Why Your Business Needs a Strategy
Posted by Aaron S. on April 9, 2018 in Retail Focus

A business strategy can help ensure the success and continuation of your business. The retail landscape continues to evolve and change in ways we have never experienced before. It is important for your family, employees, and customers that you have a strategy. By implementing a proactive plan to address these changes head-on, your business will be well positioned to respond quickly and with purpose. There are several ways to create such a plan, but any plan created must articulate exactly how your business plans to separate itself from everyone else competing in the market.


Recently, the Acuity retail team attended a presentation facilitated by Harold Lloyd at the National Grocers Association in Las Vegas. Lloyd’s presentation centered around how a business could remain relevant in a competitive market. Lloyd’s proposed idea was that a business should create a strategic-points-of-difference plan to compete against others within their business segment. The key concept was that a business should work to be best in class in at least 3 strategic areas but no more than 5. The number of focus areas is both important and specific. With less than 3 focus areas, your business runs the risk of not having enough edge to overcome your competition. With more than 5 focus areas, your time and resources may become stretched and ineffective. 


Determining the number of areas to focus on is just the first step. Before you move on to selecting your specific areas, I feel it is necessary to take a minute to elaborate on what it means to be best in class. This phrase can be defined as achieving the highest performance level in an industry and is often used as a standard or benchmark to be equaled or exceeded. I feel we need to add one more detail to this definition. Based on my experience, being a top performer in and of itself does not make a business best in class. You need to be able to achieve a high level of performance, and then you need to be able to replicate that performance every time. By offering this consistently elevated experience, your business truly becomes best in class.


Now it’s time to narrow your focus to the key areas you feel will provide the most impact. As you contemplate this decision, I offer a few things to consider.


  • Select areas in which you already do well, then work to make them great.

  • Be sure your customers find value in these areas.

  • Make sure your business has the proper resources needed to consistently execute your strategy.

  • Ensure your entire team is committed to success.

  • Be realistic. Don’t pick a focus you know is beyond your reach.


Your competitive strategic plan is all about differentiating and emphasizing your business. Being positioned as best in class is a conscious decision that requires dedication, commitment, and execution, along with having the right strategy. A successful strategic business plan means your business is seen by customers as a special destination worth visiting time and time again.

Aaron S. is our Retail guru
Aaron joined Acuity in 2017 as our Retail Specialist—bringing with him almost 30 years of experience in a broad range of retail. He started his career stocking shelves in the seasonal department at a local retailer. A few years later, Aaron transitioned to a gas station/convenience store, where he worked second shift while getting his degree in organizational communications from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. It was during this time he made the move to the loss prevention and safety aspect of retail. Over the next 25 years, he worked in various retail segments, including video games, cosmetics/skincare, hardware/appliances, pharmacy/grocery, and clothing. Aaron held several positions during this time, including District Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Compliance Auditor, and National Manager of Loss Prevention and Operations. Outside work, Aaron likes to spend time with his wife (who has also worked in retail for over 20 years) and their twin teenage boys. They enjoy being outdoors on the water, fishing, and camping. As the Retail Specialist, Aaron’s goal is to enhance the partnership between retailers and Acuity by showing retailers that an insurance company can be a supportive resource and that Acuity truly understands their industry.

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Posted By: Aaron S. on August 14, 2019 in Retail Focus
The customer experience continues to be a focus for retailers, large and small. Personalization, great product offerings, competitive pricing, and convenience all play their part. Unfortunately, one of the most critical aspects of the customer experience doesn’t even come into play until you have already worked hard to win over your customers and they have decided to make a purchase.