3 Types of Business-Level Strategies (With Examples)
Updated March 10, 2023
Illustration of three types of businesses in a row.
Incorporating modern business tactics into your company strategy can lead to company-wide growth. By incorporating business-level tactics into your business model, you can enhance the productivity of each area of the company and potentially expand into other markets.
In this article, we review what business-level strategy is, specifically the three types of business-level strategies—plus we take a look at how to implement such a strategy from the corporate level downward.
What is a business-level strategy?
A business-level strategy is an innovative way for a company to showcase its unique assets, increase its competitive edge and help the individual components of its company function as one whole unit. This tactic focuses on strengthening the way departments interact with one another and view their role within the company while setting guidelines to achieve an overarching goal.
3 types of business-level strategies
There are three types of business-level strategies that you can use in your business. Each one caters to an increase in profit and company unity.
Corporate-level strategy: This strategy is implemented at the highest level of the company. Company executives look at ways to improve and expand the company. They might identify additional markets they can enter.
Business-level strategy: This strategy focuses on how corporate aspirations will be implemented within individual company settings.
Functional-level strategy: This strategy focuses on the individual tasks of departments and employees in working toward corporate goals.
How to implement a business-level strategy
To implement a successful business-level strategy that will benefit your business, your goals must be identified and carried out in each area of your company. To do this, you need to have a detailed plan set in place. The following list will identify seven steps you can take to create a profitable business-level strategy within your company:
1. Identify target market and consumers
Before you can implement company changes you first must identify the target market you want to enter and the ideal customers for your company.
Example: You are an office supply company. You currently sell paper, writing utensils, printers and ink cartridges. You are looking to expand your business into the office furniture market and sell chairs, desks and cubicles. Look at your competitors who have already entered into this market. What is their pricing? Who buys their office furniture products?
2. Find out what their needs are
Once you've established your target market, identified competitor pricing and the ideal customer base for that market, you can begin researching the needs of your customer base.
Example: Your office supply company starts researching the needs of your customers based on competitor sales. You ask the following questions to guide your research. What types of office furniture are they in need of? What materials are they looking for? What is their price point for these items?
3. Discuss how to cater to their needs
Now that you know which materials and furniture items are in high demand among your target customers, coordinate with other company executives to find vendors, discuss shipping options and choose an appropriate price point for your items that will set you apart from competitors.
Example: Your office supply company researches industry trends to discover which office furniture products are the most popular. You then contact wholesale businesses and manufacturing services to find materials and products within the price point you and your coworkers discussed.
4. Make comparisons to competitor strategies
Review how your competitors strategize to keep costs down while also returning a profit and maintaining customer loyalty. See what areas you can improve on based on your comparisons.
Example: Your office supply company maintains its current strategy while looking at competitor models to see how they are improving and evolving with changes in the office furniture market.
5. Set common goals to be met by the company as a whole
After conducting the necessary research to enter into a new market you can begin to plan out company-wide goals to strengthen your potential within the market.
Example: You and your coworkers at the corporate level propose that company efforts in office furniture sales should increase the company's revenue by 25% by the end of the next fiscal year.
6. Set unique department goals
Setting individual department goals helps segment the responsibilities that can contribute to your company's overall success. This step requires good communication between the corporate level and employees to translate their specific department tasks.
Example: At the individual department levels of your office supply company each department is assigned specific goals and quotas to be met. The sales team is responsible for pushing the office furniture portion of your company's products. The marketing team is responsible for creating campaigns to bring awareness to this new edition of your offerings.
7. Complete routine checks at each company level
Once you have assigned unique responsibilities to each department, you should complete monthly checks to make sure that progress is being made and that your original message has not been forgotten.
Example: Each month, the corporate level reviews the improvements that have been made by each department to increase the sales of all office furniture products. They pass information down the corporate ladder to be disseminated from department heads to their individual teams and any changes that need to be made.
Examples of business-level strategies
Here are four examples of business-level strategies you could implement:
Cost leadership strategy: Cost leadership strategy forces a business to look at the costs that are related to the manufacturing process, shipping and delivery of a product to a customer that will affect the price point at which they can sell their product to still return a profit. The goal of this strategy is to find the most cost-effective way to market and sell a product to customers, undercutting competitors with higher price points.
Low-cost strategy: The low-cost strategy focuses on selling to a particular market or business rather than the general public. This strategy is used in much the same way as cost leadership, but it undercuts competitors so that businesses will see them as a more attractive and cost-effective option to buy from.
Differentiation strategy: The differentiation strategy uses product quality rather than price, to improve a company's prospects when weighed against competitors. For companies that want consumers to buy their products due to quality instead of price point, they should be implementing standards to improve the value and functionality of their products.
Integrated strategy: The integrated strategy uses the principle components of low-cost and differentiation strategies to create a product that is of mid-level quality. A company would use this strategy to attract customers who want the next best level of quality for a lower price than high-quality items.
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