How Admiral Nelson demonstrates good strategy for your business success

Some business owners fall into the trap of thinking that strategy is a wish list of things they would like to do. For example:

  • grow by 10%
  • recruit more admin or sales staff
  • open another branch
  • upgrade the computer system

This is not good strategy.

Good strategy is about identifying the biggest and most important challenge that is facing your business and deciding on the right actions to take to overcome this challenge.

Like Admiral Nelson did at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Nelson disregarded the traditional sea-battle tactics of the day, knowing that they would lead to certain defeat. Instead, he worked out the challenges that faced him and developed a strategy to overcome them.

On 21st October 1805, Britain faced a great challenge. Thirty-three Franco-Spanish ships threatened the smaller British fleet of 27 ships.

Instead of the normal fighting tactic of two opposing fleets staying in line and firing broadside at each other, Nelson broke the British fleet into 2 columns and drove them at the Franco-Spanish fleet, hitting their line at a 90-degree angle.

Nelson believed that the Franco-Spanish gunners would not be able to manage their guns in the heavy swell of the day, thus allowing the British to out-manoeuvre them.  He identified the critical factors of his situation and designed a way of focusing action to deal with them.

At the end of the battle, 22 Franco-Spanish ships were lost, and the British lost none. Although Admiral Nelson lost his life, his legendary status as a master tactician was secured!

He won his battle by building his strategy to deal with his biggest and most significant challenge – that he was outgunned, outmanned and had a significantly smaller fleet.

What are the most significant challenges in your business? What battles will you need to fight for your business to survive and thrive?

Click here to read more about Admiral Nelson’s heroics and how a clearly defined strategy can help your business survive, even in uncertain waters.

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