5 Questions to Ask to Create a Perfect Business Strategy: Question 1

5 Questions to Ask to Create a Perfect Business Strategy: Question 1

WorkPlan brings you a 5-part series on the questions that you should ask to create a perfect business strategy. In part 1, we explore the first question: what does winning look like?

To understand the potential for your business and the path to achieve your goals, you need to have a well thought through business strategy. Strategic planning can often feel like a process clouded in complexity. The 5 Question model, penned in the book ‘Playing to Win, How Strategy Really Works’ by A.G Lafley and Roger L. Martin, can help eliminate some of this complexity.

This model is a set of 5 interlinked questions that cascade logically from the first to the last. In this article, we will be focussing on question 1: what does winning look like?

What is ‘winning’?

‘Winning’, in a business context, is keeping your business more successful than your competitors in a sustainable way. How do you differentiate your product offering in an appealing way?

Other ways to frame the question “what does winning look like” are:

  • What is your goal for the firm? One year, three years, five years, ultimately.
  • What is the purpose of the firm?
  • What does it mean to win in our firm?
  • What does our firm exist to do?
  • What does winning (succeeding) look like for us?

Roger L. Martin rephrased this question as: “what are our broad aspirations for our organisation & the concrete goals against which we can measure our progress?”

What does winning look like?

Winning is different for every individual; to address this question within the context of your business, you need to spend time coming to a clear, concise, and compelling answer. Whether you’re just starting your business or if you’re already established, think about why you started your business. What were your feelings and ambitions at that time? Why was starting your business important to you?

It could be valuable to reconnect with and incorporate these thoughts and feelings into your answer to this question.

Time is everything

This question is aiding you in creating your business goals. These goals should be SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Look at what you want to achieve in 1 year, 2-3 years, or 5 years.

Be mindful of setting goals for longer timeframes such as 5 years, as many factors can change and complicate goals throughout this period.

It’s best to apply longer time frames to your business aspiration which can be broken into mission, vision, and value.

  • Mission– This is your company’s purpose that’s understood by everyone in your organisation. This is something that everyone works towards.
  • Vision– This is what your company and customers are supposed to ‘look like’, and this is also understood by everyone in your organisation.
  • Value– This is where everyone in your organisation works in a manner that’s consistent with your values and principles.


Although you should spend time understanding and creating a clear answer to the question of “What does winning look like for our business?”, the answer should be brief for marketing purposes, while reserving a longer answer for internal purposes only. Remember, this question is a stepping-stone to creating your overall business strategy. For a comprehensive look into the 5 Question model, download our e-book. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us.

In Part 2 of this 5-part series, Let’s explore the 2nd Question: Where will we compete to win?

How WorkPlan Learning can help

WorkPlan Learning is a collaborative LMS that keeps all your business’s training content in one place, making professional development easily accessible to all your employees. The collaborative capabilities of WorkPlan Learning allow your employees to keep on top of their professional development by giving them room to give feedback and raise any gaps in knowledge.

Contact us to try our free demo.

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