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Strategic Decision-Making in Business

Strategic Decision-Making in Business

Strategic decision-making in business ensures that decisions are based on the company’s vision and mission. If these are clear and practical, they can serve as excellent guides during the decision-making process. Leaders can evaluate how well each potential decision would serve the vision and mission of the business.

There are times when companies need to use strategic decision-making, such as when deciding whether to enter or leave an existing market, introduce a new product or service, discontinue a product or service, or target a new customer group. The action they take must reflect the context and environment the company works in and the resources available to ensure long-term results rather than focusing on short-term gains.

Strategic decision-making incorporates two elements. The first is developing a broader view of the problem and analyzing it from different perspectives. Poor decisions are often made because they are based on limited information. Strategic decision-making avoids this by looking at a problem from all conceivable angles. The second element involves understanding each possible avenue’s short-term and long-term repercussions. After collecting the relevant information, the strategic decision-maker can build an implementation plan.

One way to learn more about business strategy is to study for a Master of Business Administration (MBA). This is a prestigious qualification that provides an overview of prime business practices and is highly regarded by employers. Aston University delivers an MBA that allows students to become skilled and proficient leaders while studying at one of the best online business schools.

Types of Strategic Decision Making

There are Several Types of Strategic Decisions in Business, Including:

  • Corporate-level strategy: This deals with the overall direction and scope of the organization, including decisions related to diversification, mergers, and acquisitions.
  • Business-level strategy: This looks at how a specific business unit or division competes within an industry, including decisions related to product offerings, pricing, and distribution channels.
  • Functional-level strategy: This deals with how different departments within an organization support the overall strategy, including production, marketing, and human resources decisions.
  • Growth strategy: This explores how an organization expands and grows, including decisions related to new product development, entering new markets, and mergers and acquisitions.
  • Turnaround strategy: This is how an organization addresses and corrects underperformance, including decisions related to cost-cutting, restructuring, and leadership changes.
  • Stability strategy: This deals with how an organization will maintain its current position, including cost control, operational efficiency, and maintaining market share decisions.
  • Retrenchment strategy: This is how an organization will reduce its size or scale, including decisions related to downsizing and closing underperforming business units.

Developing Strategic Decisions

Strategic decision-making involves companies making short-term decisions based on a longer-term vision for the direction of the business. The vision and mission can provide comprehensive objectives, but implementation is more straightforward if the objectives are broken down into short-term and long-term goals. This method usually uses small, measurable goals that contribute to the primary mission. Managers use strategic decision-making for high-level factors essential to the organization’s success, such as structure, budget, and risk.

Making successful strategic decisions is typically a collaborative process that involves a management team and sometimes team members or other employees, depending on the situation. Teamwork can allow more creative solutions and help to develop a culture of collaboration and innovation within the organization.

The first step in strategic decision-making is having a clear company mission with current goals and requirements. The next step entails establishing long-term goals. The goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) and decided by the leadership team. When selecting long-term goals, it is important to consider the needs of different stakeholders, such as company managers, employees, and customers.

The long-term goals that have been defined can be used to determine short-term goals. These goals should also be SMART, and they can be adapted or new ones can be implemented to meet any new requirements or challenges.

These goals should be presented to employees so they are aware of the aims and objectives of their workplace. Long-term and short-term goals will change as the needs of the business and customers evolve. This can be an excellent opportunity to remind staff of the company’s mission and goals and create a shared purpose within the organization. The mission and goals can be regularly reviewed and adapted in response to changing circumstances.

It is important for companies to constantly monitor and evaluate their strategies and make adjustments as needed to achieve success. The vision and mission of the company can change over time, and strategic decision-making can provide the flexibility needed to stay on top of these changes. It can be used to support new goals and make it easier to alter short-term decisions to support long-term objectives.

Strategic Planning Tools

Planning and management tools help companies identify opportunities and threats, make decisions, and ensure they are on track to achieve their goals and objectives. These tools are essential for businesses to make informed decisions, set goals and objectives, prioritize resources, anticipate and respond to challenges, and communicate effectively. They play a critical role in the success of any business by helping them to navigate a constantly changing business environment.

The PESTLE analysis tool helps a company analyze the political, economic, sociocultural, technological, legal, and environmental factors that can impact its operations. It is used to identify the opportunities and threats that may arise due to changes in these factors. The PESTLE analysis is usually performed as an initial step before conducting a SWOT analysis. It helps to identify the external factors that the company should consider when developing its strategy. Companies use it to identify potential business opportunities and threats and make informed decisions about how to allocate resources and manage risks.

SWOT analysis helps a company identify its strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It evaluates the internal and external factors that can impact the company’s ability to achieve its goals and objectives. Once the analysis is complete, the company can use the information to develop strategies that address its shortcomings, take advantage of its strengths, capitalize on opportunities, and minimize threats.

Porter’s Five Forces is a framework used to analyze the competitive dynamics of an industry. It was developed to help companies understand how they can create a sustainable competitive advantage in their industry.

The Five Forces are:

1. The threat of new entrants: These are new competitors entering the market and the impact they may have on existing players.

2. Bargaining power of suppliers: This is the ability of suppliers to charge higher prices or reduce the quality of their products, which can impact the profitability of companies in the industry.

3. Bargaining power of buyers: This refers to the ability of customers to negotiate lower prices or better terms, which can impact the profitability of companies in the industry.

4. The threat of substitute products or services: This takes into account the existence of alternative products or services that can replace those offered by companies in the industry, which reduces demand for their products.

5. Competitive rivalry: This is the intensity of competition between existing players in the industry, which can impact the ability of companies to increase prices or improve profitability.

By analyzing these five forces, companies can identify the key drivers of competition in their industry and develop strategies to address them. For example, if a company faces intense competitive rivalry, it may focus on creating a strong brand or differentiating its products and services to gain an edge. Similarly, if the threat of new entrants is high, the company may focus on building barriers to entry, such as patents or economies of scale.

Examples of Strategic Decision-Making in Action

Here is a look at some high-profile examples of strategic decision-making.


It all began when the co-founders rented out three air mattresses on their apartment’s floor. They made $80 per guest and decided to start a new business. In 2008, they launched the digital accommodations marketplace for people to rent their homes or spare rooms.

When it was founded, the vision of Airbnb was to create a platform that allowed people to share their homes with travelers from around the world. They wanted to provide an alternative to traditional hotel accommodations and develop a sense of community and belonging among travelers. Their mission was to help create a world where people could belong anywhere.

The company nearly went bankrupt in 2009 because they did not have enough bookings. They had many listings on the site and plenty of site traffic, but they needed to attract more bookings. They focused on the user experience and concluded that the problem stemmed from the photos of the accommodation. They were not high-quality images that could entice potential customers.

Their business strategy was to improve the photos used on their site. The co-founders decided on a short-term goal of taking their cameras and photographing all the properties listed in New York City. Within a month of launching this strategy, sales had doubled. They reassessed and decided on another short-term goal: hiring young photographers in prominent locations and paying them to take photos at no cost to the owners. They also added guidelines on the website advising owners on how to take high-quality photos. From this point onwards, sales continued to rise.

Airbnb has Made Several Strategic Decisions Since it was Founded in 2008, Including:

  • International expansion: The company has expanded its presence worldwide, with listings in more than 20 countries.
  • Innovation: A new product category, Online Experiences, was recently introduced, which allows people to book online activities such as virtual tours and cooking demonstrations.
  • Going public: On December 10, 2020, Airbnb went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

The company’s vision and mission evolved over time, but they still want to create a world where people feel at home anywhere they go. Airbnb has grown from renting three air mattresses to having more than 4 million hosts and 1 billion guests and making an annual revenue of $5.99 billion.


The Japanese car maker Toyota took a sizeable share of the US car manufacturing market starting in the 1970s. At the time, the three biggest American car makers accounted for 82% of the market. Their mission was to become a cost leader in their category without compromising quality. They used a cost leadership strategy, and management worked to reduce costs at every level. They also used the broad differentiation strategy to develop product and business uniqueness and ensure a competitive advantage. Their strategic goal was to reduce production costs to achieve cost leadership.

Toyota minimized waste, response time, and inventory costs to achieve the greatest business efficiency possible. They started selling cars at a lower price than their competitors and moved their production to the US to reduce costs. They manufactured cars for much less money than American companies. They also established the Toyota Production System, which had production processes that were lean and efficient. They operated continuous improvement, focusing on daily decisions, operations, and goals.

Toyota spent years studying the production lines of US carmakers as they knew the American car industry was more efficient and advanced than the Japanese industry. They tried to emulate what the Americans did so well and blended these processes with their own strengths. Knowing their weaknesses and what they needed to learn contributed to an effective business strategy.

Other Strategic Decisions Made by Toyota Include:

  • Investing in research and development: Toyota has invested heavily in R&D to develop new technologies and improve existing ones.
  • Diversifying its product line: Toyota has expanded its product offerings to encompass a broad range of vehicles, including cars, trucks, SUVs, and hybrids, to appeal to a wider range of customers.
  • Focusing on safety: Toyota has made safety a top priority and implemented several safety features in its vehicles, such as advanced airbags and stability control systems.

Toyota has used its business decisions and strategies to become one of the leading companies in the automotive industry.

Strategic decision-making can drive a business forward if the vision and mission of the company are clear and leaders work collaboratively to determine short-term and long-term goals. Airbnb and Toyota are examples of companies using informed strategies to build highly successful companies.

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