Breaking out into an industry can be an exciting time for entrepreneurs; the prospect of sharing a product or service that you truly care about and watching your vision come to life is something that every entrepreneur works towards. However, the uncertainty of it all sets the successful, strategic entrepreneurs apart from those who simply “go with the flow.” If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to craft the perfect business strategy, you’ll need to follow these tips.

Understand Value

Kevin Boudreau of Harvard Business Review created a short guide to strategizing your entrepreneurial venture. According to Boudreau, the bare-bones questions that entrepreneurs should ask themselves from day one are the following:

  1. Who are you serving?
  2. What are you offering?
  3. How are you able to deliver?
  4. Why won’t it be copied?

These questions fall under three broad categories: value creation (1 and 2), value delivery (3), and value capture (4). While Boudreau writes that every business should have answers to these questions, they are especially important for entrepreneurs to answer: “Entrepreneurs who design their business around these questions will have a leg up when it comes to crafting strategy.” Any entrepreneur who wants to succeed needs to understand where that drive is coming from, and whether or not success is possible. If success is possible, the next question is, how? Understanding value in all of its forms is one of the keys to writing business strategy for entrepreneurs, and every sentence of a business plan should incorporate the answer to at least one of these values. 

Understand the Market

Entrepreneurs are often entering a pre-existing market to offer a unique spin on a common product or service. While this twist can definitely draw the attention of consumers, it is sometimes not enough to give a venture a leg-up over the competition. That’s why it’s vital for entrepreneurs to carefully study the competition and the products and services they offer. Your business needs to be able to stand out above the rest while offering value to consumers. You aren’t just trying to get new purchasers—you’re trying to convert those who purchase from competitors. That’s why niche marketing can be so effective; you aren’t swamped with competition in a niche market, but you also have loyal consumers who want to buy a specific product or service.

Understand Your Vision

Above all else, entrepreneurs are visionaries. They envision their product or service as the solution to a complex equation of consumer desires, and they do their best to spread that vision and grow their venture. Oftentimes, visionaries can get lost in their own heads, especially if they are going about their venture solo. Entrepreneurs should be careful to not conflate dream with reality; rather, entrepreneurs should generate benchmarks as stepping-stones to achieving their goals and reaching the full potential of their vision. While we’d all love for our ideas to explode overnight, we have to prepare for the long-term, uphill battle for market share and profitability. While the slow pace may be draining at times, it makes your eventual success all the more satisfying.