Financial Times Essential Guide to Developing a Business Strategy, The

Vaughan Evans  
Total pages
October 2013
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Financial Times Essential Guide to Developing a Business Strategy, The
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Table of Contents


Why strategy?

What is strategy?

What is the output?

What is the outcome?

What is a strategic plan?

What is strategic planning?

The Strategy Pyramid

Business vs corporate strategy



Part One: Strategy Development


1. Knowing Your Business  

Identifying key segments

   Essential example: Apple’s saviour segments

Segmentation in a start-up

   Essential case study: Extramural Ltd - the business


2. Setting Goals and Objectives

Setting long-term goals

Essential example: Life at Mars

Setting SMART objectives

   Essential case study: Extramural Ltd – goals and objectives


3. Forecasting Market Demand  

Sizing the market

Forecasting market demand

   Essential tool: Moving averages

   Essential example: No wrap for the cinema

Forecasting demand for a start-up

Market demand risks and opportunities

   Essential case study: Extramural Ltd – market demand


4. Gauging Industry Competition  

Assessing competitive intensity

Assigning customer purchasing criteria

Deriving key success factors

Essential tool: Economies of scale

Essential example: Jessops is shuttered

Gauging competition in a start-up

Industry competition risks and opportunities

   Essential case study: Extramural Ltd – industry competition


5. Tracking Competitive Advantage

Rating competitive position

   Essential tool: Product/market risk

Reviewing resources and capabilities

   Essential tool: The value chain

Essential example: The everlasting Monsoon

Creating competitive advantage in a start-up

   Essential example: Of diet, dance and detectives

Essential case study: Extramural Ltd – competitive advantage


6. Targeting the Strategic Gap

Targeting the portfolio gap

Targeting the capability gap

Profiling the ideal player

Specifying the target gap

Essential example: Could Liverpool FC be champions again?

Targeting the gap in a start-up

   Essential case study: Extramural Ltd – strategic gap


7. Bridging the Gap: Business Strategy  

Opting for a generic strategy

Essential tool: The experience curve

Strategic repositioning and shaping profit growth options

Essential tool: Uncontested market space

Making the strategic investment decision

   Essential example: Sainsbury’s fights back

Bridging the gap for a start-up

Business strategic risks and opportunities

   Essential case study: Extramural Ltd – business strategy


8. Bridging the Gap: Corporate Strategy

Optimising the corporate portfolio

Essential tool: The growth/share matrix

Creating value from mergers, acquisitions and alliances

Essential tool: Parenting value

Building strategically valuable resources

Essential tool: Core competences

Essential example: UU U-turn

Corporate strategic risks and opportunities

   Essential case study: Extramural Ltd – corporate strategy


9. Addressing Risk and Opportunity

Reviewing plan in a market context

Appraising opportunity versus risk

Essential tool: Expected value and sensitivity analysis

Essential example: Britney does it again

   Essential case study: Extramural Ltd – risk and opportunity


Part Two: Strategic Planning


Back Cover

‘Vaughan Evans not only demystifies strategy, he provides a useful and enjoyable step-by-step guide to constructing effective business strategies.’

Jeff van der Eems, Chief Operating Officer, United Biscuits


‘A wonderfully practical and highly readable guide to strategy development.’

Marcus Alexander, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship,

London Business School


‘This is an uncomplicated DIY strategy manual for the SME manager. It works perfectly.’

David Williamson, Managing Director, Nova Capital Management




Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a manager, The Financial Times Essential Guide to Developing a Business Strategy gives you the tools you need to build a powerful strategy and take your business to the next level.


By using its simple framework, you can achieve success without having to rely on external advisors or consultants. The innovative nine-step strategy process will help you turn your business goals into reality, whilst the lively anecdotes provide illuminating examples of strategy in action.


Follow this guidance to create a roadmap for enduring business success. This book complements and is a companion to the best-selling FT Essential Guide to Writing a Business Plan.




 “This is the most succinct and most practical handbook on business strategy on the market.”

Jules Goddard, Fellow, London Business School and co-author of Uncommon Sense, Common Nonsense.


Vaughan Evans is an independent strategy consultant ( with a background in industry economics. He worked at management and technology consultants Arthur D. Little and at investment bank Bankers Trust. Vaughan graduated from Cambridge and has a Sloan Fellowship with distinction from London Business School. He is the author of four previous books, including the best-selling  Financial Times Essential Guide to Writing a Business Plan.

Reader Review(s)


‘This is the most succinct and most practical handbook on business strategy on the market. In just a couple of hundred well-written pages, it synthesizes the most important ideas in the field. What sets it apart – and brings it to life – is that every concept that is introduced is immediately illustrated in practice through the use of a real-life case study.’

Jules Goddard, Fellow, London Business School and author, with Professor Tony Eccles, of Uncommon Sense, Common Nonsense: Why Some Organisations Consistently Outperform Others


‘A concise and highly practical guide to the fundamentals of strategic analysis and strategic planning.’

Robert M. Grant, ENI Professor of Strategic Management, Bocconi University, Milan, Visiting Fellow at Georgetown University, Washington, and author of Contemporay Strategic Analysis, now in its eighth edition


‘This is the ideal companion to Evans’s The Financial Times Essential Guide to Writing a Business Plan. A plan worthy of investment is only as sound as its underpinning strategy. This terrific little book shows the manager just what he or she needs to do to build that strategy. Where has this book been for the last fifty years?’

Jonathan Derry-Evans, Partner, Manfield Capital Partners


‘It will be an enormous help to busy managers who are developing a business strategy for the first time, or trying to improve on previous attempts. This is another Evans book to be kept to hand on the desktop, not to be shelved!’

Grahame Hughes, Founding Director, Haven Power Ltd


‘If you are a small business or start up, this is an excellent guide to help you get your strategy right. Business strategy is all too often discussed in the context of big business. Vaughan Evans, on the other hand, makes it relevant to SMEs, demonstrating not only why but

how to develop the right strategy to succeed.’

Anthony Karibian, CEO, bOnline Ltd. and serial entrepreneur


 ‘This is a really good and practical guide – clear, insightful, straightforward and practical. It is a must-have guide for anyone setting out to build or grow a business. If strategy can be likened to charting a wise and successful course though challenging waters, then Evans proves

once again that he is a master mariner.’

James Courtenay, Global Head, Advisory and Infrastructure Finance, Standard Chartered Bank


 ‘Vaughan Evans is doing himself and his ilk out of the day job. With this easy-to-follow manual on how to develop a winning strategy, managers and investors won’t need to engage pricey strategy consultants any more. Thanks!’

Ken Lawrence, Partner, Gresham Private Equity


‘A seminal business strategy manual, as invaluable to the entrepreneur, manager or business advisor as to the student of strategic planning.’

James Pitt, Partner, Lexington Advisors UK Limited