As a collegiate sales and marketing instructor, students have flooded my office with business ideas. Most of them are great ideas; but, very few of them are ideas of strategic fit. What do I mean by ideas of strategic fit? An idea of strategic fit is one which is created by and for the creator - strategically fitting into the creator's life. In my experience, most young entrepreneurs believe that great ideas are simply uncommon ideas that solve common problems. Once the idea pops into their heads, they become enthralled with it - conducting research that only confirms their beliefs. This approach, although very common, is dangerous and often times unproductive. In these cases, the idea is driving the individual. Eventually the passion will be lost and idea will either transform or fizzle.
To have an idea of true strategic fit, you must first reflect on your internal environment. Your internal environment is who you are as a person - your strengths, limitations, interests and purpose. It is best to be as truthful with this as possible. Sometimes we fail to see the forest for the trees; so it may be wise to consult with friends and family. Ask them to list your strengths, limitations, interests and purpose - the list may surprise you.
Once you have a realistic grasp of your internal environment, it is time to evaluate your external environment. Your external environment consists of the "community" in which you identify with. We are all part of different communities. Some define their community as a geographical area, others consider ethnicity, religion, age, and the list goes on. One's community can be a blend of several of the aforementioned characteristics; think of it as your tribe. Once you have the community defined, start listing the opportunities and threats within your community. Make note of common interests shared by those throughout your community; and also those opinion leaders / influencers within your community.
Finally, to construct ideas of strategic fit, start to evaluate the ways in which your internal environment overlaps with your external environment. This can be difficult, but it is necessary! Again, the purpose of this exercise is to expose ideas that are driven by the individual. Below is a list of questions that will aid you in uncovering ideas of strategic fit for your life.
One last thing: the concept of strategic fit does not only refer to entrepreneurial ideas. This concept can aid you in choosing the right industry, company or position to work in. It can help you determine whether your external environment is beneficial to your internal environment. It is our hope that this concept provides you with nuggets of insight so that you can grow to become happier and more prosperous.
Reece Theriot, MBA
“We were put on this Earth to love; by loving, we serve others; by serving others, we create value; by creating value, we form successful ventures; by forming successful ventures we contribute to the advancement of Creation which pleases the Creator.”