Is that your business strategy? Set a course and go… until you do or die?

That can certainly be exciting… for a while. In some rare cases it can even be essential. 

But it is usually not the best path. At least not one to Manifast your dream business!

As Yoda said:

"Do or do not, there is no try."

So in case you had doubt, dying has no value.


I define business strategy as something like:

"A forward looking vision (destination) and plan (path) that takes into consideration what you think is going to happen in the future to give you an advantage in the market and mitigate the inherent risks while having a strong likelihood of success." 

Business is all about balancing potential risk and success. Too much risk and you are gambling. Too little and the gains might be too small.


Mission is the overriding purpose, the why. Vision is the destination. 

Goals are the major steps along the path. Achieving goals requires additional planning and execution.

Don't mistake setting a target, calling it a goal and then thinking you have a a great strategy. We are going to double revenue is not a strategy. You need to address all of the pieces in the definition.

You can shift your goals and even vision without losing your purpose (mission or why).

Assume you have Assumptions

Every strategy has assumptions. Your belief system or "frame" has assumptions built into it. It is the frame of your target customer that ultimately matters.

The better you understand your assumptions (including yourself), the better you can test them during execution to see if they hold true.

If one or more assumptions prove to not hold true, you will need to either abandon or adjust the goal (or vision). 

The sooner the better.

You don't want to wait until 2 years and 99% of your capital is gone to do this.

Adjusting your goal or vision because of invalid assumptions is often called a pivot. Best to do this well before you run out of capital. 

Even if it is just your sweat equity, your time has real value. You only get so many tries.

What are your critical assumptions? How will you validate that they are true?

Check Your Checkpoints

Even if your assumptions pretty much hold up, your path to get from point A to point B might be invalid. Or inefficient.

Define what success looks like.

Then define intermediate checkpoints. 

What should success look like 2 months into a one year goal? It may not be linear but there should be some early indicators you might be heading in the right direction.

When you get to 2 months you either met or didn't meet those checkpoint measurements.

If you did, then great. Plan. Set some more checkpoints. Repeat until you are certain the goal and plan are valid.

If you didn't, revisit the goal, the plan and the assumptions.

What can you do different? Can you get help?

Decide. Innovate, pivot or abandon.

Having Faith

Don't take this wrong. This is not a quitter strategy. 

Neither is this about playing it so safe that nothing great can happen.

Passion, faith and vision can take you far. 

Adding lean, agile and adaptive to strategy can make the process a lot easier and increase the chances of making it to the vision.

And if it really is do or die; at least you did everything you could to help your business live.