, but building 10 things is not a repeatable process. Strategy is about finding this 1 thing that you can repeat 100 times.

6. To achieve more, do less. Strategy is about finding this one thing that you'd focus on and repeat it again and again and again until you achieve your vision.

How do we apply strategy at Cogno AI?

1. We initially fully focused on only one sector - Financial Services (BFSI). It helped us acquire the biggest BFSI companies as our customers - the State Bank Group, ICICI Group, Kotak Group, HDFC Group, Aditya Birla Group, Bajaj Group, etc. Today we have an expertise in BFSI. In fact, many times, we are confused as a FinTech, which we are not.

2. We encourage our team members to have less number of job roles/profiles because each job role/profile requires building a process around appraisal, promotion, career path, etc., which becomes complex and makes the organizational structure difficult to handle.

3. We don't focus on the working hours. We focus on work output which is essentially the goals and outcomes.

This way, we are able to focus on 2 things that matter rather than getting distracted by the 98 other shiny things that we 'can do'.

What's your Business strategy?

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