Strategy is word derived from ancient Greek word “Strategos”. It meant – “Art of the general”. Strategy is initially closely related to military. You may have already read “Art of War” from Sun Tzu, a chinese military strategist from 500BC.
One of the famous lines of Sun Tzu,
Know yourself, know your opponents, encounter a hundred battles, win a hundred victories.
Business is somewhat similar to war. You have to fight brutal competition or you are lost. There different battles of different markets, products, quarterly sales & you would want to win each of that. That can be only possible if you prepare your strategy.
There are some really good quotes about Strategy which explains it in more clear way.
Strategy as Plan
“Concerned with drafting the plan of war and shaping the individual campaigns and, Within these, deciding on the individual engagement” (von Clausewitz, 1976)
“A set of concrete plans to help the organisation accomplish its goal” (Oster, 1994)
Strategy as Action
“The art of distributing and applying military means to fulfil the ends of policy” (Liddel Hart, 1967)
“A pattern in a stream of actions or decisions” (Mintzberg, 1978)
“The creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities, making trade-offs in competing, creating fit among a company’s activities” (Porter, 1996)
Strategy as Integration
“The determination of the basic long term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for carrying out these goals” (Chandler, 1962)
“An integrated and coordinated set of commitments and actions designed to exploit core competencies and gain a competitive advantage” (Hitt, Ireland and hoskisson, 2003)
“The analyses, decisions, and actions an organisation undertakes in order to create and sustain competitive advantage” (Dess, Lumpkin, and Eisner, 2008)
If you are startup or planning to start something new. Go iterative as there is not enough data available about your products or services on how the market will receive it. Its better to launch something, monitor markets reactions and update your strategy accordingly. There is not point on spending months and months to perfect product. Its best to release, get feedback and evolve.
Strategy for any business is plan of action for how to beat competition and win.