Small Business Strategy Development

Business Strategy Graphic

Approximately 20 percent of small businesses fail within the first year. By the end of the second year, 30 percent of businesses will have failed. By the end of the fifth year, about half will have failed. And by the end of the decade, only 30 percent of businesses will remain — a 70 percent failure rate. (SOURCE:

According to Investopedia, the top 6 reasons why businesses fail are:

  1. Not investigating the market
  2. Business plan problems
  3. Too little financing
  4. Bad location, internet presence, and marketing
  5. Remaining rigid
  6. Expanding too fast

On this page, we’ll discuss how Culture Cube can help you develop an effective business plan.

Asking the Right Questions

All business plans and strategies should answer three questions.

  1. What problem are you solving?
  2. Whose problem are you solving and why is your solution important?
  3. Why would customers choose your product or service?

1. What problem are you solving?

Jay Griffin, Culture Cube CEO & Cofounder, shares a professional example:

“I worked for Unilever, a company with a 70% retail market share for margarine with brands like Imperial and Country Crock. But a persistent minority of the US population avoided margarine, preferring the flavor of butter. Unilever wanted to create margarine that tasted so much like butter that people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”

2. Whose problem are you solving and why is your solution important?

“Research in the 1970s showed that 30% of US adults hated the taste of margarine and refused to eat it. But many butter users had high cholesterol levels. Their doctors advised them to reduce saturated fat in their diet and switch to heart-healthy margarine.

“Wives, husbands, and parents begged them to switch but met with stubborn resistance. A typical excuse was, ‘When there’s a margarine I believe tastes like butter, I’ll switch.’

“Solving this lifestyle and health problem was important to Unilever for business reasons. It would expand a customer category, grow revenue, and increase positive awareness of the company and its brands.”

3. Why would customers choose your product or service?

“The answer seemed simple: ‘Just make a margarine product that tastes like butter’ (assuming that it was possible to do) and the customers would flock to it.

“But of course, companies have failed even when they made products addressing the first two questions.

“Other factors came into play:

  • The price point of the product;
  • The cost of manufacturing the product;
  • The ability to mass produce it;
  • Convincing the grocery industry to accept and feature it;
  • Creating a memorable brand name
  • Promoting public awareness of the brand;
  • Conducting test markets to see if consumer intent (indexing) translated into purchases and brand loyalty.

“Unilever named the product I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®, as you may already have guessed. Comments in blind taste test focus groups inspired the name. ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter!’ was a familiar refrain, especially when participants chose our margarine over butter.”

Business Strategy Development for Local Area Companies

“Okay,” you may say to yourself, “That approach worked for Unilever in the ’70s, but what about my electrical business in 2022?”

Business planning and strategy always come down to questions, answers, and finances. You should know what questions to ask, determine how to answer them, and define what you can afford.

The questions might differ for an electrician, but a sound business plan always begins with honest self-analysis, business research, and an understanding of your target market.

Other questions you might ask are:

1. What business am I really in?

Are you in the business of providing a service or customer satisfaction? If you said “both”, you’re right, but most businesses focus on the former and not the latter. You should put customer satisfaction first and let that drive everything else in your business.

2. How do customers perceive my business?

Do they see it as a necessary evil or as a valuable partner? If it’s the former, you have some work to do. If it’s the latter, you’re on the right track.

3. How can I ensure my customers will come back?

This is the key question, and it’s one that many businesses struggle to answer. The answer lies in a business model with great customer service that anticipates and solves problems before they arise.

How Culture Cube Can Help with Your Strategy

Answering questions honestly is the first step to developing a sound business strategy. But don’t stop there — once you have your answers, you need to put them into action.

That’s where Culture Cube can help. It’s unusual for an agency our size, but we have on our team a former corporate executive who built business plans, helped create memorable brands, and implemented high-level business strategies, even collaborating with prominent firms like McKinsey and Boston Consulting.

Again, how does this apply to your local area business? you may wonder.

Culture Cube has worked with small businesses for over a decade and retained some clients since the day we opened. That’s brand loyalty!

All businesses operate differently, so we tailor our recommendations and strategies. We never offer cookie-cutter or pat advice. We have the tools and experience to research your strategy and the resources to launch it with a first-rate website, email and social media promotions, analytics tracking, and more.

Please call us to learn more. We interview prospective clients as much as they interview us; together, we’ll decide if Culture Cube is a fit for your business planning and development.

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