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The FT Essential Guide to Developing a Business Strategy

The FT Essential Guide to Developing a Business Strategy: How to Use Strategic Planning to Start Up and Grow Your Business is a sister book to the FT Essential Guide to Writing a Business Plan.


If you, an entrepreneur or manager, already have a sound strategy for your business, you just need the latter book to write your backable plan.  If your strategy needs to be made more robust, you'll need both books.

This book gives you the tools you need to build a powerful strategy for your business and take it to the next level.


By using its simple framework, you can achieve success without having to rely on external advisors or consultants.  The innovative none-step strategy process, the Strategy Pyramid, will help turn your business goals into reality, whilst the lively anecdotes provide illuminating examples of strategy in action.


This easy-to-read book includes:

  • Setting goals and objectives
  • Forecasting market demand
  • Gauging industry competition
  • Building competitive advantage
  • Addressing risk and opportunity


Follow this guidance to create your roadmap for enduring business success.

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Here it is on Amazon and on Waterstone's.

Praise for this book

"I sincerely enjoyed reading this book. Vaughan Evans not only demystifies strategy, he provides a useful and enjoyable step-by-step guide to constructing effective business strategies. During my career I have witnessed and created hundreds of strategies, both good and bad. Applying these techniques will undoubtedly help produce more of the former than the latter."
Jeff van der Eems, Chief Operating Officer, United Biscuits


"A wonderfully practical and highly readable guide to strategy development. Evans's Strategy Pyramid provides a simple but thorough framework, which he illustrates clearly through a step-by-step case study and many fascinating vignettes. Definitely worth working through.”

Marcus Alexander, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School


"The right strategy is key to business success and yet most business leaders avoid thinking about or planning strategy. They fear that it needs the intellect of a nuclear physicist just to begin to design one. Vaughan Evans dispels this myth. He demonstrates clearly and concisely how anyone who is passionate about their business can develop a strategy that should serve them well."

 Guy Hands, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd


"An excellent and very detailed handbook for anyone responsible for developing strategy"

Adrian Beecroft, Chairman, Dawn Capital and former Senior Managing Partner, Apax Partners


This is the most succinct and most practical handbook on business strategy on the market. In just a couple of hundred well-written pages, it synthesizes the most important ideas in the field. What sets it apart – and brings it to life – is that every concept that is introduced is immediately illustrated in practice through the use of a real-life case study.”

Jules Goddard, Fellow, London Business School and author with Professor Tony Eccles of Uncommon Sense, Common Nonsense: Why Some Organisations Consistently Outperform Others


“If you are a small business or start up, this is an excellent guide to help you get your strategy right. Business strategy is all too often discussed in the context of big business. Vaughan Evans, on the other hand, makes it relevant to SMEs, demonstrating not only why but how to develop the right strategy to succeed.”

Anthony Karibian, CEO, bOnline Ltd. and serial entrepreneur


 “A compelling insight into strategy development, one of the key success factors in every business”

Mike Garland, Partner and Head of Portfolio Group, Permira Advisers LLP


"A concise and highly practical guide to the fundamentals of strategic analysis and strategic planning."

Robert M. Grant, ENI Professor of Strategic Management, Bocconi University, Milan, Visiting Fellow at Georgetown University, Washington and author of Contemporary Strategic Analysis, now in its 8th edition


“This book will be a valuable addition to the armoury of the senior manager or advisor, offering a simple, concise and step-by-step guide to what is involved in setting an effective business strategy.

Vince O’Brien, Director, Montagu Private Equity and former Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association


“Most big businesses and consulting groups have their own strategy development processes. Most I am sure are up to the task. But the beauty of this book is in its simplicity. Evans believes that strategy should not be complex – otherwise how can one explain it, and its genesis, adequately to potential investors? Evans’s ‘Strategy Pyramid’ is a straightforward, no nonsense approach to strategy development. Each stage is explained in a lucid and lively style and the reader is invited to follow an intriguing case study from start through to finish. It is a gem of a book.”

Christine Harvey, former Director of Business Analysis and Planning, GlaxoSmithKline R&D


“Vaughan Evans knows what investors need from a company. We look for long-term competitive advantage in markets where risk is manageable. In his previous book, Key Strategy Tools, he gave managers the full range of tools to choose from in building strategy. In this new book he sets out the most essential of those tools in the form of an uncomplicated DIY manual for the SME manager. It works perfectly.”

David Williamson, Managing Director, Nova Capital Management


This is the perfect book for all company managers tasked with a requirement to develop and define the strategy for their business. Not only will they get clear guidance on how to go about it – but the resultant strategy will be one geared towards meeting the exacting demands of investors like ourselves. Invaluable.”

Bill Priestley, Managing Director, LGV Capital


“Vaughan Evans’s recent book on business planning was invaluable in that he encouraged the planner to see the whole process through the eyes of the potential investor. He has used the same perspective in his new book on strategy development. Too often companies draw up their strategy on the hoof, with inadequate or inconsistent research and analysis. This book shows how to develop strategy with sufficient rigour to convince an external investor. And it does so simply, following an easily understandable process, the Strategy Pyramid. Every business, big or small, needs a strategy. Every entrepreneur or manager should follow this book.”

Stephen Lawrence, Chief Executive, Protocol Education Ltd and former Managing Director, Arthur D. Little


“This is the ideal companion to Evans’s guide to writing a business plan. A plan worthy of investment is only as sound as its underpinning strategy. This terrific little book shows the manager just what he or she needs to do to build that strategy. Where has this book been for the last fifty years?”

Jonathan Derry-Evans, Partner, Manfield Capital Partners


“A concise, precise and admirably practical guide for those starting or growing their own business and looking to apply sound logical principles to the task of strategic planning.”

Ben Johnson, Partner, Vitruvian Partners


“Vaughan Evans has earned a well deserved reputation for writing business books in straightforward everyday language, which are easy – and enjoyable – to read by busy managers. To borrow a phrase from his text, this book is not esoteric gobbledygook from an ivory tower in academia, but one based on the experience of a practitioner. It is from the same stable and neatly complemented by two of his earlier works - Key Strategy Tools and Writing a Business Plan. In this latest book, Evans takes the reader logically through a series of steps to develop a strategy, with a central case study used as the "glue" throughout. To call the book a DIY manual may undervalue it, but it is that and more. It will be an enormous help to busy managers who are developing a business strategy for the first time, or trying to improve on previous attempts. This is another Evans book to be kept to hand on the desktop, not to be shelved!”

Grahame Hughes, Founding Director, Haven Power Ltd.


“This is a great read. Vaughan Evans has written another compelling FT guide. It is packed full of lively prose with highly practical tips and a great running case study. This should be must-have reading for any entrepreneur or MD of a business of any size. I shall be using it in our own fund management business and shall invite all our investee companies to do the same.”

Peter Wright, Investment Director, Finance Wales


“This is a really good and practical guide - clear, insightful, straightforward and practical. It is a must-have guide for anyone setting out to build or grow a business. If strategy can be likened to charting a wise and successful course though challenging waters, then Evans proves once again that he is a master mariner.”

James Courtenay, Global Head, Advisory and Infrastructure Finance, Standard Chartered Bank


“A straightforward and practical framework for developing your business strategy. Full of essential tips, tools and checklists, this book breaks down what can be a daunting task into a step by step guide that really works.”

Andrew Ferguson, Managing Director, UK Private Equity, Baird Capital


“This is a really practical guide to essential strategic positioning. The book complements superbly Evans’s earlier, more in-depth book on key strategy tools and provides managers with a clear and structured process in support of formulating, and owning, their appropriate organisational strategy, thereby building the confidence to execute it. I only wish this guidance had been written some 20 years ago, when launching Eastern European enterprises into the world of strategic thinking and the competitive market economy.”

Gordon Gullan, Operations Director, Manet International Ltd.


“Vaughan Evans is doing himself and his ilk out of the day job. With this easy-to-follow manual on how to develop a winning strategy, managers and investors won’t need to engage pricey strategy consultants any more. Thanks!”

Ken Lawrence, Partner, Gresham Private Equity


"A seminal business strategy manual, as invaluable to the entrepreneur, manager or business advisor as to the student of strategic planning."

James Pitt, Partner, Lexington Advisors UK Limited


“This is a highly practical, tool-based guide to developing and implementing strategy for any business. It is an enjoyable read, packed with colourful examples and case studies that bring the theory to life in a highly user-friendly manner.”

Paul Gough, Partner, STAR Capital Partners Ltd


“This is a very interesting and instructive book. I enjoyed the many examples of how to apply the various concepts outlined in the real world. Also, from the standpoint of an investor, if a management team of a potential investee company works with some of the frameworks outlined in this book, the business case presented is likely to be tighter and more credible, as it will be founded on a structured understanding of the market opportunity and the company's approach to it.”

Sotiris Lyritzis, private investor


“I have worked with many SMEs over the years for whom the importance of having a clear strategy was well understood but its construction a daunting and frustrating journey into unfamiliar territory. Vaughan Evans’s clear, concise and accessible guide to the whats, whys and hows of strategy development will be a huge boon to such businesses. I highly recommend it to any entrepreneur or manager looking for a practical and experience-driven guide to help him or her through the process.”

Richard Kemp, Managing Partner, Sephton Capital


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