A strategy is really something simple that we all use, but it is weighted heavily and can determine if your company will survive or will crumble under pressure. All businesses have some type of strategy that they are using as a guide to see if they are on the right track and if they are satisfying their customers. All businesses have a strategy, but some are better than others.
What cannot be understated is the fact that before you plan or decide that you are going to operate a business, you need to have a strategy. The strategy does not have to be effective just yet, but it should map out the moves you are going to make. In the event that move doesn't work out, figure out what your backup is. I have never heard or seen a business that did not have a plan, especially a big business. You are marking yourself for disaster before you even begin.
Just because you have a strategy in place does not mean you will still be successful. You must adjust it with time. Your core values should always remain the same, but how you plan to make profit should change at least every five to 10 years. You can't use the same strategy you used 20 years ago in today's business world. It won't work. The technology we have access to today would stop that strategy right at the door. Businesses that do not adjust their strategies with the changing times are doing more than stunting their growth, they are on the verge of making themselves extinct.
The growth of your business depends on how successful your strategy has been in its developmental stages. If you planned on expanding overseas by your tenth year of operation, those 10 years you spent operating domestically should have been successful and will have provided you with a springboard to jump overseas with an international strategy in hand. While it may seem like the logical choice to use your domestic strategy for your international plan, it is the worst thing you can do. The cultures are different as are the rules and regulations that are in place over there.
While you are operating in your own country, you should be developing a strategy for when you make your move overseas. You're a granted a little more wiggle room because you are in a foreign country. Your strategy will change on the fly, but by the time you are fully doing service overseas you should not have to change your strategy any more.
The businesses that have survived for five or more years are the businesses that created a strategy that would keep them operating year after year, going beyond the lifespan of a new business.