Strategy – choosing what not to do


The essence of a good business strategy is choosing what not to do.

Resource allocation is a fundamental consideration in any business strategy. Businesses operate within finite constraints, such as time, finances, or human resources. Choosing what not to do enables a more focused allocation of resources towards activities that align with the overarching goals of the business. This distribution amplifies the impact of strategic initiatives and ensures optimal utilisation of limited resources.


A clear strategy will help to ensure the effectiveness of decision-making processes. When businesses commit to their strategy, they can make informed choices that reinforce their competitive advantage. Deciding what not to pursue helps in avoiding dilution of efforts and prevents the scattering of resources across unrelated or unnecessary activities, ensuring a streamlined and coherent strategic approach.


Risk management is another key consideration where choosing what not to do can influence the success of the firm’s strategy. The temptation to chase every opportunity may lead to overextension and increased vulnerability. A prudent strategy involves assessing potential risks and consciously avoiding activities that could amount to nothing more than a distraction for the management team.


The essence of a good business strategy also lies in maintaining clarity of purpose. By defining what the business stands for and its unique value proposition, companies can carve out a distinct identity in the market. Choosing what not to do helps avoid activities that deviate from this core identity, preserving brand integrity and customer trust.


A good business strategy typically involves setting a clear and simple goal or vision. Although the strategy itself may be easy to articulate, actually implementing the behaviours and activities necessary to deliver it requires the deployment of the firm’s resources in a focused and consistent manner. Choosing what not to do is therefore of great importance in order to ensure the success of any business strategy.