The A-Z of Business Strategy

Do you know your key strategy terms? Check our handy list.


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The world of business strategy can be packed with jargon. Not all of it is helpful. But here is a list of key terms we think you should be familiar with.


  • Activity-Based Costing: A methodology for understanding and allocating costs against activities, and so against products, customer segments, etc.
  • Advantage: What sets your business apart from the competition? Identifying your unique selling proposition is crucial for crafting a winning strategy.
  • Analysis: Dissecting information and data to derive insights and support decision-making.
  • Articulation: Describe and communicate your strategy in a clear, concise and compelling manner.


  • Blue Ocean Strategy: Escape the competitive "red ocean" by creating uncontested market space with innovative offerings.
  • The BCG Matrix: a portfolio management tool that categorizes products or business units based on market growth and relative market share to guide investment decisions.

  • The Balanced Scorecard: A framework for deriving a balanced set of integrated strategic goals.


  • Competitor Analysis: Understand your rivals' strengths, weaknesses, and strategies to inform your strategic decisions.
  • Customer Value Proposition: A promise of value to be delivered to customers, highlighting the unique benefits and solutions that set a product or service apart from competitors. (See also Unique Value Proposition)


  • Differentiation: How will you stand out from the crowd? Differentiate your value proposition and brand identity to attract and retain customers.


  • Execution: A brilliant strategy is only as good as its implementation. Develop clear action plans and monitor progress to achieve your goals.


  • Five Forces Analysis: Analyze the competitive landscape using Porter's Five Forces framework, considering factors like the bargaining power of buyers and suppliers, the threat of new entrants, and industry rivalry.
  • Foresight: The proactive anticipation of future trends and challenges, allowing companies to prepare and adapt strategies for long-term success and innovation.


  • Goals: Define your long-term aspirations and direction and then break them down into SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) to guide your strategic direction.


  • Hypothesis Testing: Don't be afraid to experiment and test your assumptions. Gather data and feedback to refine your strategy and optimize for success.
  • Horizons: Balance your strategy across the three strategic planning horizons: Improve, Grow and Transform.


  • Innovation: Foster a culture of creativity and embrace new ideas to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Insight: the deep understanding of customer needs, market trends, and competitive dynamics that informs the development of effective strategies for achieving long-term goals.


  • Jobs-to-be-Done: focuses on understanding the fundamental motivations and goals that drive customers to seek specific solutions.
  • Journey Mapping: Understand your customer's touchpoints and experiences to tailor your strategy for optimal engagement.


  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Track your progress and measure the effectiveness of your strategy using relevant metrics.


  • Leadership: Strong leadership is essential for inspiring, motivating, and aligning teams towards strategic goals.


  • Market Analysis: Conduct thorough research to understand your target market, their needs, and industry trends.
  • McKinsey 7-S Analysis: Analyse how seven interconnected elements - structure, strategy, systems, skills, shared values, style, and staff - influence an organization's effectiveness and performance.
  • Mission: Defines a company's core purpose, outlining what it does, for whom and why.


  • Niche: Identify a specific market segment with unique needs and opportunities to focus your resources and expertise.


  • Objectives: Break your strategic goals down into SMART objectives.
  • Objectives and Key Results (OKRs): Link your objectives to KPIs at the corporate, team and individual levels using a cascading framework.
  • Opportunities: Identify the opportunities available to your organisation using PESTEL and SWOT Analysis.


  • Pareto Analysis: Work out the 20% of causes responsible for 80% of results.
  • PESTLE Analysis: Consider external factors like Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental influences on your strategy.
  • Portfolio Management: selecting, prioritizing, and allocating resources across various division, products, customer segments or initiatives initiatives to optimize overall strategic objectives and maximize return on investment.


  • Quality: Prioritize delivering exceptional products and services to build customer loyalty and brand reputation.


  • Risk Management: Identify potential threats and develop contingency plans to mitigate their impact.


  • Scenarios: Hypothetical future states used to explore potential challenges and opportunities, enabling more resilient and adaptable strategies.
  • Strengths: Capabilities your business can exploit to help it achieve its strategic goals. 
  • Sustainability: Integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into your strategy for long-term viability.
  • SWOT Analysis: Analyze your organization's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to gain a comprehensive understanding of your internal and external landscape.


  • Threats: Trends or possible future events which could disadvantage your business.


  • Unique Value Proposition (UVP): Clearly articulate what makes your offering distinct and valuable to your target audience. (See also Customer Value Proposition.)


  • Value Chain Analysis: Identify and analyse the activities by which value is created.
  • Vision: Define your long-term aspirations and paint a picture of your desired future state.
  • Voice-of-the-Customer (VOC): A technique for including the customers' perspective in your strategic thinking.
  • VUCA: Describes the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous nature of the modern business environment.


  • Weaknesses: Areas where your business can improve to strengthen your competitive position.


  • X-Factor: Embrace the unexpected! Be prepared to adapt your strategy in response to unforeseen circumstances.


  • Yearly Objectives: Set annual goals that ladder up to your long-term vision and keep your team focused on achieving milestones.


  • Zero-Based Budgeting: Allocate resources based on current needs rather than historical allocations, ensuring efficient resource utilization.

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Published: 2024-02-24  |  Updated: 2024-07-21