You've got a profitable idea for your business mission, a vision for how it will change the world, and a great, motivated team ready to go to work on making it a reality. It's a good start, but you still need a business strategy - the set of guiding principles for decision-making throughout your company. Think of it as the 'how' that puts the 'who' (your team) to work to effectively achieve the 'what' (your mission) for the 'why' (your vision). An effective strategy should align action across all of these elements. It gives your team a roadmap to make decisions and allocate resources in ways that will achieve your goals. Thus, you need to take each of these areas into consideration when developing your business strategy, including your organizational structure and personnel, your key objectives, and the values reflected in your company mission.
On a high level, many c-suite and management roles can leverage backgrounds in business strategy to ensure their teams are meeting key objectives as efficiently as possible. Whether you're heading up individual departments as a business operations manager or the entire company as a CEO, these skills can yield critical insights.
There are also career paths dedicated specifically to business strategy. If you thrive on solving the complex organizational problems at the heart of strategy, you might find roles as an in-house corporate strategist or business strategy analyst rewarding. And if you love bringing an outside perspective to tough challenges, and learning about different organizations with every new project, you might have the mindset needed for a strategic consultant.
Online courses are a great way to develop your business strategy capabilities on a flexible schedule from anywhere in the world, allowing you to acquire new skills without having to take time off from your current role.
You can take a wide range of individual courses or short Guided Projects online. Foundational subjects such as strategic management, operations management, and design thinking are applicable to virtually any business, while more specialized courses in topics like strategic innovation and digital transformation might be particularly relevant for startups and tech firms.
Online education also gives you the option of pursuing a full-fledged business masters program such as an MBA from top-quality schools from around the world, allowing you to hone your strategy skills in the context of a broader business education.
Some of the skills and experience that will help you when starting to learn business strategy include having a good grasp of business concepts, good communications skills, and a head for data and analysis. Business strategy uses research, data, analysis, forecasts, and vision to determine the desired direction of a business. If you have a business, you need a business strategy that can offer a look and feel of the business in the future. Experience that can help you in learning about business strategy may also include organizational design, strategic thinking, and business management.
You may know if learning business strategy is right for you if you are the type of person who seeks common goals among any team that you’re on and desires a positive outcome on projects in which you are involved. Business strategy takes time and effort to learn. It encompasses looking at various aspects of a business to determine where budget funds and capital expenditures should be allocated. If this sounds like the type of work that you would enjoy, then you might want to consider business strategy.
If you have a business strategy background, you might be able to find work in many different types of companies, from small tech startups to large manufacturing companies. Business strategy is a learned discipline that is transferable across industries to a certain extent. A business strategy keys in on operational and foundational parts of any business, from analyzing workflow processes to assessing labor needs in certain functions. All companies may have a need for someone with these skills, as this expertise can benefit the company.
As you learn business strategy, you may follow a career path from being an account manager or product manager, and rising in those roles, to becoming a strategic business director or senior business analyst. If you come from a technical or data science background, you may start as a business analyst and rise up through the ranks to become an IT director, business operations manager, or even a digital transformation director. Much of the career path you follow will depend on your industry and your company, but having the experience and skills in business strategy may propel you more rapidly along the way.